Tuesday, November 30, 2010
From the creator’s of the cult smash Ninjas vs. Zombies comes Ninjas vs. Vampires, a fun independent film that boasts plenty of action, comedy and horror! Written and directed by Justin Timpane, Ninjas vs. Vampires is full of hilarious one-liners, lots of sword-swinging, martial arts action, spilled blood and even a bit of magic.
It tells the tale of Aaron, who moments after he is rejected by the girl of his dreams is attacked by vampires. Luckily they are both saved by mysterious ninjas. Aaron tracks down the ninjas for answers and soon becomes involved in the ninja vs. vampire war.
As mentioned above, this was a fun independent film of pretty high quality. It did have its flaws, namely some over-acting and cheesy effects, but its flaws soon became part of its quirky charm! What really made me dig the film so much was the witty dialogue, delivered by aplomb by the leads. The dialogue really made me care for the good guys and made me want to keep watching.
I also thought the action scenes between the vampires and the ninjas were really well-choreographed and entertaining to boot. Sure, some of the special effects involving fire, muzzle blasts, etc. were unrealistic-looking, but considering the low budget nature of the film I was willing to let these flaws slide. Plus, the martial arts/action scenes were kick ass regardless of the weak CGI.
The storyline was well-written, with enough exposition to help us understand the “rules” of the vampires and the ninja’s accelerated training. I also liked how they incorporated magic into the plot without coming off as cheesy. Timpane did a great job developing the characters and giving them distinct voices. I really dug the lead of Aaron, played by Jay Saunders, but all the characters were pretty likable. The only one I didn’t really like was the lead vampire, who just seemed a bit too stereotypical to me. The actor who played the lead vamp came off kind of wooden as well.
However, overall Ninjas vs. Vampires is a fun, action-filmed romp that was surprisingly entertaining. It had awesome action sequences, characters we cared about and an engaging and unique storyline. Want to find out who wins this war? Then check out Ninjas vs. Vampires to find out!
Buy it on Amazon!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Scott Goldberg is known within the independent film scene for his political films, and his newest short, Mr. Mullen, is yet another example. Goldberg is a passionate filmmaker who hopes that his films will shake up the status quo and make people take a harsher look at the U.S. government and politics in general. Though his opinions might differ from your own, at least his films will make you think and really question your beliefs. I love films that challenge you and have a deeper meaning and would much rather sit through an intelligent film rather than a brainless hack ‘n’ slash (though I love those films too!).
Mr. Mullen is about corrupt and hypocritical government officials and how one man becomes completely fed up with the system and decides to take his revenge. With the economy in shambles and the empty promises of politicians filling the airwaves, this film feels perfectly apropos for the turbulent times.
The film has a gritty look that meshes perfectly with the frustration of our lead character, a character that many can empathize with. This character has lost his job, his savings and seemingly everything dear to him while the politicians around him continue to lie and live like fat cats. With so many unemployed citizens in the U.S. right now, this is probably a familiar tale for many.
Scott Goldberg has taken a nation’s anxieties, anger, frustration, pain, hopelessness and despair and placed them in Mr. Mullen. Not only does he address the down-the-toilet economy, staggering unemployment and the desperate populace, but he also focuses on the seemingly lost generation of people who don’t care about politics and are more interested in the latest celebrity gossip than important issues that actually affect them. This issue truly hit home because I feel like one of those brainless people sometimes! It is definitely time for me, and others like me, to wake up and take note of what is happening in our nation and our world.
Not only does Mr. Mullen shake and wake you, but it is also beautifully shot and edited. In the beginning it feels a bit fragmented, but this only highlights the fact of how disconnected each of us are not only from each other but also from the government and our own elected politicians. I also loved the stark cinematography of the film and how it is shot in chilly grays.
Mr. Mullen is not necessarily a horror movie, but its message is certainly nightmarish! Just like in They Live, people need to wake up and get involved to really make a difference! People need to take back their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and stop letting big business and government control them. I, for one, am definitely glad to get this wake up call and thank Mr. Goldberg for creating such an important short film.
For more information, please visit mrmullenfilm.com!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Werewolves: An Illustrated Journal of Transformation is a stunning book from author Paul Jessup and illustrator Allyson Haller. The book is in the form of an illustrated journal written from the perspective of a newly turned werewolf who is trying to understand and come to terms with the alarming changes she is going through.
The journal and illustrations chronicle the transformation of high schooler Alice and her brother Mark after they are attacked by what they believe are large dogs one night in the woods. Alice starts to go through some weird changes – she was a vegetarian, but now craves bloody meat – and writes it all in her journal alongside sketches she draws. It doesn’t take long for her to figure out what her and her brother are turning into, especially after they meet the pack that turned them into werewolves.
The strong personality of Alice really pulls you into the story and the simple yet gorgeous illustrations hook you even further. You will not want to put this book down, and it will probably become a permanent fixture on your coffee table, because hardly anyone can walk by without picking up the book and thumbing through it…and after thumbing through it they are likely to plop down and read as much as they can! It is just that engaging…
The book really does feel like a peek into a private journal and kudos to author Paul Jessup for pulling that off! I also must applaud him for creating a strong female lead that takes matters into her own hands. The illustrations by Allyson Haller deserve much praise as well, because their style fits perfectly into the overall tone of the book.
For fans of fangs ‘n’ fur, Werewolves: An Illustrated Journal of Transformation is a must-have!
Buy it on Amazon!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
After being impressed with Scott W. Perry’s film Insatiable, I was eager to check out his new short film, titled Something Just.
Something Just stars Alan Rowe Kelly, Jerry Murdock, Evan Robert Smith, Joslyn Jensen and Joseph Zaso. It was written, produced and directed by Scott W. Perry and co-produced by Jeremiah Kipp. If you are a fan of indie horror, more than one of these names is probably familiar to you!
Synopsis: In order to stop a child killer, the guardian of one of his victims seeks the aid of a shady figure from his past.
Alan Rowe Kelly, a regular figure in the independent horror scene, stars as the creepy child killer and delivers quite an imposing performance as a psycho. The first scene where he kills a young girl is very disturbing. It’s not that there’s a lot of blood, but the scene has more of a psychological impact with the disorienting score and echoing effects of the sounds and images on screen.
Don’t expect this film to be your cookie-cutter psycho story, though! Perry weaves a surprising twist into the proceedings with the introduction of one of the victim’s guardians who would do anything to stop the killer, including dealing with a mysterious man from his past. I like how this twist makes the film unique and gives it a much more layered, complex story. And the ending, which I won’t give away, is both surprising and satisfying!
The film also looks fantastic and the cinematography by Dominick Sivilli is great. In the beginning we are in the killer’s dingy house and dark basement, but later the film takes on a dreamier atmosphere with soft, washed-out colors and a park setting.
Something Just just goes to prove how much Scott W. Perry has grown as a filmmaker. Not only has he put together another fantastic cast, but the film feels more mature than previous efforts and deals with the more serious subject matter of child predators. With this steady progression, I can’t wait to see what Perry does next…perhaps a full-length film?
Monday, November 22, 2010
One of the books I’ve been anticipating most is The Art of Hammer: The Official Poster Collection from the Archive of Hammer Films. Not only am I a fan of Hammer horror and all its lurid but classic films, but I also love poster art! Poster art was, and still continues to be, a major marketing force in cinema, and for good reason. In Hammer’s heyday, posters and handbills were generally the first thing people saw in regards to a film and would greatly influence their decision to see it. To this day, studios spend a large chunk of change on marketing, which includes poster advertisements. So besides just looking pretty, posters serve a greater purpose in promoting a film.
This, and more, is explained in the introduction by author Marcus Hearn. This informative section gives a brief overview of Hammer Films, its poster artists and the importance of utilizing their posters for marketing. After this short but informative overview, the book moves into showcasing Hammer’s beautiful posters. The level of craftsmanship on these posters is very impressive, considering most of them were hand-painted or hand-crafted, not something you see very often nowadays. The posters are organized by decade, from 1950 to 1979, and really show why Hammer is almost as well known for its promotional posters as it is for the films themselves.
The Art of Hammer showcases the studios’ iconic posters with nearly 300 examples, both familiar and rare, drawn from Hammer’s own archives as well as from private collections worldwide. There are unforgettable images contained in this gorgeous book, from films like Dracula, The Gorgon, Curse of Frankenstein, Devil Rides Out, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, To the Devil a Daughter, Vampire Circus and many, many more! Besides posters of horror films, this book also features comedies, that are perhaps lesser known, that were released by Hammer studios. My favorite posters in the book were the foreign ones, which were just wild in the interpretations of the films! However, my absolute favorite poster was a black and white one for Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, which features a buxom beauty with two pink band-aids over bite marks on her neck! I love the cheeky vibe of this poster!
The Art of Hammer: The Official Poster Collection from the Archive of Hammer Films is a real treat for both fans of both the golden age of Hammer and poster art fans. The beautiful coffee table book showcases some of the best iconic posters from Hammer Films and not only that, it is masterfully made! The pages are glossy, thick and the book itself is huge! It is wonderful to see the colorful posters in such a large format that really pays them the respect they deserve. This is a book that will definitely grace your living room table for years to come.
A while back we reviewed another fascinating book from Marcus Hearn called Hammer Glamour that was filled with stunning photographs of the starlets from Hammer movies. I was extremely impressed with the book, and it looks like Hearn has done it again with The Art of Hammer. There is just an unequivocal joy to flipping through the colorful pages of glossy Hammer posters!
The Art of Hammer is being released November 23rd, 2010 and would make a breathtaking gift for that special person in your life this holiday season!
Buy it on Amazon!