Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THE VIDEO DEAD: I think this movie tried to kill me.

In THE VIDEO DEAD everything is dead.  The story starts off promising then dies about ten minutes in without any hope of resuscitation.  The acting was horribly eccentric and forced like bad community actors in a play written and directed by a five year old.  I can't believe all these people were that bad as actors.  They all had to have gone to Bad Acting Classes or something.  Nobody can be that bad and not that many people all at once.  It was more than a handsome old man such as myself could handle.  I don't think the actors were intentionally trying to kill me with their poor acting skills but the director may have with all his awkward close ups capturing every forced unbelievable expression on their generic faces.

All the characters are about as interesting as a box of Post-It notes.  In fact by the end of the movie you will hate them and rejoice in their demise knowing that with every death the movie slugs along closer and closer to its sure to be unimpressive finale.  I was always curious about this film back in the day when I was a kid.  It was one of those VHS covers that always caught my eye but never did I rent it.  Too scary.  Finally after twenty years I watched the damnable thing.  It sucked.  In fact THE VIDEO DEAD sucked so bad I'm pretty sure it took years off my life.  Well it was nice knowing you folks.

THE VIDEO DEAD is not one of the worst movies ever made.  There are worse.  I think the reason why I am so mad at this film is because there is an extremely creative concept that stands as the foundation of this movie.  But that is the only good thing.  Everything built on top of that foundation is pure crapola.  That is one big house made of poop.  At the beginning of the movie this spooky old crate is accidentally delivered to the wrong house.  The guy inside reluctantly accepts the crate, opens it and discovers a television set inside.  He turns it on and can only get one channel that is playing an old black and white zombie movie.  So he turns it off and goes to bed.  But the t.v. doesn't stay off and the zombies in the movie emerge from the t.v. and kill the guy.  So far so good.  Three months pass and a new family moves into the house.  Only the family's two college age kids are there while the parents are out of the country for awhile.  Once I saw that these two bad actors were going to be the main characters I immediately felt the interest that I had for so many years instantly dissolve within my being.  By the way I assume that the zombies were just standing around in a nearby forrest for three months instead of going around killing people until it was convient for the story.  At least that is what the movie implies.

The concept of zombies rising out of a cursed t.v. is so cool.  Its the kind of thing you would see in a 80's Butt-Rock band's video back in the Mtv days when the 'M' stood for 'music' and not 'commercials'.  The concept does give the film one iconic shot of a pretty darn cool looking zombie poking it's head out from the fog spewing t.v. screen.  It is a good shot and sadly the only real time the haunted t.v. is really used.  The rest of the movie is pure blah with nothing making any sense.  The boy is seduced by a "beautiful" woman who comes out of the t.v. and then goes back inside.  Then this old guy shows up behind her and cuts her head off.  The boy actually asks why he did that.  The guy shows that she was just a zombie and introduces himself as the 'garbage man'.  Then after explaining that some zombies have escaped he goes away and does nothing to help.  He never shows up again.  He had no point in this film whatsoever.  In fact another old guy shows up from Texas and he explains how you kill the zombies.  How he knows is anybody's guess.

There are only two ways you can kill a zombie in THE VIDEO DEAD.  Because they think they are alive you can stab them and they will think they are dead and just lay there until they rot.  You can't bury them because apparently that will only make them powerful again.  Makes sense.....?  The other way is to trap them in a confined space where they can't escape and they will go crazy and eat each other to death.  So yeah, this movie is full of dumb ideas.  They are not only dumb though they are annoying making the film unbearable to watch.  These rules prolong the finale where after the boy and old guy are killed leaving the older sister alone she has to treat the zombies like they are alive feeding them and showing them around the house until finally she is able to trap them in the basement.  It was an irritating climax to the film and even after all that they still don't die.

At first I thought the zombies looked kind of cool.  They certainly had a lot of detail to them.  But as the movie dragged on and on with no merciful ending insight I became bored with them.  The movie has no problem showing them in broad daylight with many many close-ups to show how bad some of their make-up really was.  The illusion was easily shattered.  By the end of the film I was more annoyed by them than the horrible living characters of Blandville.  But the zombies just would not die.  The movie just kept going on and on and on.

THE VIDEO DEAD is full of bad ideas that run in all different directions trying to draw the viewer into the story.  There are a few other concepts of dealing with the dead that I didn't even bother talking about because really they didn't help unless needed to for the sake of the story.  There is something about mirrors warding them off but they can just break them using sticks unless they are in a basement filled with all sorts of objects that could break a mirror.  Again nothing makes sense and nothing draws you into the film.  Watch it if you hate yourself but don't be surprised if you feel your life force being sucked from your body through your eyeballs.  It is a natural reaction to THE VIDEO DEAD.  There really should be a warning label on the cover to warn of such things but I think that would have made me want to watch the movie more.  I am stupid that way.  Recommend it to someone you hate, folks.


Friday, October 26, 2012


I just wanted to let everyone know that STAGE FRIGHT is now available for viewing.  It is the story of a young newly wed couple that inherit a spooky old theater that is haunted by ghosts and stuff.  It is expertly directed by Jason Braiser who wrote and directed DRIFTER: BROKEN ROAD.  The talented and lovely Brittney Greer wrote and stars in this dark tale of the macabre.  Here is an interesting factoid.  I helped make this.  I am Co-Producer and I have a small role in the series.  Relax, folks.  I said I had a small role.  I don't even have any lines.  Watch it and if you feel like it give it a shout out on your blog if you have one.  Just watching it helps us out big time.  I hope you enjoy it on some level whether it genuinely creeps you out or makes you laugh out loud.  Click on the links below to watch.  Thanks for your support.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

DREDD: Why didn't any of you go see this film?

DREDD............It was violent.  It was unapologetically rated R.  It was smart so of course that means it bombs big time at the box office.  You know what that means?  Some movie studio big shots are going to say, "R rated action movies are out and PG-13 is back in.  Somebody call Len Wiseman and tell him to direct all the DIE HARDS from now on."  Dang it, people!  This was a movie that needed our support.  It did everything just about right.  DREDD is a unique movie for this day and age.  To me at least it was a special movie going experience.  Oddly enough it was what the movie didn't do that made it so special.

Dredd and a new rookie police trainee are locked inside a large 200 story apartment building which is basically a small city by a highly organized gang run by a woman named Ma-Ma.  With no way out the two ascend to the top floor to take down the gang leader and bring her to justice.  Yea, its kind of similar to THE RAID.  And like THE RAID, DREDD keeps the story and character back grounds simple.  That is very important.  DREDD spends little time explaining who Dredd is.  He is a cop that judges bad guys and that is all you need to know.  We don't have that scene where he is in his crummy apartment waking up from an all night bender getting a call from his partner to get up after being asleep all day.  We don't see him stumble about his broken down kitchen grabbing any left over food he can find including left over pizza that fell on the floor and then putting it in a blender and drinking it like a real man.  We don't see pictures of his dead/divorced wife and his son/daughter who is dead/not-talking-to-him-anymore.  We get none of that stereotype stuff here.  Dredd is left as a mystery.  Only by the actions he takes throughout the film do we know what kind of person he really is.

There is no back story connection between Dredd and the main bad guy, Ma-Ma.  She didn't murder his family back when he was a kid guiding his path of vengeance to join the police force.  She isn't his cloned evil sister.  Ma-Ma knows nothing about Dredd.  She isn't even trying to kill him in the movie.  She wants the guy he arrests dead because of what information he may have regarding Ma-Ma's drug operation. 

The story itself doesn't involve saving the world or anything.  By the end when all is said and done you are left with the realization that what we just saw was just another day on the job for Dredd.  He doesn't take his helmet off smiling and saying something stupid about needing a vacation.  Nope he just goes back to work.  There is a stop the bomb from exploding element at the end but it doesn't involve destroying the whole city like every other comic book movie out there.

Not everyone knows who Dredd is.  He isn't widely feared by the local crime bosses.  No one shivers at the mention of his name.  To them he is just another cop.  But after unloading millions of rounds from two or three mini-guns into a city block just to kill him and he emerges from the burning wreckage just to throw your #2 man off the balcany and then just walks away like its no big deal disappearing into the smoke like a large briefly glimpsed Sasquatch they start getting the idea that they are dealing with some kind of super badass cop.  I like that this movie doesn't need to explain how badass Dredd is.  You see it for yourself.  When a hit squad of corrupt cops show up to kill Dredd they ask Ma-Ma if she knows who she is dealing with.  She says, "No."  Which they reply "We do."  And then the squad demands a pay increase because they know Dredd and what he is capable of.  That is a terrific way to show how badass Dredd is.  They didn't even need to open a folder and read his profile.

While I was watching DREDD I couldn't help but feel like I was watching a movie from the eighties updated with today's technology.  It is hard to put my finger on why.  I think it is because visually the film is more down to earth despite having some large computer generated city buildings and flying ships.  It has a grit to it similar to ROBOCOP.  The violence at times is bloody and over the top while other times it is very simple with BANG-BANG-bad-guy-falls-down type action.  There is a weight to everything.  There isn't a lot of C.G.I. crazy crap flying around all over the place.  Dredd is imposing.  His walk is dominant and straight letting everyone know that this guy doesn't compromise.  The audience is assured that something awesome is going to happen by his presence on the screen.

DREDD isn't perfect.  It did get a little slow at times but I like slow.  I watch films from the seventies.  I found the entire film to be an exciting violent action film that didn't insult my intelligence.  Way to go, DREDD.  Carl Urban deserves an Academy Award for Badassness with this film.  Not once does he take off his helmet.  I assume that is how it is in the comics.  Its nice to see they stick to the comic as much as possible when it comes to the Dredd character.  I guess there just aren't that many DREDD fans out there.  Thanks, Stallone.  I hope everyone supports this film when it comes out on DVD.  I don't think you will be disappointed.........much.


Friday, October 12, 2012

THE CINEMA SNOB MOVIE: A film for people who love film.

If you don't know who Brad Jones is then I suggest heading over to his website  He plays a character called the Cinema Snob who watches some of the most bizarre, freakish, obscure films ever made and then reviews them for us.  As the Snob, Brad has no problem lambasting these films and yet still loves their existence by collecting as many of them as he can.  What I like about his reviews is that not only is he funny but he is extremely insightful with his critiques.  You learn a lot especially if you are into making movies on what not to do.  If you were ever curious about a movie but didn't want shell out the cash for it then I suggest watching the Cinema Snob review it.  You get a good sense of how craptacular the movie is and you get to see all the good moments without losing any money you stole from your Nana's purse.  What Brad is doing here is taking his love for movies a step farther by making his own comedic exploitation movie.  Oh, how the tables have turned.  Now it is his work under the microscope.  Did he make a good movie worthy of your attention?  Yes.  Yes, he did.

THE CINEMA SNOB MOVIE starts off about two no budget film makers trying to get an exploitation movie called BLACK ANGUS made.  Brad Jones plays Craig Golightly a long haired fake beard wearing film maker trying to convince the head of the film commission, Dan Phillips to give him permits to film his movie.  Unable to win Dan's endorsement Craig joins his film club for pretentious film critics by becoming the Cinema Snob.  He cuts his hair, and puts on the glasses and signature suit fooling the critics and wowing everyone in the film club by showing them SALO.  I won't even explain SALO.  Just don't watch it.  Now you are going to, aren't you?  While he is inside the club he meets the beautiful Nancy (played by Brad's real life wife Jillian Zurawski) who is married to Dan Phillips.  The two hit it off but things get complicated between them when the film club members start dying off one by one in giallo style and Nancy becomes the prime suspect.

The strength of THE CINEMA SNOB MOVIE is the writing.  The look of the film is rather bland with not too many interesting or creative film angles or movement.  Sometimes the audio levels fluctuate between shots in the same scene which can be a little distracting.  It is a low budget movie after all.  There are going to be things you need to forgive.  Pay attention to the dialogue though.  There are so many funny lines that you will miss some from laughing so hard.  At least I did.  I like humor that doesn't need to explain itself.  Either you get it or you don't.  There are several references to obscure movies.  You may not get them at all.  Doesn't that just make you want to go out and learn more?  Most of what he references is in his reviews on his website though.  Maybe this is one of those movies where you really need to be a fan of the Cinema Snob to like.  I figure though if you are into cheesy exploitation movies you will find a movie like this a bit refreshing showing some love to them.  Brad carries the entire film playing the Snob perfectly and giving  a strong performance especially during one scene where he is monologuing to the killer about loving what you do despite being hated on by the film critics.  There are a couple of really great scenes like this usually involving him making fun of critics who over analyze films to the point of absurdity.  Not everything is a metaphor for the Holocaust.  Noah Antwiller (Spoony from the gives an energetic and hilarious performance as the town's richest man who is crazy enough to fund BLACK ANGUS.  Spoony does reviews of all kinds of nerd-o culture stuff like computer games and movies and such.  I highly recommend watching his stuff as well.

I guess by the third act the film feels a little like it has out stayed its welcome.  Still it is the third act that has some of the best moments of the film.  The movie has two plots which can put the audience a little off course going from a comedy about two guys trying to make a ridiculous badass movie to a comedy about a movie snob trying to find a killer who is murdering local film critics.  Actually it might be three if you include the actor taking on the persona of his character and trying to find the killer himself.  Maybe THE CINEMA SNOB MOVIE isn't for everybody but I still highly recommend it.  Brad Jones shows a true passion for the movies and he is sharing it with us all.  Buy it here and see it for yourself.  At least you will be supporting a talented independent film maker....

Yes, there is nudity.


Monday, October 8, 2012


Tired of watching the original HALLOWEEN for the billionth time?  Feel like watching something different that your friends haven't seen yet this October?  Looking for something special while helping make a difference in the world of horror cinema?  Well my friends, head on over to and pick up TEDDY, POPULARITY KILLER and BLOOD BROTHERS on DVD.  These are three short films directed by Steve Goltz and written by Kevin Sommerfield.  There is a great deal of talent presented in front of and behind the camera in all three films.  The acting is good to great (for the most part), the writing is sharp, and the camera work is phenomenal especially in TEDDY.  They accomplish a lot with so little and I feel like they deserve our support.  The only thing that kind of sucks is that they are only short films.  By the end of each one you wish that they would go on longer and develop more into a full length feature.  Hopefully one day they will make one.  Hey, at least these guys put special features on their DVDs showing true love for their audience. 

If you had to pick just one film to buy I would highly recommend TEDDY.  It is a film about four young people going camping who accidentally run over a guy out in the wilderness in front of his weirdo adult son who still carries around his stitched up one eyed teddy bear.  Instead of getting help they scoop him off the road as if he were nothing more than roadkill and continue on their camping trip.  The weirdo son seeks bloody inappropriate revenge.  This is the best looking out of all three films.  Visually it is the most colorful and entertaining with creative if not controversial deaths.

POPULARITY KILLER is about a masked killer murdering high school students at a small get together at night.  Both this one and TEDDY embrace the classic slasher flick genre of the early 1980s making no apologies whatsoever.  It is a kind of who-done-it slasher movie.  Most slasher flicks back in the day were like that.  Movies like TERROR TRAIN, PROM NIGHT and THE INITIATION are a few examples that I can think of. 

BLOOD BROTHERS is way different.  Its not really a horror movie but more like a violent family drama.  It is basically about a man and his wife held captive by his desperate brother and his girlfriend.  This one you should watch last for Mike Goltz performance as the protagonist.  He is pretty much unrecognizable as the clean cut good guy.  Mike steals the show in TEDDY and POPULARITY KILLER playing the ever so charming drunk, jerk-face, jock character that has no problem spraying beer out of every orifice of his body.  What a great actor.  Maybe BLOOD BROTHERS isn't the best out of the three but it is nice to see that Steve Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield can do other things beside slasher films.

Support independent horror by buying them here.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION is a good reason why you shouldn't take my movie recommendations.

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION should have been called G.I. JOE vs. ZOMBIES.  That is what this whole movie looks like.  The movie has nothing to do with retribution but it does have a bunch of guys that look like action figures running around getting killed by the weapons proficient undead.  I am not sure why the word "retribution" is in the title.  R.E.R. is about Alice once again in an Umbrella facility that is underwater running from monsters, zombies and clones.  There is no revenge involved with any of that.  She is just getting from point A to point B with the help of some familiar faces.  Barry from the original RESIDENT EVIL game (Played by that one guy that gets stabbed repeatedly in the throat in 3:10 TO YUMA) and Leon (Played by......Dolph Lundgren?) from the game's sequel are mercs or something who are sent by Wesker to help Alice escape.  Now I am just going to say it.  I like all of these movies.  I think they are fun monster movies that can't be taken too seriously.  I happen to like monster movies a lot.  I also happen to like bashing things I like too so here I go.

R.E.R. is more like a live action cartoon with outlandish fighting moves, extremely elaborate super complex impossibly located Umbrella bases and bad bad writing.  Most of the time with movies like this I usually don't mind a little bad dialogue.  As long as the movie is entertaining and creative I don't care.  But DANG(!) this movie has this really bad scene where Wesker (Looking quite good for being blown up by a mini-nuke) appears on this computer screen and starts explaining to Alice that the neighborhood she just escaped from was just a simulated street used to demonstrate to buyers what the zombie virus can do.  Confused for some reason Alice starts questioning about the weather and people and such and Wesker obliges with answers.  No way after four past movies dealing with the Umbrella Corporation and their uber-high tech underground bases would Alice question the validity of a simulated environment.  All Wesker should have said was,"It was simulated".  And Alice should have responded, "That's what I figured".  The end.  But, No.  We get a five minute scene that feels like ten minutes of a back and forth question and answer session that adds nothing to the scene.  We are told nothing that everybody including all the characters don't already know.  Are you padding your run time, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION?  Seriously.  Babies write better dialogue in their diapers.

The movie has this weird vibe to it like they are struggling to fill up the movie with stuff we haven't seen before.  They throw in game related moments to gain street cred with the nerdos like this guy getting chainsawed in the chest.  That was kind of cool.  That happened in RESIDENT EVIL 4 the game I think.  But really we have seen all this stuff before.  There are too many moments and too many lines that seem to be lifted from better movies that came before.  At one point this giant Licker shows up and steals this girl that Alice has been protecting.  The ugly thing has done nothing but kill everybody it has seen the whole entire movie but for no reason what so ever it keeps the girl alive and cocoons her.  Now Alice has to save her.  Yea, the movie turns into ALIENS.

I also wished Alice wouldn't feel the need to explain to all of us that her name is Alice and that she used to work for the Umbrella blah-blah-blah.  We really don't need to hear that tripe over and over again. 

The rest of the movie is good though.  It was fun watching mercs battle Russian soldier zombies for thirty minutes that shoot guns, operate chainsaws and drive trucks and motorcycles.  And I really liked the use of clones in this movie too.  It was weird in a good way having clone guards of people from Alice's past hunt her down.  Michele Rodrigueze plays a good clone who dies and a bad clone......that dies too.  And there are a couple of other clones from the first and second movie who are after Alice as well.  They really don't do much with this concept of familiar faces being different characters.  They could have done so much more if the story wasn't so impaired with the overly used plot of escaping from point A to point B.  Still it was cool to see.

How stupid was I to think that this was the last RESIDENT EVIL film?  They end the movie with this LORD OF THE RINGS battle at Helms Deep ending where Alice is on top of the White House with hundreds of Army guys fending off billions of zombies.  It was a cool ending but you know that when they make part 6 they will forget about all of that and put Alice on a space ship in space or on another freakin planet and pretend the ending of part 5 never happened.  They do that in almost all of these movies.  I was a little frustrated that they spent no time explaining what happened to everybody else from part 4.  If I remember correctly Claire Redfield and whoever else was still alive back on some ship.  They make no mention of them but still put them (at least Claire) in the end credits.  I guess they do bring a couple of them back like the evil robot spider possessed Jill Valentine and that one guy they left behind back in prison.  But Claire was kind of important, right?

RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION is more of the same with nothing new to the mix.  If you love the film series then you should have no trouble finding room on your DVD shelf for this one when it comes out.  I know they didn't put much thought into this movie.  Just look at the title.  They found a not so overly used "R" word that sounds cool and named the movie that.  When I think about R.E.R. there are more negatives than there are positives.  There really isn't a whole lot that makes sense in any of these.  But I can't help it.  I love zombies movies, I love monster movies, and I love chicks with guns.  The RESIDENT EVIL films combine all the things I love and gives them a polished updated look.  With that said they really need to end the whole franchise with part 6.  Enough is enough already.