Monday, February 8, 2016

Here's To Starting Anew...

When we started All Things Horror back in 2009, I had the idea that it would be an excuse to talk about some of the movies I loved with my friends, and if a few people here and there read the site, then it would be a success. The site quickly evolved into something different. Thanks to the support of Michael Hein and the NYC Horror Film Festival, we were able to experience some of the best works that independent horror had to offer. For me, it was like getting that mix tape in high school from a friend that had Bad Brains, Bad Religion, Minor Threat and Black Flag on it all over again. I knew the direction I wanted to take the site in, and over the past six years we've made it our goal to bring as much exposure to the smaller, more personal and far more terrifying horror films than the standard big studio fare.

On top of that, we've been lucky enough to develop a fantastic relationship with the Somerville Theater. For five years we were able to bring some fantastic movies to the Boston area long before they made their way to theaters, DVD or VOD. We were able to pack houses for Spring, The Battery, American Mary, Stomping Ground, Soulmate, Dys, Dawning, Absentia, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, Satan Hates You among the fifty feature films and hundreds of shorts we screened from 2010 through 2015. We were fortunate enough to partner with Heidi and Staci of the Etheria organization and for four years we were able to help spotlight some of the up and coming female talents across a number of genres: horror, science fiction, fantasy and action.

We've strived to bring you the best that festivals have to offer through our site, and I would put our coverage up against sites with far more resources and better staffed than us and say we come out ahead. From every Fantastic Fest since 2012, to the Fantasia International Film Festival, Toronto After Dark, the Boston Underground Film Festival, The Stanley Film Festival and even Sundance, we've been fortunate enough to cover some spectacular events. Through the site I've been lucky enough to serve as a host of The Telluride Horror Show for three years running, and I can tell you that without a doubt, heading into those mountains marks the best week of the year for me.

All that said, for the past month, writing for the site has been a struggle. That feeling of joy that used to come with opening my inbox has curdled into something I don't like. “Dread” would be too strong a word, but lately it's been with a lot of resignation that I've gone through my my emails and struggled to find something worth writing about. That's not meant as a reflection on the films we're seeing, but more of a total burnout on my part. I still love horror, but spending seven years of watching and writing about it-to some extent almost exclusively-it feels like it's time for a new direction.

By spring time All Things Horror won't be All Things Horror any longer. While I'd be stunned if horror coverage consists of less than fifty percent of what we write about, I made the decision a while back to retool and rebrand the site. It's been a long time in the works, and part of the impetus to mention it now rather than wait until the final design has been completed is to give myself a quick in the seat of the pants to get over the last of the hurdles and launch the damn thing. In the meantime, don't be surprised to see films that fall outside the range of straight horror cinema to appear with more regularity. We're still going to cover the most badass cinema we can get our greedy mitts on. We're still going to work on bringing you the best festival coverage we can. But if you turn to our site and start seeing a greater emphasis on action, marital arts, science fiction, foreign thrillers and surrealist fare, my hope is the quality of writing sucks you in and keeps you coming back for more rather than firing off a “What does this have to do with horror?” comment before dismissing us for good.

I'm really proud of our site and what we've accomplished since its inception. From working with Chris Hallock at its start (a guy whose talent is only surpassed by his kindness) to meeting and making some my closest friends, to working with an extraordinary team of writers (and it should be noted that Dede pulls double duty by keeping these organized, promoted and making sure my ass doesn't fall too far behind).


We're going to be around a long time. I could no sooner kill of the site than I could snuff out one of the cats with a pillow. What I'm hoping to do is broaden my own horizons ans a writer and step outside of my comfort zone. We're looking for more director retrospectives, a more consistent podcast and multimedia presence and a break from the review/news rut I've fallen into the past year or so with some more long form critiques. It's going to be a bit of a bumpy journey, but I know we'll get there. Here's hoping you guys stick around for the ride.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Legendary Punk Miscreant GG ALLIN Lives On In BLOOD FOR YOU



I'm guessing there's a large segment of our reader base that's never heard of GG Allin, a punk rock icon and scum fuck that was far too beautiful to survive in this world. The controversial Allin's exploits as a musician and performance artist were legendary for their depravity, as the man who claimed his body served as a "temple for rock and roll" made a routine out of carving himself with glass, while smearing his blood and shit all over himself on stage as part of a bizarre and confrontational performance act. Perhaps the only thing surprising about Allin's death of a heroin overdose on June 28th 1993, is the fact that he survived to the ripe old age of 36 years old. Given that we live in a day and age where every entertainer's public persona is micro managed by a team of publicists and social media experts that would rather shit broken light bulbs than see commit an act that gives even the slightest whiff of real controversy and rebellion, it cannot be emphasized enough how little fucks Allin gave about how he was received. He was one of the last of a generation that made punk a bit of a scary place to be, and he did his own thing, not matter how vile or what the consequences may be. As odd as it is to write this statement, his assholery was refreshing.

More than two decades after the last real rebel of punk rock's  death, the fine folks behind at Aggronautix are set to deliver a work of collaborative fiction where the legend of GG spreads far beyond the confines of basement shows and closet sized clubs. "Blood For You" is a 190 page collection of short stories that imagine Allin as a secret agent who needs to ass fuck Barbara Bush for critical intel. Or as a space alien who has crash landed to earth to save humanity. Or as one of one thousand clothes occupying a giant robot body. You get the idea.

The book is available for preorder at www.aggronautix.com. The first 200 preoroders also receive the added bonus of a collectible limited edition button and a small vile of Allin's semen. One of these things are true.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

THE VEIL Manages To Make Crazed Religious Cults Dull



Twenty five years after the mass suicide of the Heaven's Veil cult, the sole survivor of the group agrees to return to the remains of the compound with a group of documentary filmmakers. American Horror Story's Lily Rabe stars as Sarah Hope, the now grown up survivor left permanently damaged by the events that day. Jessica Alba stars as Maggie Price the filmmaker whose father led the raid on the cult. The death he witnessed firsthand left him despondent, and two years later he took his own life. Obsessed with the cult and its enigmatic leader Jim Jacobs (Thomas Jane) Maggie hopes to uncover the secrets of what led the group to kill themselves, and she believes Sarah holds the key to the answers.

Originally slated for a theatrical release, The Veil is a hot mess of a film and a cooperative venture between Universal pictures and Blumhouse Tilt. The film ended up going straight to Netflix, and it's not difficult to understand why.

The Veil skips between two time periods. In the present day, Sarah, Maggie and the film crew trapeze the grounds of the cult compound, looking for clues and eventually stumbling upon reel after reel of film which document Jacobs' bizarre experiments with the metaphysical world. The other half of the film documents Jacobs, his cult and the tragic twists that led to them committing mass suicide.

Thomas Jane's performance is a real problem here. Director Phil Joanou wants to create a blend of anti authority charisma of Jim Jones with the rock star, messiah complex personality of David Koresh, but Jane's portrayal comes up woefully short. Jane seems to be starring in a different film, one that could be summed up as a made-for-basic-cable unauthorized bio pic of The Lizard King Jim Morrison. Jane's performance consists of sputtering gibberish about breaking the shackles of the soul and making heavily lidded eyes at the camera. He's all twitchy nerves and gyration and would look more at home on stage at a rock club rather than being at the forefront of a doomsday cult.

Alba and Rabe do the film no favors with their performances and the remainder of the cast is underdeveloped cannon fodder. Rabe's performance consist of does more than staring off into space with the look of a person who can't remember where they left their car keys. As an actress, Alba continues to be a very attractive woman that can vocalize words written in a specific order.

The Veil offers up textbook examples of the ills that plague the horror genre. Aside from the spotty acting mentioned above, The Veil offers little in the way of scares aside from the sharply edited jump cut punctuated by an over amplified score. Perhaps in order to make up for the paper thin plot and lack of characterization Joaneau feels the need to pulverize the audience with jump scares every few minutes. On top of that the already razor thin supporting characters are given little to do except make the poor logical decisions required in every bad movie in order to push the plot along. Failing to go to authorities when a crew member first goes missing and is later found dead after crashing the van, or characters already wigged out by the creepiness of their surroundings going wandering off on their own in the middle of the night are just two of the multitude of plot device contraptions The Veil employs in order to get from point A to point B.


While it's always nice to have new material up on streaming services, it shouldn't be too much to ask for them to be at least halfway decent quality. After a promising start, Blumhouse continues its current period trend of churning out subpar horror films that make the number crunchers happy but offer little in way of fan enjoyment.  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Get Baked And Play Super Techmo Bowl Or Die In Richard Griffin's SEVEN DORMS OF DEATH (New Clip)

The team that brought you Murder University heads back to school once again with Richard Griffin's latest: The Seven Dorms of Death* The Rhode Island shoxploitation gathers his usual merry band of torublemakers for this college set horror piece. The film stars Anna Rizzo, Michael Zuccola, Aaron Andrade, Dan Mauro, Laura Pepper, Christian Masters and more.

Ahead of its world premiere February 21st, Scorpio Films Releasing has debuted this short clip of the movie. Check it out and stay tuned for the upcoming trailer and other info on when you can feast your eyeballs on the finished film.

When I originally typed out the above, I misspelled it as the Seven DOMS of Death which is a much different kind of horror movie. The idea is right there for the taking y'all.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Message From "Spirit Possession Anonymous"



One of the minor gem's of the 2015 Fantasia Film Festival has found a home and is slated for a VOD and DVD release March 4th. Ava's Possessions puts a novel spin on the standard horror tale by simply asking the question “What next?”


After an exorcism casts the demon possessing Ava back to Hell, the young woman is left to deal with the aftermath. Aside from picking up the scattered pieces of her life, attempting to make amends with the friends and family members she hurt while possessed and dealing with the fallout and legal ramifications brought on during her crime spree while not herself, Ava attempts to get to the bottom of why she was possessed and who is responsible for it. It's a unique spin on the genre. We're used to watching everything up to and including the sometimes happy ending of the story, but we never get to see the fallout and rebuilding that occurs while recovering from trauma. While the film isn't a complete home run-it takes some unfortunate tangents after a strong opening-it's a solid tale anchored by a great performance from Louisa Krause.

Ahead of the film's release, Momentum Pictures has released a nifty piece of viral marketing concerning SPA (Spirit Possession Anonymous), the rehab organization charged with getting AVA back on her feet. You can check out the organizations public service announcement below and check out their full site at www.spiritpossessionsanon.com


The Team Behind The Battery Wants To Self Distribute Their Next Film, And You Should Help Make That Happen

If you read our site, then you know we championed a little zombie film by Jeremy Gardener called The Battery for a long time. I'll go on the record and state that out of the 1000 or so films we've had the opportunity to review in the nearly seven years of running this site, The Battery is far and away my favorite.

A lot of other people fell in love with the film, and a lot of people sang its praises for a long ass time, because a $6,000 movie has no right to look as good as its paltry budget suggests, so it took a long time for the film to find distribution partners across the globe. Meanwhile, a metric ass-ton of folks clamored, whined and lamented that they had to wait too long to see the damn film.

For his next film, Gardner is looking to change that and shake up the way movies are distributed. That's where you come in.

Tex Montana Will Survive! is Gardner's one man movie about an incompetent, fifth rate “Man Versus Wild” knock off that bites off far more than he can chew. Recently disgraced after allegations his forays into nature are all staged, Tex Montana takes clearing his name into his own hands by spending 30 days alone in the frozen wilderness while filming the whole ordeal. As you can see from the trailer below, hilarity ensues.

What Gardner wants to do with Tex Montana is self distribute the sonofabitch. Rather than wait and negotiate with any number of companies, he wants to release the already completed film to everyone, everywhere all at once. If the crowdfunding goal is met, Gardner will put Tex up on a number of platforms at once for public consumption: YouTube, Vimeo, various torrents. The film would be available worldwide on the same time, this eliminating the wait for certain territories to see the film.

This feels like a genius, potentially game changing movie for independent filmmakers, as Gardner says in the kickstarter pitch: It is incredibly difficult to make a living as an independent filmmaker. A dramatic influx of films on the market—coupled with the rise of peer-to-peer sharing through torrent sites—has resulted in a drastic decrease in compensation for filmmakers across the board. Minimum Guarantees (MGs) are small and residuals trickle in over the course of years.” Going the self distribution route gives the filmmaker an opportunity to make more on his film than he would through a third party, investing some of that money back into future projects while being able to do essential things like pay the bills and buy groceries through their art.


This would represent a win for both the artist and the fans. I want the people who make movies, music, novels and art I love to make more of it so I can devour it as quickly as humanly possible. I don't want things like day jobs getting in the way of what they're meant to do: entertain the fuck out of me. You should feel the same way.

If you head to the Kickstarter page, you can hear Gardner's whole pitch and kick in what you want. There's not a "handjob" level of perk (giving or receiving) but I'm sure if you reach out and ask, everything is negotiable. 


 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

THE EXORCIST Is Coming To Fox Television Because Everything Is Terrible



There's never going to be another horror film like The Exorcist. We all understand that, right? Every other possession film that has followed in its wake inevitably gets compared to and comes up far short of the Friedken classic. Sure, every few years a studio executive makes small rumblings in the press about making a remake of the film, but before that talk gets too far, it feels like cooler heads pull that person into a dark closet and slap the shit out of them until the they renounce the idea and talks quietly fizzle out.

Television, however, is a whole new ballgame. It looks like The Exorcist is heading to Fox TV. The home of former cultural landmark programming such as Celebrity Boxing, K-Ville and Lone Star has ordered a pilot for the show. If the marketing buzzword laden phrase that describes the series as a “propulsive serialized psychological thriller following two very different men tackling one family's case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the true face of evil” doesn't make you puke in your mouth a little bit, then your soul has already been consumed by Pazzu.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

EL REY NETWORK Wants You To Celebrate Valentine's Weekend With Freddy

We all know Valentine's Day is a bullshit scam of holiday dreamed up by the unholy trio of the floral, chocolate and greeting card industries. You don't need me to tell you that BIG HALLMARK is reaching into your wallet and robbing you blind every 14th of February. If you're part of a couple, you're expected to make a big to-do about getting all gussied up and hitting the town for a night of "romance" which, for me, means overpaying for babysitting and forcing my wife to stay up past 8pm when we both know all she really wants to do is lie in bed and read Supernatural fanfic. Or, if you're unattached on the 14th, the world only serves to remind you what a loser you are for having no one to call your own, sending you on a spiral of depression that starts with you crying in your underwear while spooning quarts of Ben & Jerry's down your gullet and only ends with you hanging yourself in the living room while a DVD of Bridget Jone's Diary plays on an unending loop on your DVD player.





Either way, Valentine's Day is suck city.


Trailer For BACKGAMMON Shows Hipsters Getting Into Antics



I'm not 100% sure what to make of the trailer for Backgammon, the upcoming thriller that promises to be fraught with drama, twists and sexual tension. From the trailer, it looks like we can expect a bunch of "white person shenanigans" where a bunch of hipsters smoke too much, drink too much, and make all sorts of horrible decisions about who they should fuck before things go horribly awry. At second glance, it looks like a warmed over mash up of Wes Anderson meets Dontown Abbey cosplay. That said, it's been a slow news day and I've got a wicked case of writers block, so here you go: 

Synopsis:  Part psychological sexual thriller and part classic mystery, Backgammon explores sexual tension, danger and mind games between a group of college students during a getaway in a country mansion. When Andrew invites Lucian and his girlfriend Elizabeth for a weekend vacation, they don’t expect Andrew’s sister Miranda and her Baudelaire-obsessed boyfriend Gerald to show up as well. Overwhelmed by Gerald’s antics and the constant irritating horseplay with Miranda, Andrew and Elizabeth split. Lucian, however, decides to stay, as a simmering, sexual tension develops between him and the flighty, flirtatious Miranda. When Gerald explodes after losing everything during an alcohol-fueled poker game with Lucian, Miranda finally gives him the boot. But as she and Lucian begin to dance around each other, their surroundings show threatening signs that Gerald may never have left.

Trailer For THE INVITATION Serves Up A Disastrous Dinner Party

This spring DRAFTHOUSE Films releases the nerve wracking, stunning thriller about a dinner party gone horribly awry, The Invitation. In essence, director Karyn Kasuma dangles a carrot made up of paranoia and mistrust and dangles it in front of the audience until their collective psyche is fraught. I was fortunate enough to catch a screening of the film at this past year's Telluride Horror Show. Aside from a terrific post screening Q&A with one of the film's stars, John Carroll Lynch, what struck me the most was how the film holds the audience in the palm of its hand throughout. The collective gasps at the perfect moments were the only sounds that punctuated the otherwise dead silent theater. The Invitation offers up a near perfect examination of grief and insanity, and is sure to have audiences buzzing once it hits theaters and VOD this March 25th. In the meantime, the first trailer is
now out, and it offers up a sliver of what you're in store for: