Monday, June 30, 2008

Gory Gear: Sock Zombies

It all began in a university biology department. What seemed like a routine procedure in a level 3 biohazard facility went terribly wrong. One researcher felt her foot tingle and discovered…her sock had come back from the dead. Thus sock zombies were born and the infection spread rapidly. By nightfall the socks were rising in every neighborhood!

Be warned – Sock Zombies are dangerously cuddly! Approach with extreme caution…or you’ll be infected with their cuteness!

Sock Zombies are the creation of Emily Williams. After being involved in a “stitch and bitch” group every weekend and wanting to make something other than the standard sock monkeys, Emily came up with the idea of making sock ZOMBIES! Emily has been a big zombie fan for all her life and wanted to create a zombie doll for her three year old son that wasn’t too scary. Her creations are the perfect plushy softness that invite cuddling, though Emily says, “I have doomed to my son. When the zombie plague hits, he is going to run out and try to give them all hugs!”

After she made sock zombies for her son (the first two were named Zack and Zelda, after characters in the novel World War Z by Max Brooks and the movie Pet Cemetery), she realized how much she loved them and decided to sell them online. Emily came up with back stories on each of her unique zombie characters (no zombie is ever the same and each one is handmade) and says, “I enjoy imagining scary zombie scenes. It’s like I’m writing my own zombie movie. Sometimes I make some of my favorite hero zombies. I made Bub once and Trash from Return of the Living Dead.”

We received our own sock zombie named Alex. “Alex played basketball with his Dad every afternoon after school, so he waited eagerly for him to come home from work. Unfortunately, Dad wasn’t feeling well enough to play that night, so Alex sat on the end of his bed and told him about his school day. Suddenly his Dad jumped out of bed and bit him. Alex looked down to where his arm used to be, and blacked out. He woke up hungry. Now Alex and his dad have a new father-son activity…hunting.”

Alex came with a bloodied stump of an arm (red yarn), a holey, bloody sweater reminiscent of the one Freddy Krueger wears, some green corduroy pants and a mop of soft, blue hair. Immediately my first reaction was to cuddle the sock zombie, because he is just begging to be hugged! Little did I know that his cuteness had been my demise…No one is safe against this new threat of the highly squeezable and irresistible Sock Zombies!

Sock Zombies have only been available for six months, but they are going quicker than hotcakes! Need a cool toy for your kids or for yourself? Want to give something unique to the zombie-lover in your life? Want to be the cool aunt or uncle in the family that gets your nieces and newphews rad toys? Pick up a Sock Zombie today and you’ll be a hero to all! Resistance is futile against these cuddly undead moppets, so just give in and buy one already, ‘kay?

You can find them online at, select farmer’s markets in Indiana and various horror conventions. Emily tells us the next sock zombie invasion will hopefully happen at the It’s Alive Zombie Fest in Pennsylvania, where they even have a zombie walk in the very mall where the original Dawn of the Dead was filmed.

Sock Zombies to march on Monroeville Mall! Be ready! Buy your own Sock Zombie before it’s too late!

Visit Sock Zombies’ Official Site

Friday, June 27, 2008

Gorezone Magazine Interviews Fatally Yours

Recently, the excellent Gorezone Magazine interviewed me for an article on the state of horror today. While we wait for that article to be published, I thought it would be fun to include the entire interview for your pleasure and for your chance to pick my brain!

Many thanks to Christian Sellers at Gorezone for making this happen and for giving us permission to repost the interview. If you haven’t yet checked out Gorezone Magazine, which is published in the UK, you can find it at many bookstores here in the states, including Barnes and Nobel and Borders! Pick one up today…it’ll definitely be worth your while!

And keep reading to find out more about our own Fatally Yours!

Gorezone: How old were you when you first developed an interest in horror and which film in particular sparked that interest?

Fatally Yours: I was always drawn to the darker side when I was growing up, but I stuck more to reading horror novels like Stephen King’s books instead of watching horror movies. I didn’t really get into horror films until high school, when I watched The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for the very first time…and was blown away by its brutality. After recovering from shell-shock, I was completely hooked on horror! I even went on to write my thesis in college on TCM!

Gorezone: What is it about horror that appeals to you so much? Do you feel that these kinds of movies serve any other purpose than to entertain, such as helping the viewer to confront their own fears or learn about morality? Some writers have made comparisons between modern horror and both nursery rhymes and urban legends, as they contain messages to help guide their young readers.

Fatally Yours: For me, horror acts as a catharsis. After a bad day, there’s nothing better than sprawling on the couch and watching a particularly spooky, or even cheesy, horror movie. Compared with the troubles the on-screen characters face, your problems just don’t seem so terrible. I think horror movies have this affect on many people. They also allow us to confront our fears in a very controlled environment. Even if we get scared, we know that it’s “just a movie.” Yet, that adrenaline rush and release of emotions (our bodies’ fight or flight response) are real. Horror movies are a great way to experience this rush while not actually being put in any real danger (unless you have a heart condition!).

There are plenty of horror movies that convey deeper messages than the blood and grue they splash across the screen, but I think many viewers just wish to be entertained. Really, it’s all about what the viewer personally takes away from their viewing experience, whether they are watching purely for entertainment or if they are willing to look a little deeper into the film and take something more meaningful away from it.

Gorezone: Horror, more than any other genre, has had such a mixed reception over the years. Whilst conventions the world over are packed with hardcore fans, many people still look upon this type of movie as one step up from pornography; either sleazy and corruptive or simply juvenile. Why do you think horror provokes such strong emotions, both positive and negative?

Fatally Yours: Horror fans “get it.” They understand fear and love the emotions horror movies evoke in them. Others outside the genre just don’t see the value of such catharsis. While horror fans are drawn to the darker aspects in life and can acknowledge them, while most other people just want to ignore death. Horror embraces the ugly side of human (or inhuman) nature, fear and death while other genres tend to shy away from these things. Instead, other genres tend to focus on unrealistic ideals, like romantic comedies representing skewed views on love. I think horror fans prefer the nitty-gritty truth over unattainable ideals!

I also think horror’s popularity has a lot to do with the many different subgenres of horror we have to choose from. Some fans might like cheesy, funny horror while others prefer the gory exploitation flicks. Horror fans have a wide spectrum of films to choose from, and I think that’s a big part of what makes horror such an appealing genre to many and why there is such a rock solid fan base for it.

Gorezone: So many horror films have been blamed for real life violence, why do you think it makes such as easy scapegoat? The censors have been stricter with horror over the years than any other genre, despite most action movies featuring more graphic deaths than your average horror, and many critics are hesitant to discuss the positive aspects of horror, showing that these kinds of films are still a kind of taboo.

Fatally Yours: Horror films are visual representations of our deepest fears, and when violence (which itself is feared) is perpetrated in real life it is easy to look at them as a mirror for the horrifying crimes. People believe the old saying “Monkey see, monkey do,” especially when it pertains to individuals who commit violence, but they tend to ignore other factors that would be more likely for causing violence. Saying horror films are solely to blame for someone committing violence is like blaming comedy movies when someone makes a bad joke. It’s completely silly!

Gorezone: How would you say gender and sexuality are portrayed in horror? Do you think the ‘sex equals death’ morality is an important theme and are women portrayed and treated as fairly as their male counterparts? Some have discussed that films such as slashers are misogynistic, while others say the image of the heroine celebrates feminism. How do you feel on this subject?

Fatally Yours: I think most of the time women in horror are portrayed far worse than the men. They usually suffer the most prolonged and visible deaths, they are usually most likely to be humiliated before they die, usually treated solely as sexual objects instead of real people and their characters are usually the least developed. Of course, things are always improving, and I think people in the genre have come very far from how women were portrayed in horror in the past.

The “Final Girl” in most slashers is the only person to survive and some think that signals some kind of celebration of feminism, but I prefer to look at how her character was treated throughout the entire film before jumping to any conclusions. It is true that many films celebrate the strength of females, but many others are still stuck putting women into stereotypical roles…even when their film is hailed as a great feminist achievement. Case in point is the recent film Teeth, which I absolutely loathed. I felt that it was completely anti-woman and that people got the fleece pulled over their eyes just because it was “different.” It was one of the most misogynistic movies I’ve seen!

Gorezone: How often would you say that nudity and sex scenes are actually relevant to the story or are they usually just to keep the young audience interested or help revive a film that is running its course?

Fatally Yours: For me, a lot of nudity and sex scenes tend to slow down the story. It’s like, come on, get on with it, I wanna see some REAL action! Sometimes it’s justifiable for the film, but most of the time it’s just gratuitous.

Gorezone: Another aspect of modern horror which is often discussed is voyeurism and the use of point-of-view camerawork, which often forces the viewer to watch the murders through the killer’s eyes, placing them in the role of the antagonist, instead of allowing them to sympathize with the victim. What is your opinion on this?

Fatally Yours: Much has been made about this technique, with critics of the genre complaining that the audience will start to relate with the killer as opposed to the victims, but I think that is mostly BS! The POV from the killer fully allows the audience to realize the horror of what is really happening, and be able to fully see the terrified reaction from the victim. If anything, seeing the terror of the victim from the killer’s point-of-view should allow the audience to sympathize more with the victim, because they are seeing exactly how scared they are!

Gorezone: Do you think that the advancements in special effects over recent years (both prosthetics and CGI) has allowed filmmakers the chance to help create tension and excitement or has it taken too much attention away from the story; as many older films relied on the cast and script while many recent films have been saturated in effects and the expense of a coherent plot?

Fatally Yours: Special effects have gotten pretty nifty over the years, but it’s the story that really matters in a film. Filmmakers should learn to work within their means before staging elaborate scenes that require many special effects, because sometimes they just can’t pull their vision off. I think we as an audience have focused too much on how stuff looks rather than focusing on how well a story is told. Some of the best films were made without any of the special effects we have available today, and they still stand the test of time…all because of the substance of their story, not their special effects.

Gorezone: What is your opinion the current horror climate? How do you feel about the countless remakes, as it seems that Hollywood is updating both the timeless classics and the more obscure cult favourites?

Fatally Yours: I think horror fans have to look beyond Hollywood for quality horror flicks. The indie and foreign markets is just teeming with excellent horror films that not very many people have had the pleasure to check out. Hollywood will just keep remaking and making films that are horrible representations of the horror genre. This “bubblegum horror” is not geared toward horror fans, but at the younger set of moviegoers and the more mainstream audience in mind. Now, with quality horror films that horror fans actually want to see, like Midnight Meat Train and Repo! The Genetic Opera, in jeopardy of being yanked from theatrical release (with the possibility they’ll just be dropped straight to DVD), the horror community shouldn’t be relying on the big studios for quality horror anymore.

Gorezone: Horror seems more acceptable now than ever, with many of them designed as ‘safe movies’ aimed at the PG-13 MTV crowd. Many of these films are generic and refuse to take any real risks to shock their audience. At the same time, there have been the so-called ‘torture porn’ movies that specialize in elaborate deaths and graphic violence. Both styles have been extremely successful over the last few years. How do you feel about modern horror and the industry in general?

Fatally Yours: I avoid PG-13 films that are geared for teeny-boppers, what I call “bubblegum horror.” Films like the Prom Night remake just don’t do it for me, so I refuse to shell out cash just to be disappointed. The so-called “torture porn” sub-genre worked for a while, but has long worn out its welcome. And you know what both of these types of films lack? A solid, scary story to keep me glued to my seat. If you just throw CW actors and buckets of gore at me without an interesting story, I’m just not going to care about the film at all. So, like I mentioned earlier, I think we as a community should be turning to independent or foreign horror films, ones that feature new surprises!

Gorezone: Do you feel that independent filmmakers are given enough support, by both the studios and critics, and how do you feel the likes of MySpace and YouTube have changed the way in which these films are publicized?

Fatally Yours: I believe that MySpace and YouTube have been amazing for independent filmmakers. It has really leveled the playing field for them and has allowed them more exposure. It’s been excellent for the horror fans as well, because it is easier to find fantastic, independent horror films now. Still, many moviegoers are turned off by the low-budget look of some films…to those I say, get over it and give these talented filmmakers a chance! They are the future of the horror genre!

Gorezone: In your opinion do the producers in Hollywood really understand what makes a good horror film or are they only interested in profit, sometimes at the expense of artistic freedom. Which filmmakers working today do you respect the most and why?

Fatally Yours: I respect indie filmmakers who really are doing it “for the love of horror.” They are usually fans of the genre and know how to scare an audience, unlike the big studios who are pushing out the tame horror remakes just to make a quick buck. It’s sad to say, but major studios are in a business and are out to make money. Of course they want to entertain audiences, but what they really want to do is get the maximum number of butts in seats to watch their new movie. So, to do so they must cater to wider, more mainstream tastes, which are much tamer than the horror crowd’s robust palate. The result is watered-down horror movies…so, again, we can’t solely rely on Hollywood for our horror fix. We must look elsewhere. There are some studio films that have their hearts in the right place, though these are usually far and in-between. Whatever horror films we seek out, we must make sure they are being made “for the love of horror!”

Visit Gorezone’s Official Site!

Women's Studies (2008)

Women’s Studies has long titillated with promises of a “feminist” horror film. I remember hearing about the indie production a year or so ago and eagerly anticipated its release. As a female horror fan who also wrote my college thesis examining The Texas Chain Saw Massacre through the feminist lens, sometimes I find it hard to find decent horror flicks that don’t malign their female characters. I want strong female characters that can take care of themselves in my horror films, but that is usually a rarity.

So, you can understand my excitement when I heard about the film Women’s Studies. When I finally received a screener, I was very hopeful that the film would present a witty and intelligent story told from a feminist perspective. What I wanted and what I received, though, are two very different things.

Instead of an insightful, woman-centric horror film I got a stereotypical, cliché-driven and dull horror movie with some pretty awful production values.

After months of interning for Senator Gayle Hamlin (Judith O’Dea in a pleasing cameo), Mary (Cindy Marie Martin) is driving back to college with her doctor-in-training boyfriend, Zack (James A. Radack), awkward friend Iris (Laura Bloechl) and best friend Beth (Melisa Breiner-Sanders). On the trip, Mary’s car is stolen from a roadside café. Luckily, a young woman named Judith (Tara Garwood) offers to put them up at her all-girls college, Ross-Prentiss Academy. Mary gladly accepts, but Beth is a little creeped out by Judith and her strange classmates. There’s Diane (Kelly Slagle), who’s tall, gaunt and only speaks French, the bitter and pregnant Sharon (Mundy Spears) and the bohemian Melissa (Tiffany James), who takes an extra-special liking to Iris.

As they wait for word from the police about their car, the foursome kick back at Ross-Prentiss. Mary starts hanging out with Judith, Zack finds one of the students to be overly friendly and Iris quickly falls in with the academy girls. Beth goes poking around where she shouldn’t and mouths off to Judith, a big no-no on this particular campus. She conveniently “disappears,” but Mary still insists on waiting around for word on her car. Things take a decidedly darker turn as Judith and the rest of the academy girls try to recruit Mary to make a stand against the patriarchal society…at whatever cost necessary.

You know, to call yourself a “feminist” film you first have to actually celebrate women. Instead, Women’s Studies decides to skewer women and represent all feminists as murderous, man-hating, goddess-worshiping lesbians. The heroine, Mary, wasn’t much better and came off a bit bland and thick-headed, though she did manage to kick some major ass towards the end. I will applaud the filmmakers for actually having a female-driven cast and not copiously featuring gratuitous female nudity, but the characters were as clichéd and stereotypical (perhaps even more so, because this film actually passes itself off as “feminist”) than any other horror movie.

Just as clichéd as the characters was the story, written by Lonnie Martin (who also directed), which was basically the same ho-hum plot of a group of people trapped in an isolated location with no cell phone service and no way out who are trying to survive some killer. I was hoping for more background on the school, like a visit into a classroom to see just what the women were being taught. Except, the entire campus was empty…what’s the school’s enrollment anyway…five students?? And the opening scene in the strip club really had no bearing on the rest of the story, either. There were lots of little niggling details like this that just drove me mad, on top of the fact that it wasn’t a feminist movie at all. The motivations of Judith and her followers were never explored as in-depth as I would have liked, especially their purpose for killing people, especially other women. Couldn’t they just let them go on their merry way? The story also dragged and had terrible pacing…there were scenes that should have been edited much more.

Along with the editing, there was some horrible direction and cinematography. In some of the shots, the framing was all off, so the camera was pointed at a wall for a few minutes while characters talked on the periphery of the shot. This was absolutely atrocious and amateur-looking. I will say that the outdoor cinematography was much better than any interior shots, which suffered from poor lighting as well as poor framing. The one scene that was shot with talent was the fight between Judith and Mary in the middle of the woods. It was pretty much the only exciting thing in the entire film!

What should have been more exciting were the kill scenes…but these too were pretty disappointing and unmemorable. The women used huge knives, which were pretty cool to look at but didn’t get much action.

As for the acting…well, it is a low-budget picture, so it wasn’t all bad. I think the main problem was that all the dialogue was dubbed in post-production, creating stale and fake-sounding emotions/reactions. The problem was probably the dialogue in the first place, but the actors tried to work around that. I thought Cindy Marie Martin as Mary and Tara Garwood as Judith were both excellent, but the other actors didn’t really get to do much. We never really got to know much about the Academy Girl’s characters, which is maybe because the writer doesn’t really understand women enough to write them as anything more than shallow, clichéd characters.

The last time I was so pissed off at a so-called “feminist” film was the misogynistic Teeth. I wouldn’t call Women’s Studies misogynistic, but it does misrepresent women and feminists. Even forgetting the whole “feminism” aspect of the film doesn’t change the fact that Women’s Studies is a chore to sit through. Its plodding story, ho-hum acting and bad production values make Women’s Studies one to skip!

Available on Amazon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Botched (2007)

After a botched diamond heist, Ritchie (Stephen Dorff) must make it up to his crime boss (Sean Pertwee) by stealing an ancient and priceless relic from a penthouse in Moscow. When Ritchie arrives in Moscow, he is joined by two bumbling brothers that deviate from the planned heist, forcing them to take hostages and hole up on the abandoned 13th floor when they think the police are onto them. Problem is, there’s someone else lurking about who is hell-bent on killing every single last one of the interlopers! Now the thieves must band together with the hostages in an attempt to survive the TERRIBLE killer…

Botched is a zany and fiercely entertaining movie that reminded me a lot of the film Severance. It’s a movie that has great comedic timing that was balanced perfectly with the heaps of gore. Botched also has a frenetically kinetic pace that keeps your eyes glues to the screen and keeps you guessing…just who or what are the characters up against? This film is one that even the most jaded of horror fans should have fun with!

The story, as mentioned earlier, is a perfect blend of black comedy and horror. It’s an over-the-top film that holds back its comedy just enough for it to still be scary, yet it has many moments of gut-busting laughs! The writing team of Derek Boyle and Eamon and Raymond Friel really know how to create an atmosphere that balances giggles and gore. The dialogue is also fun, clever and loaded with humor.

Another plus are the interesting and wacky characters, all played with gleeful fun by the actors. Dorff seems a bit stiff at times, but his performance is still adequate for the purposes of the film. The other actors were all entertaining to watch, especially when we were introduced to the terrifying killer, who very much looked like a towering Viking (played by Edward Baker-Duly). You really can’t miss this guy!

I also mentioned copious amounts of gore…and this film definitely delivers in that department!! We get a sudden decapitation, brains mashed via mace, a body severed in two, impalement, evisceration, fridges full of body parts, bodies on meat hooks, a sacrificial altar, rivers of blood and more! The effects are all quite excellent and gorehounds will be tickled blood red by the gruesome scenes in the film.

One thing to be aware of is that Botched mostly takes place in one locale – the abandoned 13th floor of a high rise. So if you’re looking for something with a bit more scope, I suggest you look elsewhere. However, first-time director Kit Ryan does a fantastic job of utilizing the drab hallways and dark rooms to his advantage. Though the film is considered low-budget, it still looks fantastic and almost as good as a large-scale studio production. The limited setting really worked for the particular story, and I don’t feel it hampered the film at all.

Botched is an exuberant movie that’s every bit as funny as it is gory. If you are looking for a fun horror film with a madcap edge, Botched is it! Check it out today!

Available from Amazon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review: All Kinds of Things Kill by Robert R. Best

With his anthology, All Kinds of Things Kill, Robert R. Best has crafted nine nefarious tales that’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end!! Remember the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stein that we all devoured as kids? The ones you used to read late at night while buried under the safety of sheets and blankets? All Kinds of Things Kill is like Goosebumps for grownups…and you’ll definitely be diving under your blankets after reading the spooky stories in this book!

The anthology is broken down into nine different stories, starting with “The Hooker” that features a serial killer that’s surprised by a prostitute that’s much more than she seems. The other stories include “The Wife’s Confession,” “Nipping it in the Bud,” “Charity and the Vampire,” “The Family Tree,” “Everything That’s Damaged,” “Get Together,” “All Kinds of Things Kill,” and “Boil Order.” The short stories feature witches, evil plants, vampires, werewolves, mad science, murderous spouses and some truly tainted water, and they are all dark tales with plenty of bleak twists.

Robert R. Best’s straightforward writing draws you quickly into each macabre story and his characters have plenty of personality. Each one is well-developed and acts just like your next door neighbor would…if your neighbor kept rabid plants in his basement and buried bodies in his backyard under a blood-red moon!

My favorite stories included “Nipping it in the Bud,” about a father who keeps killer plants in his basement, “The Family Tree,” about an old and evil tree that devours souls and the slightly sci-fi, Cronenberg-esque body horror tale that is “Everything That’s Damaged.” All of the stories are a delight to read, though, and you just can’t go wrong with any of them!

Perfect for a quick and entertaining summer read, All Kinds of Things Kill is a thrilling anthology that shouldn’t go overlooked. Just be warned…you’ll probably be tempted to read it under cover of night beneath the covers with only a flashlight…at least for nostalgia’s sake!

Available from Amazon!

Gory Gear: Beserk Clothing

Sassy, sexy and GORE-geous are just a few words to describe the Beserk Clothing line out of Australia! Beserk’s stunning designs are eye-catchingly bright adorned with skulls, red crosses, sprites, ravens, angels, trees, hearts and several eerie horror scenes!

Owner and Designer Fleur Brazier says she is “Heavily inspired by the streets of Japan, blood, cherry blossoms, maneki neko, nightmares, fetish and kisses.” Adding to that, Beserk is also has a cyberpunk and goth feel that will tickle many a horror-lovin’ girl’s fancy! Yet, amidst all the fantastically dark women’s fashions, there are a few options for the men as well, though this line is mostly geared as devilish delight for the ladies.

We were sent two tees, one inspired by the classic film Nosferatu and the other reminiscent of the infamous pole death in Cannibal Holocaust. The first thing that was noticeable was the high quality fabric the designs were printed on. The tees were thick and plush, made with 100% cotton and were probably the highest quality tees I’ve seen in quite some time. The designs themselves were gorgeous! They were bright and bold in red and white printed on black tees. The designs were simple, but really popped! The Beserk label slashed through in a deep blood red, but never once did it overpower the main designs.

The rest of the designs that adorn Beserk’s clothing are all equally attention-grabbing. The bold red, white and black color scheme is present throughout all the creations, from skirts, halters, shorts, dresses and tees. So varied are the designs and products that Beserk Clothing could be your one-stop-shop for all your goth-geisha fashions!

Besides t-shirts, Beserk Clothing carries Evil Princess Skirts, Combat Mini Shorts, Strangle Halter Tops, Assassin Pleated Mini Skirts, Beserk Army Dresses, Geisha Gangster Tops and unique accessory items. Not only are all the designs entirely unique and eye-catching, but all their clothes are also made sweatshop-free in their home country of Australia!

Whether you’re out for a night on the town or just hanging out with friends, you’ll turn heads and break hearts with Beserk’s killer clothing!

Check them out at!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Night of the Demons 2 (1994)

Everyone knows that for a good time you should call Angela, because she puts on a killer party! This time around, a bunch of horny Catholic school students decide to crash her long-abandoned pad on Halloween night.

After one too many bumps in the night, the group (or what’s left of them) hightails it out of the house and back the tame Catholic school Halloween dance…but things don’t stay tame for long! It seems that they’ve brought Angela (Amelia Kinkade) back with them and soon all hell (literally) breaks loose! Can the kids, with the help of Sister Gloria (Jennifer Rhodes) and Father Bob (Rod McCary), banish Angela back to hell?

A perfect follow-up to the original, Night of the Demons 2 is chock full of TG and A – tits, gore and ass!!

The story is surprisingly well done, with lots of humor, gore and nudity to round out the party vibe of this movie. The characters are all nicely developed as well, even the ones that exist only as demon-fodder. The characters are anything but your cookie-cutter horror movie stereotypes (with the few exceptions of the slut, the jock, etc.) and are usually quirky and well-developed. I loved the character of Sister Gloria, especially the scene where she gets ready to fight Angela – rosary nun chucks – check, holy water balloons – check, yard stick – check!

The acting is wayyyy above average, with great performances across the board by the entire cast! A few familiar faces pop up here and there (Christine Taylor!), but all the actors are equally awesome when it comes to their performances.

Now let’s talk about what we’re really here for…the gore! The gore here is nice and juicy, just like in its predecessor, Night of the Demons. There are numerous bloody decapitations, stabbings and demons melting into chunky puddles of grue. There’s even one scene where a possessed girl’s boobs attack a guy, which you’d think would be every guy’s fantasy…but after you see this scene you’ll think otherwise!! She’s a real man-eater!

All in all, Night of the Demons 2 is an excellent sequel that’s the perfect mix of fun and gore to watch with friends on a balmy summer night.

Available on Amazon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Organizm (2008)

The first time I tried to watch Organizm (aka Living Hell) I had to switch it off at less than the 10 minute mark because it was already exceedingly dull. A few days later, I made myself try to watch it again…and was pleasantly surprised to find that though it isn’t a good film, it is a not-so-terrible time-waster when you’ve got an hour and a half to kill.

On a remote army base that is set to be demolished, a hidden room is found containing a dangerous biological experiment from 1959. Driven by childhood memories of his mother warning him of the danger of what’s hidden on the base, Frank Sears (Johnathan Schaech) sets out to warn the U.S. Military before it’s too late…but nonetheless they inadvertently release a lethal organism with a shockingly fast growth rate. As it grows, devouring people, buildings and anything else in its path, Frank and hazmat specialist Carrie Freeborn (Erica Leerhsen) must find a way to destroy it before it covers the entire planet.

I wasn’t expecting much out of a movie that premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel, but Organizm (a much better name than the misleading “Living Hell” moniker) is a brainlessly fun movie that forces you to abandon logic and just enjoy the (bumpy) ride.

The film’s saving grace is the quick pace that keeps you interested despite its many plot holes. The organism spreads so fast that there is only time for the characters to react and spring into action. While the script is littered with plot inconsistencies and things occur a bit too coincidentally for my tastes, the relatively quick clip of the film thankfully doesn’t leave much time to dwell on such annoyances.

Also, despite the low budget, B-movie feel of the film, the cast is surprisingly solid, especially the two leads. First off, Johnathon Schaech is wonderful as the mysterious yet deeply scarred (physically as well as emotionally) Frank Sears. His growth as a character, from meek schoolteacher to desperate gate-crasher to blood-drenched hero, is a pleasure to watch! Erica Leerhsen also does a fantastic job as Carrie Freeborn, though I think her character could have been portrayed stronger.

On the bad side, some of the CGI work is absolutely atrocious, especially when practical effects should have been employed! Gun shot wounds should not be CGI’d! The organism itself, which looked like roots or gray plant tendrils, looked pretty good for the most part, but there are some instances where its roots and tendrils (especially when they were winding themselves around people’s bodies) looked pretty fake.

And, again, the script (written by Richard Jefferies, who also directed) was pretty awful, with no new twists attempted. The “military unleashes one of their unspeakable experiments and thinks it can solve the problem by blowing everything up to kingdom come” angle is pretty tired and cliché, even for a Sci-Fi Channel flick. I do wish something new had been attempted in the writing department, with a more polished final product.

Organizm isn’t a horrible movie, but it isn’t that great either. Still, you could do a lot worse. If you’re looking for a rental and all that’s left on the shelves are copies of Organizm or Kracker Jack’d I’d definitely go with Organizm for some mild (but not overly painful) entertainment.

Available on Amazon!

Book Review: Through a Glass, Darkly by Bill Hussey

A new master of horror reveals himself with Through A Glass, Darkly as author Bill Hussey weaves a complex, darkly atmospheric story to give you chills on even the hottest summer day.

Detective Jack Trent has been having nightmares. Nightmares where a little boy he knows is horribly tortured and killed by some unspeakable evil. Trent knows that these visions aren’t only dreams, but premonitions of what is to come. When he suffered a traumatizing experience as a child, he received these special “gifts” of premonition, along with being able to see deep into people’s pasts and futures through touch. Trent has spent his entire life trying to keep his “gifts” under lock and key, but circumstances have arisen where he must use his gifts to protect those dear to him.

There have been mysterious kidnappings and brutal slayings of children, crimes that lead Jack Trent and his partner Dawn Howard to Crow Haven, an eerie and superstitious backwoods town. Crow Haven, like Jack Trent, has a deeply troubling past and many sins it is still paying for. A darkness that has plagued the town for centuries has returned…in the form of a creature that calls itself Dr. Mendicant. The Doctor intends to perform an ancient ritual to prolong his evil…the same terrifying ritual that Trent has seen in his dreams…

Can Jack Trent stop the Doctor and save the boy from his nightmares before it is too late? Can the centuries old evil that resides in Crow Haven be vanquished once and for all?

With Through A Glass, Darkly, Bill Hussey has created an intensely engaging and deeply disturbing book. It is so well-written that it’s hard to believe this is Hussey’s first novel. The words just seem to roll off the page pulling you deeper and deeper into the story, while the imagery is wickedly painted and the characters are all highly developed.

The approach Hussey takes is very “old school” horror, reminiscent of old black and white movies that featured creeping fog, stark trees, ancient rituals and truly evil villains. Yet, though the novel is steeped in classic horror, it has a very modern feel. The characters are varied and each of them is believable. Hussey does a great job at creating the tormented Trent and the back story of his “special powers” is indeed intriguing and adds that little something extra to an already solid story. The book is also peppered with other substantial characters, including Trent’s partner Dawn Howard, her endangered child Jamie, the wise Father Brody, suspected murderer Simon Malahyde, and the queer, withdrawn townsfolk of Crow’s Haven. Each of the characters is multi-layered, no matter how small their role in the book. The evil Doctor Mendicant is also one of the most frightening horror villains I’ve read of late…his raggedy “Crowman” appearances as well as his later transformations are downright unsettling!

The dark visuals are another place where the novel excels. Hussey’s descriptions of Crow Haven, as well as the surrounding Redgrave Forest, are bone-chilling. There is also shocking, cringe-worthy gore that soaks many passages in blood and bone. Probably the most shocking aspect of the gore is that young children bear the brunt of it. With bones snapping, brains being bashed in, baby fat being drained and other horrors perpetrated by the villain(s), it’s hard to stomach that most of it happens to young children, but it’s the horrifying torture and murders that are part of what make the novel so memorable!

Through A Glass, Darkly is a richly dark novel that proves that author Bill Hussey is one of the great new voices in horror fiction. Remember his name because I’m sure you’ll be hearing it a lot after this breakout book.

Available on Amazon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gory Gear: Level 27 Clothing

If you like a slice of the darker side of life, like wandering cemeteries under a full moon, cozying up with some old black and white horror classics like Bride of Frankenstein or Dracula and counting the days until Halloween, then you will revel in the creepy clothing creations of Level 27!

Started by best friends Steve Sievers and Billy Martin (of band Good Charlotte fame), Level 27 Clothing boasts playfully dark designs, most of which are designed by Martin himself. Bats, zombies, blood splatter and monsters adorn their exuberantly macabre tees and hoodies.

Ghouls and boils will love their colorful designs that just scream “FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR!” They were kind enough to send us several of their designs for review, and now we present these to you, dear readers!

First up we have two of Level 27’s zombie tees. The first is called “Lone Zombie” and appropriately features one green-tinged, moldy-looking zombie shambling across the blood-splattered front of a black shirt, a bold Level 27 logo in the background. This tee will have you looking slick for the impending zombie apocalypse…

The zombie love continues with Level 27’s “Walking Zombies” tee. Printed on a black t-shirt, two zombies jerkily drag themselves along the right-hand bottom hem. The bright-blood red, gothic Level 27 logo stands guard over the right breast, seemingly protecting the wearer from attack…or perhaps encouraging it!

To complete the zombie homage, Level 27 also makes a “Zombie Head” belt buckle that is grotesquely endearing and will complete the horror fiend look. The belt buckle is hefty enough to kill a few zombies if you hit ‘em in the head with it! You can save money by buying the “Zombie Head” belt buckle along with the “Lone Zombie” t-shirt in one of Level 27′s bundles! It’s a killer deal!

Level 27 also makes spooktacular clothing for scream queens. Their limited edition “Creature Feature” tee comes in many different colors in women’s sizes (as well as men’s!). It showcases a collage of the classic horror monsters, including Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Bride of Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Wolfman and the Invisible Man.

Women will also go batty for Level 27’s “Bats with Bows” hoodie. This snug hoodie comes in black and features two creepy-n-cute bats gracing either side. The purple accents around them really make the boo-tiful bats stand out. Horror queens won’t be able to resist the lure of this hellacious hoodie! It’s the perfect thing to wear for a moonlit midnight walk through the old cemetery!

For fun-in-the-sun (or gloom), horror-lovin’ women can’t go wrong with Level 27’s “Blood Monsters” tank top. Designed exclusively for Level 27 by extraordinary artist Alex Pardee (, the tank looks blood-stained and soaked in gore, with two dismembered monsters staring out from beneath all the grue. The tank top runs extra long, so it’s perfect to throw over your bikini for a gruesomely cute cover up.

All of Level 27’s clothing is printed on high-quality American Apparel shirts and are 100% cotton. They are constantly bringing in new, horror-inspired designs, so keep your eyes peeled on their website ( and their Myspace ( for new gory gear!!

Level 27 Clothing makes clothes for those of us that are unique, who love the dark side of life, who love classic horror movies, who cherish Halloween and want to make it everyday, who enjoy leisurely strolls through graveyards, who have pondered what they would do if a zombie apocalypse should happen…for those of us that consider ourselves “Children of the Night,” Level 27 Clothing will always be there for us, in the dark, waiting…

So what are YOU waiting for? Feel Level 27’s dark embrace and outfit yourself in some of their ooky-spooky, gory gear!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bane (2008)

Four women awake in a drab holding cell, with nothing but wire and opaque paper walls separating them from masked nurses dressed all in white that scurry outside. They remember nothing of their past lives, not even their names, which is why their handy medical bracelets come in handy. The women discover their names are Katherine (the levelheaded one), Natasha (the tough one), Jane (the mousy one) and Elaine (the weepy one). None of them know how or why they are there and when they meet Dr. Murdoch and his partner (known only as the “Handsome Man”), neither shed any light on the situation.

The women are soon visited by a nightly intruder, known only as the Surgeon, who carves numbers into their skin while they sleep. Pretty soon the women figure out that the numbers signify what time they are scheduled to die…

What kind of sick experiments is Dr. Murdoch subjecting them to? What is their purpose? And can they survive long enough to get answers to these questions?

Amber Pictures wowed me before with their fun vamp flick The Witches Hammer and have returned with other solid, yet very different, film. Bane has a much more sci-fi feel than The Witches Hammer. It begins as a psychological horror film about four women stuck in a room (think Saw, Cube, etc.) but surprises with its sci-fi back story and plentiful gore.

The set design is rather impressive, with the medical facility where the women are being held feeling very claustrophobic and disorienting. When an escape is attempted, the escapee wanders the twisting and turning halls, with the small spaces make you feel constrained and hopeless. Kudos should be given to director James Eaves (who also wrote the script) for crafting such an effectively “imprisoned” feeling with the film’s visuals. Most of the film takes place within the holding cell where the women are kept (probably due to the small budget), but even though it is a small space, it works extremely well.

The acting is also top-notch, with all of the women giving stellar performances. Sophia Dawnay (Katherine), Tina Barnes (Natasha), Lisa Devlin (Jane) and Sylvia Robson (Elaine) all did a tremendous job. Each and every one of them was believable, without any of the over or under-acting usually found in low-budget films. Daniel Jordan (Dr. Murdoch) and Jonathan Sidgwick (the “Handsome Man”) were perfectly sadistic and sympathetic as the scientists behind the experiment.

The special effects were very impressive for a film with a small budget! The Surgeon paints the walls red with blood and the deaths are all very realistic and extremely gory! There are only four girls, though, so you can imagine that, unfortunately, the body count isn’t that high.

The story, written by James Eaves, is the one point of the film that runs into a bit of trouble. The explanation we are given for the experiment is adequate at first, but when you start thinking about it, it is never specified why four girls were needed or even why all their memories needed to be erased. The build-up is also too slow, with the Surgeon not showing up until at least 45 minutes to an hour into the film. If the women’s memories were erased, there wasn’t much characterization that could happen in this span of time, right? So the film starts off dragging, and when the killings start it feels like its suddenly switched gears and hopped genres to a bloody slasher flick. From there it jumps yet again to sci-fi territory (you’ll have to watch it and see how, but I’ll tell you that extraterrestrials are involved), which leaves the viewer a bit befuddled.

Still, despite the problems with plot and consistency, Bane is a solid effort by Amber Pictures. Bane blends psychological horrors, slasher sensibilities and a sci-fi story to make an entertaining (though uneven) film.

Available from Amazon!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Colin (2008)

Hailing from Britain, Colin is a touching, yet no less visceral, one-of-a-kind zombie film that turns the tables on the audience by presenting the film from a zombie’s point of view. The debut film from Nowhere Fast Productions and filmmaker Marc Price, Colin reinvigorates the zombie subgenre with its unique, bloody and meaningful story.

The zombie in question is the title character of Colin (Alastair Kirton), who becomes a zombie after being attacked in an apartment kitchen. Once his violent transformation is complete, he attempts to open the door to get out…but his stiff hands can’t work the handle. Night passes into day and he is still trying to get through the door. He finally gets out when he becomes enraged and accidentally trips and falls through a window (this little bit of humor works marvelously in the film, and there are sprinklings of subtle humor throughout the rest of the film). Once outside, Colin shambles around a city that looks post-apocalyptic. Smoke rises in the distance, gun-fire crackles at random, stray newspapers and dead bodies litter the streets and screams are heard regularly. Even when Colin runs into his family, who is still trying to stay alive and is overjoyed with finding him, the reunion is bittersweet. Colin shows no recollection of who they are and is only interested in their flesh. As the world comes crashing down around Colin, all he can do is continue to shamble onwards towards some vaguely familiar, unforeseen goal.

Colin is a stark, beautiful film that packs ample depth and emotion into its zombie storyline. Besides the storyline about Colin’s family, which is heartbreaking in itself, there is also a subplot that flashes back to when the outbreak first occurred and shows how Colin really became infected and what became of his girlfriend. This segment is shown towards the end of the film and nearly had me bawling at its emotional scenes.

Besides the emotional punch, the film also packs a visceral one. The gore here is ample and messy – oozing wounds, chomped off ears, a feast of fresh intestines, blown apart zombies – Colin certainly doesn’t disappoint in the grue department! Even the zombies are impressive and full of character! Each one seems to tell a story as they are all costumed differently and have different wounds. The makeup effects, done by Michelle Webb, were also well done. As Colin decomposes, his face clearly shows the decay. There are also nifty things done with someone’s face that gets partially blown off. All the effects look very believable, realistic and utterly fantastic, which is impressive considering the low budget of the film.

The film’s direction and cinematography are equally impressive. There are some truly memorable shots, including some time-lapse photography showing skyscrapers framed against a deep blue sky, completely empty streets of London and a spectacularly shot scene showing zombie-Colin being transported with a burlap sack on his head – but the scene is shot from under the sack, giving us a view of Colin’s reactions. There are also two explosive, action-filled scenes. One involves zombies surging through a home (and the survivors trying to fight them off) and another involves an epic street battle between zombies and humans. On the down side, the film makes ample use of the “shaky cam” technique. The good news is that it works very well 80% of the time, but the bad news is that it wears out its welcome towards the end of the film.

That, my fellow fiends, is about the only complaint I have of this fantastic indie film. There is little dialogue throughout the film, but if you think watching a zombie shamble around could get a bit boring, think again! Writer/director/producer/editor Marc Price wisely injects plenty of action into the film, including scenes of survivors duking it out with hordes of the undead! Despite the fact that Colin is a flesh-eating ghoul, you’ll find yourself rooting for him rather than any survivors. I really grew attached to him (Alastair Kirton puts on an amazing performance, which helps you sympathize with his character), especially after the ear-eating scene where he takes a victim’s Walkman to listen to! These zombies are stumbling around, but it is like they are searching for bits and pieces of the human lives they lost. Colin is especially infused with remnants of his humanity and his journey is heart-wrenching to watch.

I think I can safely admit that Colin is the only zombie movie ever to bring me to tears with its moving storyline. It’s not mushy (unless you count the gore), but Colin will definitely have you counting your blessings and being thankful for the loved ones around you. This low-budget film has reinvented the subgenre and shows that humans, not zombies, are the real danger.

Colin is truly one of the best indie films so far this year and I urge you to check it out should you be lucky enough to track it down.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Interview with Macabre Musician Spookhaus

Fatally Yours got chance to chit-chat with musician, composer and all-around spookmeister Spookhaus! His varied musical compositions invoke nightmarish landscapes and lurid fantasies. We’ve wormed our way into his rotten core to see what makes Spookhaus write such deliciously dark melodies.

Fatally Yours: How long have you been playing/writing music?

Spookhaus: I’ve been playing and writing music for bout 21 years.

I started playing Bass in a band at about 20 without knowing much about playing music, let alone playing in a band. I had to learn real quick because the band had a bunch of gigs lined up.

I learned how to play music under pressure.

My bass playing led to songwriting. I was naturally artistically creative, so creating bass lines and song structures was easy.

My songwriting led me to the desire to explore playing other instruments: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, mandolin, theremin, drums and of course exploring the art of recording which is widely practiced at The SpookhauS Laboratory.

Fatally Yours: What software/hardware do you use to create your malicious melodies?

Spookhaus: I use old ADDATS on some stuff and I run ProTools and Nuendo on a massive gig hard drive. I still like the warmth of the old ADDATS because the digital information goes to tape.

I have a whole list of gear and gizmos that I keep in The SpookhauS Laboratory, check out my myspace page- for details.

Fatally Yours: What interested you about creating music for horror films?

Spookhaus: It all started when I was a small child. I lived in San Antonio Texas and there was a Creature Feature Show that played old Black and White Horror on TV in the afternoons.

My first taste of horror was Ghost of Frankenstein (Universal 1942).

Soon after I became obsessed with Monsters and Horror. I collected Famous Monsters of Filmland and all of the Horror Movie ‘zines.

I drew Monsters, created Monster plays and had a spookhouse in my parents garage in the summer, attracting hundreds of kids from around town.

In my late 20s, I began an obsessive collection of Horror vids and was buying them second hand for cheap.

I was watching hundreds a month, absorbing the soundtracks and actually taping some of my favorite musical/visual moments on a separate tape for reference.

The soundtracks leaked into my compositions and slowly took over my songwriting. I was compelled to write dark music.

Fatally Yours: Which horror movie director would like most like to work with?

Spookhaus: Argento would understand a lot of my musical concepts. So would Fulci.

Fatally Yours: Is there a particular genre type of horror you most enjoy scoring? Zombie, Supernatural, Slasher, etc.?

Spookhaus: I love all aspects of the Horror Genre. There isn’t a movie in this genre that I wouldn’t score. I support Horror in its many forms.

Fatally Yours: Are you open to doing other types of movies? Action, Drama, Comedy, etc.?

Spookhaus: Absolutely…..NOT!! I dislike most other types of movies and my headspace is not in to those types…my headspace is floating in Darkness and Atmosphere. I am Deadicated to Darkness. After all, I am “The Artist of Darkness”

Fatally Yours: Were there any particular scenes from the movies you’ve done that were fairly difficult to score?

Spookhaus: It’s never easy to score any scene. I mean, there are many ways to interpret a scene musicaly. Sometimes silence is best…

Fatally Yours: What do you think is the most memorable horror movie theme?

Spookhaus: It’s a toss up between the creepy simplicity of Carpenter’s Halloween theme and the complicated dramatic classic that is Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho theme.

Fatally Yours: Are there any horror movies that utilized little to no music that you thought were good?

Spookhaus: The Blair Witch Project comes immediately to mind. But Blair Witch didn’t have anything; no special fx, no gore, no lighting or camera work, or cool sets or witches…shit, everyone at the theatre that I seen it at were sayin’ “when we gonna see the witch??”

But the movie was scary without all the extra stuff to make it “scarier”

Fatally Yours: And also do you find that a break in the music or an extended period of silence can help to build suspense and tension in a film?

Spookhaus: I am not a believer in soundtrack overkill. I mentioned silence earlier as one of the scariest sounds in a horror movie.

If a director wants me to score his movie and wants me create a lot of silence in it, then I respect his decision. Hey…and less work I gotta do!!

Fatally Yours: If you could work with any film composer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Spookhaus: Ennio Morricone. The man is a genius, an innovator that’s willing to explore and experiment with music and sound. We would create some Fascinating Monsters in The Spookhaus Laboratory, no doubt!

Fatally Yours: What is your favorite type of music to listen to outside of film scores and soundtracks?

Spookhaus: I listen to prog metal, industrial bands like Opeth, early Metallica, NIN, Rob Zombie.
Psychedelic, atmospheric stuff like Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michele Jaree.

I dig Johnny Cash, Prince, Beck, James Brown, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Jim Morrison and The Doors.

I dislike new country and most popular music.

Fatally Yours: Thanks for your time, Spookhaus! You can check Spookhaus out on his Myspace,

Monday, June 2, 2008

Book Review: Deep Inside by Polly Frost

I’ve never been a big fan of written erotica, looking at it as too tacky, sleazy and repetitive for my tastes. Horror-themed romance novels were the absolute worst, usually featuring one-dimensional males with rippling muscles and flowing tresses and maidens in distress that needed saving (and sometimes a good spanking). And why do they always seem to feature seductive vampires in the lead roles, intent on sucking more than just blood?

So, I stayed clear of the whole “horror erotica” genre, until I received Polly Frost’s Deep Inside in the mail. Great, I thought, now I have to give it a go! Yet reading Deep Inside, something was awakened deep inside me that had me begging on my knees for more after each short story. Frost has crafted ten tantalizing tales that each feature strong, well-drawn characters, kinky situations that will pique anyone’s interests and satisfying supernatural twists that give her stories a very unique outcome.

As mentioned, Deep Inside features ten separate short stories that explore the twisted and horrific side of sex, with plenty of bizarre yet enticing situations to tease readers with. Frost injects her stories with dark sensuality and black humor. One particular example would be a dominatrix who is slowly losing control of her life and career. Frost’s dialogue is sharp and witty one moment, then down and dirty the next. She covers everything from tentacle porn to voodoo dildos to erotic asphyxiation with aplomb.

My personal favorite stories included “The Pleasure Invaders,” about a tentacled alien race that turns out to be the ultimate in ecstasy, “Viagra Babies,” about sexually superpowered humans who were created by a generation of Viagra abusers, “Visions of Ecstasy,” about a psychic that can see other’s sexual futures but not her own, and “Deep Inside,” about dildos infused with magic to make them feel like the real thing…but with chaotic consequences.

Frost’s writing is deliciously naughty, an indulgent experience that will push you to the brink but keep you satisfied with a commanding writing style. Frost avoids clichés and stereotypes – there are no “throbbing members” or other repetitious language in her novel, only highly original, unique and kinky vignettes that share their pages with engagingly horrifying story lines.

If you are looking for a series of short stories that blend horror and erotica, Polly Frost’s Deep Inside is your one-stop shop for x-rated Twilight Zone-type stories.

Available from Amazon!

Quench (2007)

Brimming with angst and a heavy, somber tone, Quench tells the tale of Derik (Bo Barrett), who hitchhikes to Indiana after an unspecified tragedy in his life to see his best friend Jason (Ben Schmitt). Though he hasn’t spoken to his friend in three years, Derik is expecting some sort of comfort and deep understanding from Jason. Problem is, Jason is a changed man, both in the way he dresses and the way he acts. He belongs to a close-knit group called “the family” that he excludes Derik from and doesn’t have time to spend with his old friend. Derik eventually comes to the conclusion that Jason is hiding something from him. After puttering around Jason and his girlfriend Veronica’s (Samantha Eileen DeTurk) house for a few weeks, Derik finally becomes fed up and leaves…but he runs into one of Jason and Veronica’s friends, Gina (Mia Moretti) who’s just as lonely and lost as he is. She convinces him to join their “family,” but Derik has his own secrets to hide.

Quench has a lot going for it and just as many things against it, but I must warn readers that this isn’t a straightforward horror movie. It’s more of a slow-burning character study of a man who has lost everything…but has much more to lose. Though it does feature some nudity and blood, most mainstream horror fans will be turned off by the slow, brooding pace of this low-budget flick.

The production values themselves are stunning, especially with such a low budget (reportedly in the $40,000 range). Shot in the Midwest in the autumn, the color palate is full of rich reds, bright oranges, deep blues and bleached yellows. The direction, by Zack Parker, is impressive considering this is only his second low-budget film. The shots are tight, crisp and straightforward with no annoying amateur “shake.” As a director, Parker looks like he will go far…I just wish he had better material to work with.

See, the actual story aspect of the film, co-written by Parker and Brandon Owens, is a little weak. I understand the concept of a man returning to seek acceptance and comfort from an old friend, but people change and the most annoying part was watching the sullen Derik stubbornly refuse the fact that Jason wasn’t the same person he used to know. Who would masochistically stick around while their former best friend ditches them time and time again, even though they are staying as a guest at his house? Also, the “family” aspect of the film seemed pretty stereotypical and trite. Is anyone really shocked by people that drink their own blood anymore? I mean, really? The whole stereotypical “goth” crowd that made up the “family” was also mundane and tired. Does that mean that anyone who dresses in black and wears heavy eyeliner is a sanguinarian? I think not…

The story builds slowly (a bit too slowly) and doesn’t cover a lot besides Derik moping around, looking dejected. It’s not until the last few scenes where a curveball is thrown, but by then it’s a little too late. The story failed to carry much tension or suspense, reveling in its high school dramatics more than anything else, which is a pity considering the high-caliber direction and acting.

Yes, the acting was surprisingly decent for a low-budget flick. While I found the character of Derik to be annoying and unlikable (now that I think about it, most of the characters were unlikable), Bo Barrett did a commendable job playing the sad character. Other characters, including Ben Schmitt as Jason, did a decent job as well, while others, like Samantha Eileen DeTurk as Veronica, were a bit wooden. The absolute stand-out of the cast was Mia Moretti as Gina. She did an excellent job of playing cute and seductive yet horribly lonely.

Quench is definitely not a film for everyone in the horror crowd. It’s slow pace and un-horrifyingly story will turn many off, but it may be worth watching for Zack Parker’s impressive direction and overall good performances. While it bills itself as a “gothic tragedy,” it carries none of the traditionally gothic atmosphere…just a bunch of actors dressed in fetish and bondage clothes.

Proceed with caution with this one…Quench won’t satisfy your thirst for horror unless you are looking for a downbeat, somber drama.
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