June 25, 2011

Review - The Collective Vol 1: The Meat Eater

The Collective: Vol 1 The Meat Eater (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

The two previous releases from Illinois based JABB Pictures were Spike and Polly, both impressed and resulted in my being eager to see what they would come up with next. However, being eager and actually getting around to doing something don’t always come hand in hand, so it is to my shame that I have taken so long to actually get around to reviewing The Collective.

With The Collective, JABB Pictures have come up with a cracking idea and one that works incredibly well. Ten filmmakers were given one synopsis, or a central idea if you will, which is The Meat Eater and then sauntered off and made their films. The end result being a collection of unique movies which, on the whole, really impressed me. The filmmakers included here are JABB Pictures, Jason Hoover, Quattro Venti Scott Productions, The Cult of Moi and Vous Films, Darkrider Studios, Over Analyzed Productions, Graphik13 Films, Liberty or Death Productions, So-So Pix and 13 Year Old Dakota Meyer.

I really wouldn’t want to spoil too much in terms of the plots of each individual short as I feel that would take away from the enjoyment of seeing what the filmmakers came up with. Needless to say there is a real variety here. Some are more light-hearted than others, pretty much all of them have a good showing of claret and one in particular is pitch-black, yes I am looking at you Mr. Hoover!

What really shines here though is the diversity and passion that has obviously gone into the creation of these short films. The fact that they are all together on one disc is a bonus. One of my personal gripes with short movies, or their releases should I say, is that you pop the disc in and 10/20 minutes later you are done, you have to get up off your ass and change the disc. Collecting them together like this is a great idea as you get the best part of 2 hours entertainment in one shot. I wish more short films would get released in this manner.

My personal favorite on The Collective, and no disrespect to the other filmmakers here as there wasn’t one that I didn’t enjoy, was So-So Pix quite superb Snow Angel. Director Shannon Feaster manages to encapsulate atmosphere, tension and some black humor into a movie that is one static shot (aside from the intro). I wasn’t sure where it was going but it worked so well. We also get to see Shannon exercise his acting chops elsewhere on The Collective.

The Collective just goes to show the versatility and talent that is out there. If I am not mistaken I believe that at least one of the short movies contained herein is presently being worked into a feature length movie and The Collective Vol 2 will be heading our way in the not-so-distant future. If Vol 1 is anything to go by I would suggest you get excited right about now.

The Collective is an excellent release that I wholeheartedly recommend to fans of quality independent cinema.

Find out more about JABB Pictures at their Official Site - www.JabbPictures.com

The Hills Are Alive!

Wes Craven used to make damned fine horror flicks, and on September 6th you can grab one of his best on Blu-ray. Yep, The Hills Have Eyes is going all HD on us. A lot of the younger horror fans out there seem to prefer Aja's remake, probably the ADHD kicking in, and whilst it is a very good flick I still prefer Craven's original. That's by the by though. No word on the extra's for this release yet.

June 24, 2011

Before The Mask: The Return Of Leslie Vernon....

Now this is shit I can get behind. A sequel to one of the best horror flicks of recent years? It could happen, so head over to their Facebook page to see what you can do to get this movie up and running.

HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN SCORNED. With the possible exception of a woman you tried to decapitate...

Taylor Gentry has a score to settle, and she's not about to let a little thing like Leslie Vernon's disappearing without a trace slow her down. And so, in the immediate aftermath of the Harvest Moon killings, the hunter becomes the hunted. But even as Taylor doggedly pursues her tormentor, she slowly uncovers the deeper, darker secrets of his past, and what truly drives Leslie Vernon in his quest to be the best of all psycho-slasher killers. Mind-bending revelations of family history, sibling rivalry, and even the terrifying prospect that he may not be acting alone... as evidenced by a tattered photo of a young Leslie with a paternal twin... all drive Taylor to the very edge of madness, until she's caught once again in a frenetic race to stop Leslie's second coming and save her own soul in the process! With a slasher film first- death by rabid, stampeding rhinoceros, THIS is the horror sequel you WILL. NOT. BE. ...seeing. Come on, now. You didn't think Leslie Vernon would let his story get out before he wanted it to, did you?

Bereavement - At Last!

Ok, I am Johnny-come-slowly on this one, but it is great news so fuck it, I am going to post it. Yep, it looks like Anchor Bay will be releasing Stevan Mena's Bereavement on August 30th. Personally I can't wait to see this. It's the prequel to his 2004 flick Malevolence, which was damned good.

In 1989, six year old Martin Bristoll was kidnapped from his backyard swing in Minersville Pennsylvania. Graham Sutter, a psychotic recluse, kept Martin imprisoned on his derelict pig farm, forcing him to witness and participate in unspeakable horrors. Chosen at random, his victim's screams were drowned out by the rural countryside. For five years, Martin's whereabouts have remained a mystery, until 17 year old Allison Miller (Alexandra Daddario) comes to live with her Uncle, Jonathan (Michael Biehn). While exploring her new surroundings, Allison discovers things aren't quite right at the farmhouse down the road. Her curiosity disturbs a hornet's nest of evil and despair that once torn open, can never be closed.

You can pre-order it here. You can also picked up a used copy of the first movie for 1 cent!

Dimension Extreme Lives!?

Anyone out there remember the Dimension Extreme imprint of a few years back? They release the gems that are Inside (A L'interieur), Black Sheep and Eden Lake, amongst others, as well as the turds Pulse 2 and 3 and The Wizard of Gore redux. You do? Well they are back and it seems they have contracted a severe case of sequelitus.

Heading our way on August 30th is Children of the Corn: Genesis, Zombie Diaries 2: World of the Dead streets on October 11th and Hellraiser: Revelations will get here on October 18th. It's not exactly mind-blowing news but it is good to see that they are still with us.

June 20, 2011

Coming Soon - Korean Horror The Cat

From director Byun Seung-Wook The Cat aka The Cats: Two Eyes That See Death is due to hit Korean theaters in July and looks like it could be quite good fun. It does sound very typically Asian in its approach, but with so many good flicks coming out of Korea I am more than willing to give this a shot.

So-yeun is an animal groomer who works in a pet shop. One day, she gets stuck with a Persian cat named Silky when its owner suddenly dies. From then on, So-yeun is constantly haunted by a bobbed hair girl with green cat-like eyes who turns her life turns into turmoil.

June 19, 2011

Horror Just Isn't What It Used To Be

Is it just me or do horror films just not seem the same anymore? Maybe I am just getting old but I don't get the same feeling from watching them. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic filmmakers out there making excellent movies and I still get excited about them. I'm talking about the look and feel of them, and the feeling they elicit from me.

Discovering horror flicks in the 80s, as I did, the only way to see these movies was either on Vhs (or Betamax), laser disc or if I was lucky at the theater. They rarely played on TV, but even if they did it was not the same. Freddy, Jason, Michael and Chucky, amongst many others, were spewing out sequels left, right and center and were plastered over Fangoria (and its spinoff's), movies like Intruder, Demons and Fright Night were kicking about and I lapped them all up. I still get that same feeling from watching these flicks, and earlier flicks from the decades that preceeded them.

Maybe it's the fashions of the day, or not having faces I recognized at the time which added to the tension? Maybe however it is technology in all its guises. From technology within the movies, to the technology used to create and share them. Films looked different, hence they were called Films, as they were generally shot on film. Now we have digital film, video and whatever else. It may sound stupid but films DO look different. Films had artwork on their posters and video sleeves, now we have photos or pictures; digitally constructed and soulless. There are exceptions of course, but in general that is the case. Films had Scores as opposed to Soundtracks. Halloween had Don't Fear The Reaper, although it is Carpenter's score we remember. Even if they did have soundtracks as Demons and Fright Night did, they complimented the film, we weren't getting assaulted by tunes that had no place being in the movie other than to sell CD's.

I still champion new and upcoming films and directors and will continue to do so, alas I know I won't ever get that feeling back, films won't ever look the same again and I will have to just live with it.

New horror flicks used to be an event, you waited with baited breath for their release. Now there are new films released every week, many without any passion displayed in their creation. Even the worst sequels of the 80s were trying to worthy films, now many movies are just seemingly constructed without any respect for the audience they hope to find.

On a slightly different note, but still in the general ballpark, is anyone else growing tired of ultra-real horror? Not necessarily so-called torture porn in its many guises, just horror flicks in general that are all too rooted in the real(ish) world. I want to see the Boogeyman back, so please don't let me down Chromeskull, dumb characters getting what they deserved, boobies and blood, bring back the naive innocence I miss. Anything gory or extreme we have all seen by now, you can't go any further and Savini et al still did it best. CGI gore doesn't work, however hard you try, and as much as I love the Saw films we need to move away from that style of film.

Ultra-violent horror has been around for many years, I just have never known them to be quite this cruel in their attempts to grab our attention. Yes, of course there are good ones out there but we are rapidly approaching overkill. I think that is why, amongst other reasons, that Incidious was so successful. It was just a well crafted and scary film. It wasn't reliant on gore or cruelty to get across its story. Trick R Treat is another fine example of great modern horror.

Of course Horror goes through cycles and part of its movement to towards this ultra-violence was a reaction to what is going on in the world. Enough is enough already though, give me passion and fun for a change. 

There is, and always will be, a place for all breeds of horror films. In moderation. There is always an over-saturation of whatever is hot. Right now it seems to be ultra-real horror, back in the 80s it was the Slasher flick and so on. All good things in moderation though.

Anyway, did I have a point to all this? Probably, it just got lost in my ramblings... Oh yeah, I'm an old bastard harking back to the days of my youth and bitching about modern horror. That about sum it up? Not far short.