The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Daniel Armstrong


Nicely creepy doll for this, and it actually looks like the one on the cover. You get points for that. Also get points for not including any horror posters or dvds in our character’s room… Romcoms on the shelves, typical books and stuff. They lose points though for the shot on video tape look and the warning at the beginning that it’s “based on a true story”.

It’s a bare room… It looks like somebody tried to make up a basement space as a set. The sleeping girl finds the evil doll next door… And weird sounds.… It’s all just a very very bad memory.

A couple of paranormal fanboys discovered that the doll has been removed from the house and put in a paranormal museum. They take the tour, distract the guide and swipe the doll.

Turns out they are YouTubers… They’re going to do the seven days with a haunted doll. Except nothings really happening. Suddenly, they certainly realize the problem is, all the victims have been women.

They hit the bar and pick up a lady that just might be a working girl, and invite her back. She shows up in their basement hang-out early, while the guys are out grabbing a couple last-minute supplies. She chucks the doll out the door, and that’s when things go wrong. She killed in a disjointed blaze of images, and then vanishes. As far as the guys know, she just never showed up, and their next trip is out to a local witch. The witch summons the spirit of the doll, who kills and possesses her, a bizarre and bloody spectacle.

The guys wake up dazed and trapped in the witches underground basement layer… With the doll sitting in the corner and a message written in blood. “Find her, kill her”.
Time to put their paranormal tools to work. The Witch has been turned into a bizarre, head splitting monster that walks on all fours and is hunting them. The problem is, they can’t leave. The basement has trapped them, and the doors don’t actually lead out. It turns into a cat and mouse game in a possibly large seller, with occasional interesting set pieces.

The doll agrees to let them go if they’ll send her more women. They agree and run away, hoping to figure out something or just escape. They then visit a psychic to see if she can exorcise the doll, but she just becomes another victim. The monster in the house is growing, and when the guys realize their mistake they break back in to try and rescue her. But the monsters aren’t playing games anymore.

This feels to me like it was made by haunters. The maze-like quality of the cellar sets and the bloody set pieces, the dark and slimy monsters, the back lighting, it all feels like haunted house techniques. These guys are very good at their set pieces and I feel like this would be a great Halloween party movie… Plenty of creepy imagery that you can enjoy with the sound turned off.

The story is just about adequate, but never quite knows what it wants to be. They drift back-and-forth between horror and humor, never quite blending the two and frequently falling short with the humor. I feel like these guys have read some of David Wong’s books like John Dies at the End, and they wanted a couple of slacker losers as their funny main characters. It never quite tracks though. They’re held back by their location as well. It feels like they really only had some person’s basement to shoot in, and were constantly re-dressing it.

It’s worth seeing if there’s nothing better on television, and really for some of the effects. However, it fails to be funny or scary, and that’s a shame… Because in better hands, this might just be something.




Creature Cabin aka Tarnation

A girl, clad in white flees a very Evil Dead-looking cabin, pursued by Brown cloaked monks. She fights them off but then, ademonic unicorn shows up and stabs her with it’s horn.

I’m definitely in the right place.

Band practices are a pretty common feature of Anderson’s films, and we head straight into one where the lead singer is getting fired. Time to get away. Log cabin sounds good right now.

The cabin is in a weird town called Tarnation that has strange ponds and flying unicorns. I think. Things get a little weird here.  Unicorns need to be able to infect people with evil, and turns one of the locals who then gives our crew a lift to the cabin. That allows her to turn the first girl who zombies out while making out with her boyfriend on a big furry rug. That doesn’t go well, but it’s even worse for the new hunky boyfriend of our rock singer. He gets bugs up his pee hole, and the entire thing turns into a really bizarre homage to Evil Dead, ultimately enda up with rocker girl bound, and hung upside down, ready to be sacrificed to the demon flying unicorn and the eldritch powers it serves.

The paintings bleed when Oscar cuts them, and the demons taunt her from outside. The maniacal spider legged demon head that sounds like a gremlin and scrambles down the chimney almost made me plotz.

Rocker girl Oscar is going a little mad at this point? I mean you can’t blame her, she’s in the middle of a mad Australian exploitation picture where is zombie kangaroos in boxing gloves show up out of nowhere.

Still, she is on a quest to destroy the oil painting from the cabin… and when burning doesn’t work, the next best idea is to drop it in the bubbling pool of blood in the middle of the forest. But maybe, just maybe, instead of the painting going into the pool blood, maybe it’s Ozzie’s turn to plunge down the rabbit hole.

Truth is, this film is all over the place. It is a wild and bizarre ride. It’s got the bright colors and aesthetic tones of a full moon film, it’s got the humor and wit of the best horror comedies out there. It wears its Evil Dead influence on its sleeve, the homage is our fast and furious, not the least of which is the fact that the poster is on the wall! They’re not being subtle about anything. Yet despite this heavy influence, Anderson manages to strike a balance between being derivative and being original. It definitely has his stamp on it, and he takes it into places that Evil Dead never dreamt of. It’s funny and gory and bloody and it has an enormous amount of love behind it.

That’s not to say it’s a perfect film. Anderson relies perhaps a bit too much on the rocks score. then there’s the budget. Our demonic unicorn is obviously just a mask, we don’t get the full beast. But they sometimes fail to properly execute or light it and it ends up looking silly and wonky instead of terrifying. The cabin itself and the surrounding woods are obviously all built on a stage. Yet the production embraces it, and ultimately things like this add to the heightened reality. Even though I can tell that’s not a real sky behind the cabin, and those trees surrounding it aren’t real… It’s lit so effectively that I’m willing to suspend my disbelief because the imagery just fits with the world they’ve created.

The movie is sidesplittingly funny. It’s dark humor is usually in bad taste, but it’s not scatological, and it’s not stupid. There are gags like rocker girl pulling out the zombies intestines and the zombie looking alarmed and exclaiming “I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to be on the outside of me…” it gets gross but it also finds itself so over the top that it doesn’t repel.

I can’t get enough of this. I watched the movie on streaming, but I’m off to Amazon to see if I can locate a physical copy, because something that’s ridiculous just HAS to stay in my collection forever!




Despite its initial shot on video look, Sheborg actually starts really good, with a couple of British teenage hoodlum girls spray painting graffiti on the wall and, then on a police cruiser. The police car’s already got a bit of a Mad Max look to it, and when the cops discover an anarchy symbol on their hood, they are none too pleased. They chase the girls into the credit sequence where the actual credits are integrated as graffiti on the burnt out ruins they run through. It’s almost a Scooby Doo monster chase, set over some surprisingly good music until the girls are finally taken in the custody.

In the skies, a council of greasepaint aliens (a sort of low budget version of the white aliens from Star Trek Beyond) pronounce judgment over the Sheborg, who escapes in a total Lilo and Stitch move and jumps in escape pod, headed for earth.

She lands at a puppy farm that our anarchist heroes are planning on raiding. But she is being hunted by the greasepaint aliens who also happen to know kung fu. They also have applesauce for blood, and the shborg does love her some gore. Chaos ad infinitum.

By the time our band of merry anarchist’s arrive, Sheborg has been  hard at work, and created other evil cyborgs. Quite a surprise for these kids who were expecting more human resistance. After a skirmish, they decide that freeing the puppyies is really more troble than it’s worth and run off. Only problem is, the guy with the car keys has been captured.

They fight off the cyborgs, who are licking phones and eating puppies (Sadly the puppy props don’t look that great, stuffed animals mixed with fake blood and guts) and along the way find a science nerd girl who has biological samples from the crash site.

After making their escape, they head to City Hall where the lead characters father is the mayor. They tell him the story, but he doesn’t believe them and instead locks up. his delinquent daughter and her friends.

That’s about the time that the Borg invades the joint, and they are pissed.As more and more people get assimilated and stalk our anarchist heroes, it’s a race back to the puppy farm to try and destroy the sheborg before the end of the world!


The Sheborg herself looks great. Assimilated victims are hit or miss, in various stages of decay, all having the same eyepiece to show the infection. There’s subplots and surprisingly endearing characters. It’s a fun low budget romp, and exactly teh sort of thing that I expect to find at the Dollar tree, but don’t let that daunt you. It’s trash and treasure rolled into one.



Apocalypse Ape and the Stop Motion creations of Daniel Armstrong

Looking through his résumé, you’ll notice a couple of music videos that incorporate stop motion animation in them. When the lockdowns began, Armstrong really seem to lean into stop motion videos as a way of staving off cabin fever. They are frequently very simple, fun, and to the point. If you have ever wanted to see Wonder Woman wrestle Angela, or a Borg to try to assimilate your desk…this is your chance!  It’s hanging out at home and playing with your anime and Roblox figures. Ash Williams taking a break from being the announcer at a women’s wrestling match to answer your telephone. Daleks fighting Marvin The paranoid android and Apes and the Borg for their turn on the arcade machine. There’s a half a dozen of these that are under 40 seconds and a bunch more under two minutes. There are some real gems, like Grimm Sludegrside, A creepy gothic tale atop a castle in a twisted wood, and Attack of the Bikini Girl From Outer Space… which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Only with zombies, and mostly in black and white .You know the whole Sin City vibe?

Things really start to take some shape once we get into Apocalypse Ape.
The title sequence is totally 1980s trapper keeper. Lisa Frank and Nagel illustrations… Pink grids and neon skies. A motley crew of toys drives in a pink Cadillac.
We cut to a gun fight between the heroes and villains… But even with bullets flying, Apocalypse Ape’s sidekick can’t help but ponder what kind of a person would see Superman flying and actually say “it’s a bird it’s a plane…”
It’s tragic. The fire fight has left a ding in Ape’s car. They head over to Scum City. It’s the kind of place where people shoot first and ask questions later. We’re about to learn their diabolical plan… Until oh no! It’s the to be continued sign!

When next we find our heroes, it’s episode four and they’re being chased by Harbinger on a motorcycle. They get into a fender bender with a time traveling DeLorean, but that allows them distraction enough to blast the biker. I’m also getting the distinct impression the entire point of these videos is for the sidekick to muse about comic book tropes!

Wonder woman and Angela show up to stop them and Apocalypse Ape looks up declaring “This is a revolting development.”
On episode 12 though, they’re back on the road… And Gwenpool is gunning down Roblox figures.The pink caddy crashes into the area while Gwenpool looks for more people to murder.

“Hold on, we don’t wanna go off half cocked…” Ape Says.
“Yes,’ his sidekick agrees “this is definitely a full cock situation.”

Things end badly. “Well isn’t that just a Poke in the eye with a sharp stick!”
We’re not quite done with the apocalypse though, Wonder woman and Angela get into the action as well in what feels like a related side story.  Unfortunately, the apocalypse is populated with mutant teddy bears…
Even with these bizarre little shorts, especially the post apocalyptic ones, I swear I’m still watching Ozsploitation and Armstrong’s bizarre style and sense of humor come through loud and clear. The thing is, the production values on these videos are insanely high. The quality grows with each successive short giving them an attention to detail that the subject matter absolutely does not deserve. They’re a great deal of fun, these quick diversions, and  totally worth a trip over to motion to check out!

From Parts Unknown aka Fight Like A Girl

Scientist, jars of green stuff, soldiers invading? Zombies! Right out the gate, From Parts Unknown isn’t messing around and tells you exactly what kind of movie This is going to be.

After the zombie attack we get our title credits played  over a women’s wrestling match. The title song, song by the lead actress, actually gives it a bit of an 80s feel… That whole Rocky movie inspirational rocker sound.

We switch to a graveyard, where our female wrestler Charlie is mourning another wrestler, who’s head literally got punched off in the ring.”

Her friend is worried that she’s going to go back to wrestling, and he has a right to wonder since as she lied to him about it, and that night sees her back in the ring, being choked by a feather boa.

Back in the real world, mean girls and office jerks abound at her job, as she tries to manage a comedically tall stack of reports. The company has some seriously sinister lighting though, with a flag that looks a little too close to that of another evil party. They’re developing a video game called From Parts Unknown. It’s a fighting game, with wrestlers fighting zombies in the ring.

Of course they’re also creating zombies in the basement. Well, it’s accidental, testing the game and certain chemicals… But there’s a problem. Beefcake gas mask zombie is breaking free!

The infection quickly starts to spread… Avoid zombie Nookie at all costs! Despite the growing number of zombies in the company, inter-office squabbling going on.
As we push through some flashbacks, we noticed an eerie quiet in the air outside the building. Charlie is leaving for the day but is distracted by a magical glowing ticket from the sky and later into a wrestling gym and more flashbacks.

Basically, it’s just a really slow second act, but you got to get through it because it’s a connective tissue that will launch us into the back half of the film where things start to go wrong and get bloody.  A couple of guys escape the building and jump in their truck so they can go pick up Charlie at the wrestling match.

“Maybe instead of fighting, we could Just go run and hide?”

No, that’s not going to work. Time for  wrestling girl, psycho programmer and wimpy sidekick to go clear the building! Cue the metal soundtrack. Find the scientist, kill zombies, blast the computers, Kill more zombies. You know, by the numbers.

The thing is, the film knows when to be bloody, and it knows when to be funny. It knows wonder bring the gore and the action, and it knows when to go back for reinforcements. The one thing Anderson hasn’t quite got down yet is the drama… but to be fair, this really isn’t that type of film. The pathos he occasionally tries to inject just doesn’t fit the mold (though he does manage a surprisingly emotional moment at the very end). While the middle of the film is poorly paced, it’s definitely worth it once you get into the 40 minute mark or so, and the zombie mayhem begins in earnest.

More than his other films, this one has a much more Full Moon, comic book feel to it. It’s certainly his most polished and well thought out movie, and may be his best one to date. At least, until Nova Star comes out…

I can’t wait to see what Daniel Armstrong does next.



Metal Murder and Music Videos

Metal Murder 3-D was an entry on Armstrong’s IMDb that perplexed me. I was able to find an album by an Australian hard-core band that he works with, but not a film. It’s short film to go with it. That short film is sometimes referred to as metal murder 3-D, and other times it’s referred to as Alice in Zombieland.

Alice in Zombieland starts off with a girl in a cage, being pulled out by some men in black, then A film burn under credits. You may recognize Emma Wilson from Some of Armstrong’s other films, and the 70s exploitation style in the credits is charming.

Alice is in a blood stained hospital bed, surrounded by curtains and dark lighting. Zombie action starts immediately, as the undead begin to rise from the other beds.
For such a short feature, they put some real time and effort into making this hard look terrifying, both individually and as a group.

Alice screams and runs, fleeing zombie doctors and undead and corpses in fashionably cute corsets. In what appears to be the cafeteria, entrails line the buffet, and zombies pop out of nowhere.

Alice bludgens one zombie with a phone, and the out of order message is a really nice touch. The next-door leads her to the kitchen… Where a zombie screams at her. She screams back and starts throwing things, ultimately delivering a beat down the fryer. It’s amazingly awesome.

Ultimately, the entire thing is just an action set piece. There’s no dialogue, on your story. It’s Alice fighting her way through zombies, and finding her strength… As well as a really nice gun ultimately shooting her way through to the end credits.

What’s fun about this, is it a great way to introduce yourself to Armstrongs work and style. You can see a lot of what you’re going to get from his feature films in the short, which was designed to accompany kid crushers metal murder 3-D album. Absolutely worth the 10 to 12 minutes that it takes to sit through. While you’re at it, it’s time to go over to the Strongman pictures website to check out some of his music videos. Armstrong has worked with a variety of artists and shows a dramatic range in both concepts and execution. There’s an eerie one room haunted steampunk feel to Karly Jewll’s Dancing with the Devil. But then we get kind of country in Jenna Dwyers dodged a bullet, the feeling of orange filters at early morning in an old hotel room. Jenna would go on to do the theme track for Armstrong’s Fight like a Girl… a much simpler music video in a wrestling ring, but even that’s a vast difference from a video for her song Coma, a much rockier song in a dark Mad Max like warehouse.  Then there’s The Mercy Kills who Armstrong literally puts into a comic book for their song Supersonic.  Nathalie Gelle does in a uninspired cover of Vacation by The Go-Go’s, but Armstrong cleverly keeps you off balance with a blast of cartoon on green screen footage. The scrapbook pop-up feel suits the feel they’re going for. Kid Crusher delivers hardcore nightmares to the girl next-door over a television while a strobe light blazes behind them. As he screams in front of a white background, the woman stares into the screen, hypnotized. On the other hand, in the music video for Tied, they sing Reasons Why over a stop-motion fantasy. Stop-motion is a favorite of Armstrongs, and he has an entire section of his website devoted to it. In Long Way home for Ablaze, Armstrong manages a black and white road trip through the rocking chops. It’s a mixture of happy and melancholy that’s tough to pull off.

This is just scratching the surface, but absolutely a great résumé and reason enough to definitely be checking out the rest of his films.




Murderdrome opens in a roller derby locker room then jumps right into action. It’s a good way to get you engaged immediately. High energy music, a happy audience and skating sets the tone. There’s some flirting going on outside of the match, making one of the other the girls jealous. Then straight over to listen to the band,  followed by make out sessions in a vintage car.

All in all, it’s a very Daniel Armstrong way of opening the film, but I’m now about 12 minutes in and I’m still not sure what this movies going to be about. The roller punk with a Cleaver is a step in the right direction.

Back inside, the roller derby is in full swing. As an unseen lurker watches.

Leather clad Australian murderpunks lure pigtail rollerderby girl back into the roller rink where they engage in a brutal game of murder derby, where they end up setting one of their pillows on fire, and then just exploding out of existence… Leaving nothing but a talisman. Pigtail girl tries to pick it up but gets blasted into oblivion as well.
Don’t worry, it was just a dream. Or was it!?

When she wakes up, her hapless boyfriend, with a charm necklace for her… the one from her dream. That’s enough for her to fall for him, and drag him out on a rollerskating date. (Because that’s obviously a thing in OZ!)

Dead body, and creepy janitor cart dude explains that she’s unleashed a demonic force.

Then we go to a bizarre commercial for a frisbee hat… it’s all good, it’s just the ad before a murderdrone video on YouTube. She’s basically trying to research what she saw that night. Things go bad when one of the mean girl skaters comes and steals her necklace. Bad as in, a cleaver to the head for one of the girls when they try to escape.
Metal murder punk chase!

Meanwhile, the mean girls are looking for our heroes, but there are murder roller punks between them and the others.

Heavy on spectacle, Murderdrome is well shot and fun, though the lighting can get on the harsh side. It’s very much is the sort of ozsploitation that Armstrong is a great at. the problem is that it’s thin on the story. Even with its meager running time of about an hour, there’s quite enough to fill this whole thing up. There’s an a Normas amount of flair in style, that’s all it is. It’s all flash, but not enough substance. Of all of Armstrong‘s films, this is the one that felt the most confusing. Still, it’s a fun bit of shlock, (seriously, chick has to retrieve the talisman from a dismembered body that’s been tossed in pieces into a dumpster… That’s some pretty hardcore stuff !), drifting from set piece to set piece in a world that feels like it’s just beginning to intersect with the likes of Mad Max. This is one of those movies I’d really love to see a redo on – a remake with a thicker script and a more flushed out concept, more fully explain to the audience.



Daniel Armstrong

I first encountered Daniel Armstrong in a dollar tree film called Sheborg. It was such lunatic fun, that I felt like I had to discover everything else this guy had made. I wasn’t surprised to find out he’s based in Australia… His films have that sort of classic as exploitation deal from flaky films in the 80s… Not just Mad Max, but some of the really weird ones like Dead End Drive In. Armstrong’s use of blood and off kilter characters makes for entertaining fare.

You can see some of his trademarks, starting in the way that he presents credits… High-quality and integrated into the scene, much as was done in Zombieland. But there’s also a heavy musical influence in his movies as well. Veteran music video Director, Armstrong’s films generally feature live band performances, that is, if they don’t integrate the band itself directly into the story. It’s not unusual to see one of his featured players also doing the title song for his films.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still schlock, but it’s fun schlock and definitely a director that you really not know about.