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Dollar Store Movies

Ava’s Possessions

Five minutes into Ava‘s possessions, and I can already see I’m going to like this. Much like the zombie comedies that became fashionable for a while this one is a Comedy that mixing humor with the traditional exorcisms kind of films. That’s strange, it seems like it be a tough sell… But the filmmakers dives right in and manage to whip up something that’s immediately entertaining, knows what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It’s not pretentious, and more importantly it’s not parody – which would’ve been the absolute easiest way to go here. They’ve also got an interesting advantage here… What happens after an exorcism? The exorcism itself in most of these films is the focal point. Starting this thing up in a dumpy apartment that’s been trashed, with a judgemental family, all banged and bandaged up… Asking if Ava‘s had anything to do with her possession… It’s a brilliant satire. To make things worse, the DA wants to prosecute her for things she did while possessed, and she basically has a life that wasn’t that great already, completely falling apart now.

Turns out, there’s a version of rehab, like AAA but for people who’ve been possessed. If she goes there, the state will drop the charges.

Of course the demon immediately six to get her back, and we get creepy little girl images as well as dramatic lighting to let us know that the evil is closing back in.
She invites her friends over… They come, hesitantly… And we get to hear a few more details. They describe her as a mega bitch while she was possessed… As well as a slut. She got uninvited from a friends birthday party after sleeping with that friends boyfriend – you know? And while they get drunk, ghostly voices whisper.

Time for her first meeting.

Part of therapy is group sessions, part of it is making amends, and part of it and trying to sort through the pieces… To perhaps figure out what happened. Group therapy is fascinating and fun nonsense… It’s everything that Danny Bonaduce describes rehab as. And yet Ava‘s attempt to explore the truth here… Not to mention the things that her family and friends are hiding from her, all really draws you in. Review out its twists and turns as the movie perfectly balances satirical humor with a mystery and creepy horror elements. The demon himself is beautifully realize and smartly underused. He’s there when you need him, but they don’t linger on it anymore than they have to. The same is true of the possessed people. There’s not a ton of blood or gore or make up affects here, never more than is needed, but just enough to satisfy the job. It was possessions is a fairly unique piece of work and I can’t breeze a highly enough. This one’s a definite by whether you see it at the dollar store or anywhere else!


Hard Target 2

I’m so confused. I don’t understand. This is not a franchise! Not only is this not a franchise, making your second sequel 23 years out, it’s just a bad look.

The thing about Hard Target is, it was a simple premise, paired with an amazing Director in John Woo, and some absolutely legendary actors in Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, and even Wilford Brimley with his unbelievable Cajun accent. Add to that some genuinely good supporting cast in Yancy Butler, Arnold Vosaloo and Kasi Lemmons, with some over the top violence, and you ended up with something special. The problem with Hard Target 2, is that it’s missing all that, and is left with merely the simple premise.

This would be where Scott Adkins starts following in JCVD’s footsteps. He’d meet up with him in the Expendables 2 later on, as well as one of the five Universal Soldier sequels. He’s cast as a washed up MMA fighter, slumming it and doing street fights to get by. A promoter from Bankok shows up and offers him the opportunity of a lifetime… What Adkins doesn’t know is this is a hunt, not a fight. Along the way he picks up some of the locals in Miramar who act alternatively as hostages and as the cavalry.

The movie begins with black leather on motorcycles hunting someone with arrows and guns. It’s enough to remind you that this is trying to be Hard Target, but other than the premise of hunting a man, we don’t really see any other connective tissue until the very end where we get some Slo-mo shots of doves at the climax and the bad guy using the same single shot pistol that Henriksen used in the original.

The thing is, it’s not a bad action film. It’s well shot, with plenty of gunplay, fist fighting, and explosions… Adkins is very good at leaping away from explosions in slow motion… And even at an hour and 45 minutes, the pace never slows. I happen to be a horror movie fan, and I’m usually content to watch whatever low budget fare is tossed in front of me. If you’re an action movie fan like this, a movie like Hard Target 2 will absolutely satisfy. If on the other hand, you’re just a fan of the film Hard Target, you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed in the sequel.

Devil Incarnate

I’m just saying, the name the Devil Incarnate is not subtle. A Baby with horns on the cover isn’t either. We get prologue in parchment, and then switch to a girl in interrogation discussing a videotape. She is the creepy next-door neighbor type and narrates a lot of the film

Oh crap, it’s going to be found footage isn’t it? (it’s not, but at the beginning, there sure is a lot of it)

A couple is on their honeymoon and the newlywed wife (a poor mans Dina Meyer lookalike) is looking for ghost tours and second greetings… Kind of like having a big heart me sign in to your back. She finds a creepy old witch who already knows her name… let’s just say it doesn’t go well. They discovered that she’s pregnant by the fact that she is bleeding internally afterwards and a horrifying scene, and that there is scar tissue causing the hemmorage .

Still the family is trying to prepare. The nursery set up, the party,… Then all the sudden we have freakouts… Including the nursery it’s self getting trashed.

Between excessively talky moments, there’s a few more freak out, With figures drawn on the wall in the blood of a dead dog but, other than the occasional touch of gore it’s very much a lifetime movie.

To try and get the curse lifted, the husband and the creepy roommate search for the witch, but the house is gone, As if it were never there.
We climax in a sort of exorcism, the film finally almost becoming The movie I want it to be… With a final scene that is beyond shocking, and a mid credits sequence that’s worth sticking around for.

At the end of the day it’s kind of a snore. Not really even one that has potential that it fails to live up to… It’s truth in a story and idea for what they’re trying to do, even at 76 minutes.



Some found footage

Catholics and/or Exorcism

85% of the cast is under 25

Moving to a new house

Stock DVD cover (Distributor’s similar House style)


DollarindexIf you looked at John Cusack‘s face on the cover of the DVD for singularity, and thought “I bet they brought him in for one or two days of filming just so they could put him on the cover”  you’d be absolutely right. Despite being top billed, Cusack is really a little more than a hidden supporting character, But we’ll get to that later

Singularity could actually fit very nicely as a prequel to The Matrix. We’ve got a very similar set up where the machines decided to take over the earth glory. Our story focuses on young man, on the run, searching for the last tribe of humans living free in a hidden city. Along the way he finds himself accompanied by a young woman and together they face the perils of this new world.

The cover is it an entire lie, we do occasionally get giant mecha in ruined cities, all of the usually in full light since it’s easier to photograph. Cusack himself is a Bill Gates type of figure who leads the AI and the machines, after having digitized himself and uploaded his mind into the computer majors. All of his scenes take index2place in a couple of rooms in his office building… Or rather a holographic representation of his office building since the actual one would’ve been destroyed with the rest of the world. Most of his seems to take place within the mind of the computer. It’s actually a brilliant way to spread out those couple days of shooting so they have footage of him all throughout the movie. However what you end up with is a lot of shots of him staring at a screen or reacting to something that happened, and occasionally speaking with his brother who is the one who will actually leave the computer matrix and do some of the dirty work in the real world. These quick drop ins actually get annoying after a while, but all said, he does a fairly good job as an emotionless villain in this movie, and you can’t argue with the maximizing his appearance here. The ending is a bit of a twist, and well satisfying, imagesactually setting us up for a sequel that would never happen.

Still, as far as dollar store fare goes, this is actually not bad at all. If you’re a fan of The Matrix movies and have a kind of jones for more of that sort of world, this might be worth your for time. For my art, I’m actually glad to have it in my collection.

Dark Haul

Sinister looking monks and a cursed birth… Dark Haul really kicks things off the right way doesn’t it?

The action starts immediately as A daemonic beast burst out of the pregnant woman and attacks everyone present. But it’s not just one creature she’s having birth to… There’s another baby still alive in the womb. Something less demonic… As long as you don’t look at the tail. Those two children are immortal, with the baby girl still retaining some connection to her winged demonic looking brother… Over nearly 3 centuries.

We shift to modern day with a SWAT team after something sinister, and a young woman running through a factory to try and escape it. Apparently the creature is broken free from prison and the team is there to contain it. It’s fast, moving in the shadows and sliding through the building with minimal noise. Of course because this is a sci-fi movie, the creature is a bad CGI creation. It’s best left in the shadows.

The sister it seems, is also prisoner of this group, and has managed to escape in the confusion. Perhaps prisoner is too strong a word. While she’s held by them, she’s acting more as a collaborator, trying to control her brother.

The plan now is to move the whole operation, her and the beast in the priests that and present it to a sacred land in Pennsylvania where they hope to better control them. A cage covered in mystic symbols is loaded into a semi truck and they had off.
A stop for fuel turns disastrous when a series of seeming accidents caused the gas station to explode spectacularly. Everyone gets away safe, but the truck blows the fuel pump which leads to another stop. The chaos is making the beast stronger. As the strength grows, he can make people see things. These hallucinations or what it used to manipulate people, and the order has decided it may be too dangerous to live now. It’s computer-generated Skull like face glares, lunging side to side in its mobile prison.It’s created enough confusion for his sister to release him.

Final showdown is in a cabin in the woods, where they’ll either contain him, kill him, or lose it… And condemn the entire human race.

For a syfy movie, this isn’t bad. But make no mistake… This is the first sci-fi movie and contains all the elements you’d expect. A pretty girl, foggy blue lights, and a bad CG monster that only appears briefly, with the bulk of the running time filled by people talking about the monster rather than fighting it. The biggest problem here is that you never know who to root for. They do their best to make the beast and his sister sympathetic, Trying to get you on their side with her tales of woe, slavery and captivity.
On the other hand, the heroes of the piece are absolute jerks, and they go out of their way to make you dislike the leader of the military. There’s no one here to actually root for, and even having watched it, I don’t know who the hero this piece is.this is one of those where if it came on television, you don’t need to automatically turn it off. But if you’re expecting anything more than a generic sci-fi TV film, you’ll be disappointed.



Charismata begins with a couple of cops pulling up to a particular bloody murder scene. There’s an occult sigal on the wall, and the British accents are heavier than a ton of bricks. Also, these guys have obviously seen Silence of the Lambs, in a drawing some influence from it.

All they know back at the home office is that the murder bears similarities… In particular one where the same sign was drawn on the wall. It’s a bad case and a bad day for a rookie detective, and I’ll leave it to get worse when victim number three pops up.

It plays out like a typical police procedural, with a couple of side trips to the doctor for a detective… She’s got a weak stomach and no time to renew her prescription. She’s having bad dreams even as they finger their person of interest, and set up a stakeout. It’s a bum steer though, as the next victim pops up, even as they cut their suspect under surveillance.

The dreams keep coming, and get progressively more intense. Or are they just dreams? The lights in her apartment keep blowing, and she’s obsessed with the exonerated suspect, Michael Sweet.

Even after one of the other suspects confesses and kills himself, she still having visions of Sweet, and they’re getting more and more frequent. He’s following her in her dreams in her life in her mirror in her television… And she’s certain he’s still the murderer.

Here’s the thing, this is not a horror movie. This is more of a lifetime television style Law and Order police procedural. It’s got some occult background dressing, and a heaping helping of am I going crazy injected directly into it. But despite some of the blood and paranoia, this belongs far more in the crime drama section of the library rather than the horror section. It’s not bad at all, but you do have to know what you’re getting into, at Lear until the ending, which will weird you out just a little bit and feels tacked on – but it’s too much asking me to wade through 90 minutes of police procedural just to get six minutes of supernatural horror.



Catholics and/or Exorcism

85% of the cast is under 25

Cover misrepresents the movie

Stock DVD cover (Distributor’s similar House style)

Trippy Mind games

Thriller pretending to be horror/ghost story


Anna’s brother has died of pancreatic cancer, leaving her their family home. After being his caretaker for so long, she is not quite sure what to do with her life anymore and can’t bring herself to leave the house… Perhaps ever.

However, during her brothers funeral a couple of thieves decide it’s a perfect opportunity to rob the house. Little do they know that Anna is still there. She hides, but they find her and begin to interrogate her. We discover that she hasn’t left the house in 10 years. No where to go. An attempt to drag her outside kicks her agoraphobia into overdrive, and eventually she escapes into the house. This is when they find she’s more than capable of defending herself.

Stabbing is one thing, but trapping the guys in a strange panic room downstairs while she makes tea takes on a whole new level of creepy. There’s more going on here than meets the eye and it goes beyond just a case of the tables have turned.

I don’t really want to go any further because this film has an intresting twist and goes into some uncomfortable places, but it’s worth a watch. It’s smarter than just another horror slasher, even if it’s held back a bit by it’s budget. Intruders is absolutely worth a watch.



indexBeneath was a dollar store purchase, lost in a stack of other dollar store purchases. With a stack of much more interesting looking and recognizable films. I had sort of dismissed it as just another film with a cool logo in the stack, but probably nothing special considering the MTV branding on the cover. It’s always nice however, to be pleasantly proven wrong.

Beneath manages to mix ghost story and thriller together brilliantly. I spent most of this film about a young woman looking for her sister, killed in a car crash, wondering if I was watching a ghost story or a stalker story. As she explores an old mansion and digs into the mystery of the young woman’s death and burial, I never quite thought that she was going crazy, but was never entirely certain where the story was going.

Beneath this beautifully filmed and gorgeous in its atmosphere. It manages to give you that sort of creepy atmosphere you’d expect from a Gothic ghost story or an Agatha Christie murder mystery. The plot as well thought out and well acted, and much to my surprise I’ve got nothing but praise for this film. This one’s definitely a movie you want to grab if you still see it littering the shelves of your local Walmart or dollar tree.


85% of the cast is under 25
Moving to a new house
Trippy Mind games

Piranha (1972)

DollarindexI can’t even tell you how excited I was to find Piranha at the dollar tree. I mean, I’d scored Piranha 2 DD at one earlier as well and figured I’d be heading home to do a nice Roger Corman marathon right?

That’s odd, I didn’t know that William Smith was in this… But the dates right isn’t it? And there’s a Piranha right there on the cover!

Turns out, this is not the 1978 Roger Corman schlock monster fest that I was expecting, but rather a Grindhouse B feature from a few years prior, and released in 1972. Another audience might have been disappointed, fits right into my wheelhouse, and I was ready to sit down and dig in.

index2The film opens with credits over a twitching piranha that somebody pulled out of the water. This is about all you’re going to see of the killer fish. Because the films title doesn’t an actually refer to the animals, but rather an evil rogue hunter in the jungles of Venezuela; William Smith’s character.

We have wildlife photographer Terry and her brother Art braving the jungle for a photo shoot, complete with guide Jim Pendrake. They get friendly with local hunter Caribe, Who joins the crew, causing this quiet and his rest with his recklessness. Ultimately, he takes a shine imagesto Terry and eventually the film transitions into a bit of a siege as Caribe begins to hunt and kill them out there in the wild.

It’s not a bad feeling, it’s exactly the sort of thing that I expect to see at a disreputable driving as a late night feature, entertaining particularly because of a young William Smith but not necessarily notable for much else.


imagesAfter a disastrously disappointing Christmas where are the family constantly argues and bickers, young boy decides he’s done with Christmas. Ripping up his letter to Santa, he turns his back on the holiday and in doing so summons the demon Krampus. At this point I was rubbing my hands together, onboard and eager to see him, but that doesn’t quite happen. In this movie Krampus has more similarities Santa in that Santa come to your house while you’re sleeping, and drops off gifts. Well, Krampus also come to your house while you’re sleeping, and brings things, but in his case they’re small monsters, designed to punish the wicked.

The movie is very much a siege film, with the family trying to survive the night, fighting against all of the Krampus’s minions. They’ve designed these to look and feel much like traditional Christmas toys, giving us an interesting, if grim sort of variety to the carnage.
Ultimately I found myself a little bit disappointed perhaps more because this wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping fr a huge Pumpkinhead monster or big bad like what we got in Saint or many of  the other low budget movies that flood the market during the holiday season. Nevertheless, considering it’s a Blu-ray pick from the dollar store, it’s a nice addition to my collection and I’ll definitely be giving this another chance once December rolls around.


VFW brings the blood early just so you know they’re serious. There’s a new drug in town, causing fights creating problems, rising crime. Hooligans are starting to really hang out at the old abandoned theater… Maybe just a little bit too close to the VFW. But when the violence of the junkie club spills over into the VFW, the old guys there including legends like Martin Cove and Fred “the Hammer” Williamson find themselves in for the fight of their lives.

This is gonna be a short review, because quite frankly, this movie so good I’m just sitting here watching it and forgetting to comment. I’ve mentioned before, that’s how you can tell somethings really great.

Here’s the thing, I was hearing about VFW on the movie crypt a while back, and definitely hearing talk about it from my horror friends. This is one of those great, great movies that really live up to the hype, but at the same time… I feel like you gotta know what you’re going into. This is not a horror film. It’s a siege film, and I’d almost classify it more as action. It’s John carpenters Assault on Precinct 13… It appeals to the horror community because of the gore… And perhaps the punk nature of the villains… But mostly because of the gore. This thing lets the blood fly in all directions. There is a liberal mix of practical and CGI blood, but the cgi inserts are forgivable because of it’s balance. For my part, I’m just here to watch the Hammer pound. I love Fred Williamson, and watching him revel in the violence here, kind of makes me want to watch dusk till dawn next. It’s a sort of movie that genuinely makes you wish your hair was maybe a little bit more gray. Martin Cove has gained some notoriety these days from doing Cobra Kai, but for me… This is really one of his finest moments. It’s brilliant action, it’s violent and gory and glorious. Just go watch it. Don’t rely on me to talk about it… Just find it and watch it. I was fortunate enough to score this at the dollar tree, but this is in no way shape or form a dollar store movie. This is a classic, and it’s glorious.


Stalled really tries to establish an identity early on. We dive straight into the credits without a pre-credits kill, and they are interesting. Simple. White on black, but flickering, like a fluorescent light. With a gentleman dressed as a maintenance man standing timidly outside the women’s bathroom. Looks like he’s here to fix something… The speaker, which has been chewed by a rat. Of course he also has a toolbox full of cash, suggesting that he may not be exactly what he appears to be.

He gets sick and dashes for the stall, and while he’s vomiting, a couple of women (in sexy Christmas garb – that’s odd, nothing on the box suggested to me that this was a Christmas movie!) come in. He closes the door to hide so he doesn’t get caught in the ladies bathroom, but things go from bad to worse when one of the girls turns into a zombie and bites the other one. Back into the stall, as the rest of the nights zombified partygoers meander through, finding themselves into the bathroom.

He tried calling 911.

“ emergency services, ambulance fire or police?”

”I don’t know, who handles zombies?”

Unfortunately, the zombies have already taken over the police station, he’s stuck in the bathroom stall. Fortunately, it looks like he’s not alone there are people in neighboring stalls as well, that way we can have some dialogue. Things get really weird when his stallmate pops him some ecstasy… Including a techno dance number; once again proving my theory that if you’re faced with a zombie horde, all you have to do to survive is start dancing… And then dance along with you!

Truth is, it’s a very simple idea. A guy is stuck in the bathroom stall during a zombie apocalypse. They lean into that simple premise, and as a result, Stalled manages not just to be funny but I also have some heart. It manages to deliver more than enough blood and guts and brains to satisfy any zombie gore hand, while still giving us an actual story and some real laughs. It’s a brilliant mix and a good balance… What I’m saying, is a little silly film like this has no business being this good. It’s not necessarily the broad success of some thing like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse or Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead… It’s a much smaller, simpler film but it works on that scale. A definite must watch. I don’t care if you can’t find this in the dollar store and have to go pay full price. You really ought to have this on your Christmas playlist.

Joker’s Poltergeist

Jokers Poltergeist is not a clown movie. It wants you to think that it is, but make no mistake, that Batman Joker wannabe on the cover? It doesn’t appear anywhere in the cell. We get mask figures with slightly similar features, but never a single antagonist like the film would lead you to believe.

When it says it’s based on true events, they are referring to the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting. Honestly, I didn’t clue into this until after I watched the film and hit some IMDb trivia. I’m not sure I would’ve bought it if I had known, that seems in bad taste…, Even to someone with as dark a sense of humor as me.

A young woman and her father are at their movie theater for opening night. It’s one of those grand old places, like the capital or the palace. But as the director , Eric Roberts, gives his introduction on screen, a madman… just a clown in a sea of clown costumes, open fire with a gun, killing the father and several other people.

A year later the daughter is set to reopen the theater, but she has to fight the city government to do so. She’s staying the night in the theater and is joined later by other survivors of the massacre, and that’s when things start to get weird. They’re haunted by figures in clown masks, similar to that of the murderer. The introduction with the director keeps popping on the screen, so does a message from her father (Martin Kove of Cobra Kai and the Karate Kid) and the entire night to vaults into a maelstrom of terror.

A big problem here, is resolution. I’m not entirely certain what happened. I’m not sure if she was crazy, or the boyfriend was crazy… I’m pretty sure the theater wasn’t actually haunted, which might’ve been a better story. I’m a sucker for movie theater films, and it’s exactly the sort of historic place that I love to go see movies at. It’s a fun ride, but ultimately, I don’t Harley get it. I’d like something a little more straightforward. It’s worth a try though, no I really wish it had been marketed much, much differently.

Fun extra, watch for the late Dustin Diamond, Screech from Saved by the Bell, lurking in the background. He’s in the film, but is almost entirely an extra….



85% of the cast is under 25

Cover misrepresents the movie

Mostly one location




Beyond Skyline

When I grabbed this at the dollar tree, I was certain that it would be a mockbuster. Some sort of parody or Asylum knock off that co-opted similar words and names, like Transmorphers… that sort of thing that they do. Imagine my shock to discover that Beyond Skyline is actually a real bona fide sequel to the 2010 film Skyline. I remember commercials for the movie, and thought it was interesting, but never made it out to see it. I don’t think too many other many other people did either, Skyline was a flop… Which would explain why it took seven years for them to cobble together any sort of a sequel. I had my doubts about going into this so cold, and wondered if there would be any problems watching the second movie before the first. Beyond Skyline begins with a cop (Frank Grillo) picking up his delinquent son at the police station, before boarding a subway home. That’s when the aliens arrive. This cryptic message is coming over the CB  “don’t look at the light! Don’t look at the light!”. That’s pretty good advice, because the light turns people into zombies obsessed with reaching it. Aliens are happy to oblige, sucking dozens of people off into space.

OK, we have our premise. Looks like I didn’t need to watch that first movie after all.

Frank does his best to shepherd people through the subway tunnels in an attempt to escape the movie I assume that is going on above ground. It doesn’t work, though and ultimately he ends up on a spaceship with a few friends. While he’s there, he runs into a pregnant woman, just about to give birth. This is more than a little unusual considering that she’s about six months along, but the light apparently accelerates the pregnancy. In addition to sucking out the brains of their victims and placing them in biomechanical shells, the aliens also experiment and tinker with unborn children. It just so happens though, that the father of this child, Trent, managed to maintain some of his consciousness even after his brain had been plucked out of his dead body and tossed into an alien robot that looks like it’s straight out of Independence Day. He defended the baby, but now needs Frank to spirit it away. Grillo promises to take care of it and he and his friends get off the ship. Turns out, the ships moving this entire time and now they’re in Laos, finding themselves in the midst of a group of freedom fighters. The baby is growing like a weed, almost up to six or seven years old and she turns out to be the day of Deus Ex Machina – her blood is the key to stopping the aliens. If they can shoot some of that blood into their main engine or drive Or something, it will stop all the aliens cold. At least I think that’s the plot… It was getting a little hard to follow at this point. In any event, it all goes terribly wrong, and the MacGuffin drops out of the ship into the middle of the monastery ruins. It gives us a chance for a big fight between two giant alien biomechanical robots while the little girl rushes over to the unit, and places for hand in… Solving everything.

10 years later, she and her alien robot father would prepare to lead a group of freedom fighters to the aliens home world… Taking the fight to them.

I don’t hate it. The movie has some interesting moments, and the design is beautiful. The alien robots are frequently a combination of CG and practical suits, very smart way of doing things. There’s not an over reliance on CG until the very end, and unfortunately when the computer generated nasties are on screen for too long, fighting their way through computer generated environments, it does start to look bad. It doesn’t look like they had the budget to really perfect these FX. The deus ex machina solution here also feels a little bit too much like V to me… Our young child, Rose, is basically the star child. This like so many other of the elements of this film feels hopelessly derivative. The film is smart, even though it’s building itself off of bits and pieces that it’s stealing from other better films, it does have the sense to steal the best elements and then throw it on twist. Instead of fighter jets and guns, the combat with the aliens is much more personal and brutal. Frequent Hand to Hand fights involving knives and alien blades seem to be the call of the day. Frank Grillos good at action and they’re playing to his strengths. It’s definitely an attempt to turn him into a leading man after playing second banana in the Captain American films, but I’m not sure if I’m sold or not.

At an hour and 46 minutes, the film is too long… They were at least three moments when I was watching the story and thinking… OK, so were at the end now? And would look at the clock and be a palled at how much time this thing still had to go. But all in all, it works as a B-movie. That may be the problem, I don’t think this thing was intended to be a B-movie, but it’s worth watching if it pops up on the Syfy channel.


Bonejangles was an easy buy for me. We have the horrifying visage of the title character, the Bone Jangler, a.k.a. Edgar Friendly Junior. He’s wearing the half skull mask my buddy Mickey Knox wears for zombie walks, and a quick glance at the back cover reveals an appearance by Reggie Banister. I’m in.

The local police force has captured the notorious serial killer, Bonejangles. Now, all that’s left to do is to transport him to a maximum-security asylum. The only problem is, the handoff will be made at A foggy little town in the middle of nowhere. It just so happens to be one of the cop’s hometown, and it hides a terrible secret. One night a year, the dead rise from their graves to feast on the living. One night a year, this sleepy little hamlet is overrun by zombies. And that night, is tonight.

Of course, that’s business as usual for the cop. He’s completely forgotten about it, he’s more nervous because the girlfriend he left behind still lives there… And tonight is also her wedding night. Once in the town, we get the backstory, that the local Madame was drug out of her house of ill repute, to be burned as a witch. Being a prostitute, she’s not just any kind of which, she’s a succubus. And she laid a curse on the town with her dying breath. Now she lives in the haunted house on the outskirts of town, keeping herself alive in our by capturing young man and using them. Possibly. The only way to stop her, would be if there were some violent being with equally supernatural abilities around to kill her.

Like perhaps, a superhuman serial killer?

This is the brilliance of Bonejangle. They manage to turn this into a versus movie… in the tradition of King Kong versus Godzilla, Freddy versus Jason, Alien versus Predator. They take to completely unknown monsters, and set up these two opposing mythologies with the witch and the Jason clone serial killer (he’s got two machetes to show that he’s even scarier than Jason) and turn it into a terrifying show down that satisfies every bit as much as it would have had it been a franchise with characters that we recognize, and the zombies are just the icing on the cake.

Bonejangles does not shy away from blood and gore, particularly in the third act. They do it well, and make their bad guys look really good. Reggie Bannister is confined mostly to flashbacks, it looks like he came in and worked on the movie for one day so they could put his name on the box and that’s fine. He does an excellent job chewing the scenery and hamming it up as Edgar Friendly Senior, a serial killer in his own right, before passing his madness down to his monstrous son. He delivers some foreshadowing that pays off in spades towards the end, and gives us everything that we could want from a Reggie Bannister performance.

The bordello itself is achieved using curious means, they apparently couldn’t find a house that satisfy them so they built a large miniature, and use some serious forced perspective. We actually get it in frame not only by itself, but also with some of our characters… The big problem is they linger on the house too long, and your eye has time to adjust to the fact that it’s not quite real. Even worse is the use of CGI in this film. A stock blood spatter that hasn’t nearly been color corrected enough, and an explosion that looks like it comes straight out of a video game. The filmmakers obviously don’t know what they’re doing with the CG, but the good news is they’re probably aware of the issue, As they kept it to a minimum. It’s jarring, but there’s so little of it that it doesn’t sink the film.

Altogether, Bonejangles is actually a really fun, bloody horror film that does some very smart things and delivers us some really great monsters. I’d actually like to see a prequel to this, just to see more of the Bone Jangler himself.



85% of the cast is under 25

Bad CGI (common, afterFX, same old blood packs)

Horror con star cameo

Return of the Living Dead at the Lorain Palace

I always talk about the film scene in Cleveland, especially the horror scene.  Well, this weekend, we were back at the Lorain palace – one of my favorite places in the world. We had a great screening of Return of the Living Dead with Trash herself in attendance, as well as a Q&A hosted by Lenora from the big Bad B Movie show!



Live Wire

DollarindexPierce Brosnan is my favorite James Bond, but I think at times we forget just how much of an action career he had before the Bond franchise. Live Wire takes us back to those post Remington Steele and pre-Bond days, and even though it’s only 1992, it actually feels earlier, like somethings shot in the 80s.

We are introduced to Brown‘s then disarming a bomb in the car, and then getting a restraining order to keep him away from his life. That’s OK, he’ll soon have his hands full hiding terrorists. They haven’t been the same since thier daughter died, and the mother in law definitely doesn’t like him. Indeed, they keep inserting this subplot throughout the movie, to the point where it’s a little distracting. Of course it’s also a plot point considering that Ron Silver’s character, the senator in charge of the investigation, also had a bit of an affair with Brosnan’s wife. image4sTerrorists assassinate a US senator and are creating a super villain super weapon that turns human beings into living bombs. I admit, I’m a little distracted by the fact that Ben cross is a villain – I’m so used to him as Barnabas Collins on the revival of dark shadows in the eerie way that they tend to light him only emphasizes the similarities.

Even with the sci-fi premise and explosions, what this really is, is a police procedural rather than a straight up action or espionage flick. It’s a good one though, Brosnen is playing his character a lot more crass then I’m used to… His typical charm is largely absent but for some jobs you need a crass detective instead imagesof a charming secret agent! It’s up to Brosnan to unravel tangled web of bribery and poison and explosives culminating in a shoot out at the senators sprawling estate. The movie definitely gets definite extra points for all the MacGyvering we get to watch as Brosnan uses household items to slow down and fight back against the bad guys.

Ultimately, Live Wire is a competent and interesting enough thriller. There’s moments of Miami Vice in it, as well as moments of CSI. The familiar faces help but aren’t necessary… more of a bonus. I can think of worse ways to spend 86 minutes.


Devoured is not what it seems. That cover, while spectacular, has nothing to do with the film and that may be its biggest problem devour is a thriller disguised as a Ghost story.

We have Lourdes, an immigrant, come to America to raise money for her 10-year-old sons operation back in El Salvador. She works late shift at an upscale restaurant in a big city that looks a lot like New York. Lately, she’s been seeing things at the restaurant. She’s under a great deal of stress, and not treated well, but as if that weren’t enough, now she’s starting to see ghosts. A single ray of sunshine opens up when she meets a Kindly firefighter and starts to get friendly with him, but it’s not enough as her entire world pulls apart all around her.

We have a twist ending, which kind of goes back and explains everything that we seen in the rest of the film… Ocean’s Eleven style. Everything makes sense, the drama is good and the tension is high, and the third act has some very smart scares.

But it’s not the ghost story it seems to be. And that’s a little off-putting. Definitely worth the watch, yes something very intelligent about the way it’s written and heartbreaking in the way that it’s shot.



Mostly one location

Cover misrepresents the movie

Stock DVD cover (Exorcism style)

Trippy Mind games



Camp Cold Brook

I wasn’t aware that Camp Cold Brook was going to be a ghost hunter mock buster, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. These frequently turn out well.

It’s a really good set up though. We’ve got this haunted squad show and it’s about to be canceled. However the producer has made a deal… One more episode, but it is a special, and if it does amazing numbers, maybe they come back. It’s life or death for them. It’s do or die time.

The haunt squad arrives in a creepy little small town with plenty of doomsayers telling them not to go in. It’s a good way of giving us some of the backstory. It was a tragedy of the camp… Which cursed it cost 30 deaths in order to bring her child back. I set up, I don’t usually get witches in these sort of ghost hunter shows. In any event, it’s time for day one where they’re sitting at homebase in the main office, rigging lights and installing cameras. The special cameras are mounted on gimbals so that we don’t get anything particularly shaky cam. Good way of explaining away no more professional grade video we’re getting.

The first act does an excellent job of establishing the backstory, while the second act is working a lot harder to establish a mood. We start to get some activity, and it’s not subtle at all. The filmmakers here want to make it perfectly clear if something is happening here. The attacks are actually fairly aggressive as well for the second act. You can kind of feel the transition over into the third act though when an assistant tries to leave. Whatever’s here of course isn’t going to let them leave but now it’s time for the third at twist. Ghost hunters mother lives in the area, and she knows about the haunting as well. She knows, because ghost hunter grew up here and was a part of the curse… Only, he doesn’t remember and that’s a bad thing, because these ghosts have a good reason to want vengeance on him.

The film isn’t satisfied with just one plot twist neither, there’s still a few surprises in store here, but I don’t wanna give it all away. This one’s a really good one for you to see gotten watch. A good solid horror film with some genuine creep to it

Murder Party

Murder Party is one of those perpetual Netflix denizens that I always seem to skip by when I’m browsing., It’s got a good cover and an interesting sounding premise, but something else always seemed a little bit more interesting. Now that I have A copy of the DVD, it’s a priority. Especially having the special features that help me get to know the filmmakers, I feel like thats something we need. Murder Party was made by people who have been together hanging out and making movies since they were in junior high and had access to VHS cameras and super8 film. Murder Party has been an idea they’ve been kicking around for ages and finally got together the resources to do it properly.

An average Joe comes across an invitation to a party, blowing down the sidewalk on a windy day. It’s Halloween, he doesn’t think twice about the fact that they’re calling in a murder party, so he sets up a bowl of candy corn for the trick-or-treating (who have already smashed his jack-o-lantern), turn the pumpkin into pumpkin bread, and crafts a Knights costume  out of cardboard, jumps on the subway and heads out. The partiers he encounters chain him up, and explain to him that he’s just a time for his own murder. We spent the next 40 minutes or so getting to know the killers. They really do want to commit murder as a sort of ultimate art piece, but at the same time are unsure about actually killing someone. The charismatic leader of the group leads them down some dark paths. The movie culminates in an exciting escape, with the murderers chasing our victim through a party, a club and an art gallery. It’s a satisfying conclusion, but overall, the film feels like it drags… and that saying something for an 80 minuet movie. I respect these guys but I can’t help but wonder if they’ve been off more than they can chew. The film looks slick, professional, well lit and well shot. The actors are all excellent but the story doesn’t fit into the traditional three act structure, and without that structure you begin to lose your audience. The middle part of the movie meanders and vacillates, much like the murders. It’s a one note gag that you really can only stretch so far, and Murder Party seems like it would have been better served yes a short film.

If I were to do my own cut, I’d tighten the beginning and then cut right after the first kill… Cutting over to the victims first escape attempt. I’d include the broom closet to scene, and from there Cut to the chase. If you seen the movie, you’ll note this sort of edit cuts out more than half the movie and and in excises entire characters but I think it would’ve been best for me. I don’t need to know really want to know the murderers. For me, we probably should lean on the wacky premise of the murder party and sell it.

Despite everything, it’s still a buy for me, because I wanna see more from these guys and I’d like to support future projects. Of course, the movies been out for quite a while now and I’m not sure how much my purchase actually helps them, but I really would like to see this casting crew given another chance. Even if this film doesn’t deserve it, they do

Zombie Walk fall 2022

In  a time when Zombie Walks are growing more and more scarce, it’s nice to know the Monster walk in Lakewood is still going on strong. I’m even happy to see there was a nice uptick in attendance. Fall is usually the smaller one, with a lot of the zombies already at work in the local haunted houses just before October. But the middle of September gives everyone a good chance to get in the Halloween mood and try out new makeup and characters before heading into the gloom and smoke and strobe lighting of their respective haunted attractions. Good to see some friends like Mark and Craig back up  and really interesting to see Epislon spearheading the whole thing.  It’s a good day to be a zombie in Lakewood. And if you don’t believe me….just take a look at the pictures below!



Greystone Park


I first watched Greystone Park about five years or so ago, while I was on a found footage binge. When I saw it on the dollar store shelf, I grabbed it entirely for the special features. I remember it not making much of an impression on me originally, but the idea of Oliver Stone’s son making a movie intrigued me. I recall not thinking much about it. That review kind of still stands.

The Asylum Tapes (2012)

Okay, perhaps I’m being unnecessarily harsh. Really, this is not the genre for what Stone was trying to do. This film is pretentious, and more than a little artsy. It has SOME interesting concepts and some great lines…and all of them are more than this kind of movie deserves. Real people don’t talk like this.

We have the main characters breaking into an abandoned insane asylum, pretty much just for kicks, but there seems to be a kind-of idea floating around that maybe they could make a movie out of this… The filmmaking aspect of the story however feels completly secondary. And afterthought, nothing more.


I think I would have forgiven more if this had been a straightforward cinematic style. When you go shakeycam, you live and die by it, in the plain realism of it. These guys wax philosophical, and jump in and out of first person POV to wide shots and quick cuts of scary images. The idea is to build atmosphere, but all it ends up doing is take me straight out of the movie. I can’t suspend my disbelief so easily when you jump styles like that. This just doesn’t work as a found footage movie. When we do have the shakycam going it was another one that made me sick to my stomach, but interestingly enough it would frequently be just….TOO good. Perfectly framed shots lit for the sheer soul of it……again, a found footage film just isn’t the place for this. It makes me wonder why they choose this form of storytelling in the first place.

The final nail in the coffin for this movie is the lack of monsters or any real threat. It’s all poorly constructed atmosphere, a few quick and simple scares but nothing significant. We get one evil shadow for about three seconds and a brief flash of the girl on the cover – that’s right : she’s not the main antagonist and is hardly in the film. Funny, marketing seemed to figure out what this movie needed far more than the filmmakers. Did I use the word “pretentious” yet?

Seriously, this movie reeks of it. From the beginning scene (which we cut back to occasionally) of the family and guests  having a deeeeeep discussion around the family hooka (seriously) to the final shots of Oliver stone tipping his hat to the camera as his shadow walks away from him, this movie doesn’t earn any of it and it just kind of pisses me off.

The one thing that I neglected to mention in that original review, (perhaps it didn’t affect me that first time? I can’t imagine that’s the case) is the completely bonkers nature of the last 10 minutes or so. When they enter the chapel, all bets are off and it is the single scene in the film that is truly terrifying.

On the other hand, as pretentious and effete as the films dialogue is… The commentary track is twice as bad. I couldn’t get over how utterly pleased Stone and his friends are with themselves. There’s smugness, and a total head in the clouds sort of artistic obliviousnes. These guys are in their own world, and it’s crazy. They’ve convinced themselves that a significant amount of the film is real and it comes off as a bad episode of Ghost Hunters. I will say this, I’m pleased that I had the commentary and the alternate ending. It explains one of the story points that I completely missed…(because the film really isn’t that great and these guys were too busy making art to bother telling a story). The original ending is a little more cheap, cheesier and not as aesthetically pleasing, but on the other hand it actually wraps up the story much better and explains some of what happened.

I still can’t really recommend Greystone Park, but if you’re one of those people like me who came away from it confused when you watched it on Netflix, it’s worth grab them at the dollar tree just for that alternate ending and a little more explanation… Assuming you can swim through all the nonsense they spew without drowning. Good luck.



Abandoned Asylum

85% of the cast is under 25

Black and white greasepaint

Found Footage

Cover misrepresents the movie

something walks by in the background



The cover of Pyewachet is eerie and incomprehensible, but when the film opens up in a barren woods in the middle of autumn, with some chanting over the imagery, we know exactly what’s coming up. It’s going to be a witch movie. Misfit girl with creepy patches on her book bag wanders to school hall and gets picked up in a car blaring heavy metal music to go home. Her bedrooms lined with black metal band posters and she trudges through an emotionally distant home where the mom is a drunk is still mourning her dead father and doesn’t really care where she goes and what she does. She hang out with her friends, reads books like an occult primer and gets nervous around her not-boyfriend.

One night she comes home to discover that her mother has signed a lease on a new home up north, and that they will be moving shortly. She retreats to her bedroom upstairs and loses her self in her impressive collection of occult books.
You can almost feel the detached sensation of walking through life knowing you’re being ripped from the home that you really want to be out in the front if you know. They argue, and she runs into the woods, furious and despondent. It’s in those words that she will begin her ritual. There are soft noises in the woods, and the crow caws as she’s summons something.

The next morning, the door is ajar and there’s dirt tracked into the house. It’s creepy but nothing else a mess. Lee and her mother head into town for some shopping. Halloween decorations are up. Lee seems to be getting along better with her mother, Mom‘s concern over the cut on her arm actually seem to bond them. But now they’re strange noises in the house, footsteps at night and shadows on the wall. Dark figure clings there in creeps around her room as she sleeps.

And then she wakes in the Woods.

At this point she seeks help from her friends, one of them comes with her to spend the night… mostly because she’s hoping to see weird stuff happen!

She does. Something comes to her in the night and in the morning, she’s fled into the car, terrified and shaking. She’s adamant, she’s not going back inside the house… But she won’t talk about it either.
The entity that Lee’s unleashed can only be stopped if she performs the ritual in reverse, asking forgiveness each time. And time is running out, because once it’s finished it’s task, it’s coming for her
The film feels like an interesting low budget mix of The Witch and Insidious. It’s done well enough to give me the creeps and even goosebumps during parts of the climax in the third act. They show you just enough to scare you, while leaving enough to your imagination to keep you uneasy. It’s incredibly well written and well shot and genuinely scary. This one’s absolutely a high recommend
85% of the cast is under 25
Moving to a new house
Kind of cultist
CGI monster
occultic symbols (bonus if hidden)

Werewolves of the Third Reich

Werewolves of the third reich starts off with a title card telling us it’s 1944. Probably a good idea, and the setting is beautiful. A brick bar that feels like it’s in a basement, with well it light glinting off the bottles. Our main character, Maddog, starts a fight with a Nazi which turns into a shoot out in the bar. They’re good at tension, but that Beretta his partner is holding his way out of place.

We passed the credits to chapter 1, which takes place at a prison camp where the women have more anachronistic hair. It’s an experiment camp, where they’re testing out chemicals and serums on the prisoners, making progress on their biological warfare efforts, even enough for a scientist to deliver a report to the least convincing Hitler I’ve ever seen.

Flashback to the execution of a traitor and his family, filled with CGI blood splatters from the same pack everybody else uses, and then a return to the scientist who talks about combining human DNA with wolves. I’m glad to finally hear something about wolves because we’re a half hour into this thing and I haven’t seen a single werewolf. That takes us to chapter 2, with a couple of our army men arguing.  The junior officer is tossed into the back of an empty van with a group of guys headed for lock up. Stories in the van before we shift back over to the more interesting Nazi scientist, working in his lab. He needs a male and a female, according to his brain research. Meanwhile, the MP then get stopped by a blockage in the road… A suspicious stack of logs. It’s an ambush, but it does provide the prisoners with a chance to escape.

Meanwhile a mad scientist is cooking up a reanimator style serum to turn ordinary men into wolf hybrids. His first test subject is his guy his wife is having an affair with.

It’s just past an hour before we finally see this first werewolf. The thing is, it’s not really a werewolf as much as a monstrous mutant. I’ve always preferred Lon Cheney wolfmen to the American werewolf in London style, but this thing isn’t either. It’s more man than wolf. Practically hairless, with a fair looking appliance on his face. The cheating wife is so heartbroken that she injects herself with a serum to, just in time for the merry band of prisoners to find the installation and launch their own assault.

The good news is we finally get to see the werewolves strut their stuff… Bad news is there’s only 10 minutes left in the movie.

At the end of the day, this entire film comes off looking really cheap. It’s got that unflattering shot-on-video sheen to it, and they make a common mistake that low budget reductions fall into. When you do a period piece, everything has to look period. Not just the army uniforms, not just the Nazi uniforms (which are okay), but the haircuts, the beards, the house interiors, the photographs all of it. On a low budget production, it’s too easy for stuff to slip by or for “good enough” to be the standard of the day. These locations never feel genuine, and the characters just don’t look right. Some pinup hair and harsher make up would’ve gone along way on some of these characters… Even if it were out of place, it’s a sort of thing we expect to see… The sort of thing that conveys the era to us. The uniforms tend to be badly fitting and made from fabric that fails to convince… No matter how historically accurate they may actually be. And the fact that they don’t really commit to the werewolves, makes this a massive disappointment.

More a shame, because somebody had a clever idea, but not the skill to truly develop it. I don’t get to know this group of soldiers well enough… In fact, we really learned More about the mad scientist and his wife that we do about our heroes! I want these army guys to be people I can root for, a group of heroes that I want to revisit again and again, in sequels down the line. I think that’s something they could’ve accomplished… The templates are all there, but they failed to stick the landing and instead of becoming heroic arctypes, they really end up just being cardboard cut outs, and it’s a shame. Werewolves of The Third Reich is a hard pass both for werewolf lovers and fans of natziploitation.



Mad Scientist or science gone wrong

Girl is in love with Monster

Bad CGI (common, afterFX, same old blood packs)