Eerie Horror Film Festival 2011

November 3, 2011 | No comments | Posted in Horror, Movies, Reviews | Tags: , , ,

One of my favorite events of the year is the Eerie Horror Film Festival. Although it takes place over four days every October, I usually only have time to go for one day. This year I went on Saturday, and watched the first four blocks of movies they played, totalling 8 hours of shorts and features. Allow me to tell you a little bit about what I saw.

But before I start, I have a couple comments. First of all, I’ve never seen a truly bad movie at this festival. Sure, there were some I didn’t care for, but the quality is consistently excellent in the films chosen. Secondly, I was very tired the day I went. This definitely affected my experience of the features, since they were obviously longer.


UK | Directed by Ray Vernava | 11min

Very weird, very cool! It’s a surrreal fantasy horror piece . . . or something like that. This one is hard to explain, but well worth the watch. Watch the trailer.

Dead Friends

Canada | Directed by Stephen Martin | 11min

An original tale, for sure. I didn’t care for the makeup, but it involves a zombie (always a plus in my book) and some fun humor. Watch the trailer.

The Corridor

Canada | Directed by Evan Kelly | 99min

My first feature-length film of the day was a good one. It was a strange supernatural tale that for some reason kept reminding me of The Shining. But I kept falling asleep during this one — I’m not sure whether it was the movie, or my severe lack of sleep that caused this. I think I needed to pay more attention than I did to really get this movie. Watch the trailer.

Bad Moon Rising

Australia | Directed by Scott Hamilton | 8min

Awesome werewolf short, complete with a sweet transformation scene that reminded me of An American Werewolf in London. You gotta watch this 1-minute excerpt.

St. Christophorus: Roadkill

Germany | Directed by Gregor Erler | 26min

A faced-paced thriller about a guy who endures an extreme amount of pain after witnessing an accident on the road. I loved this one. Check out the official website, where you can watch the trailer (among other things).

Donner Pass

USA | Directed by Elise Robertson | 86min

I love a good cannibal movie, and this made me happy. It’s all based on the Donner Party, and the legends surrounding it. Great production value: acting, violence and gore effects were wonderful. Watch the trailer.

Mea Maxima Culpa

Canada | Directed by Eric Spoeth | 25min

Black and white and based on Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, this short was very enjoyable. Good acting, and good expansion on the original story. Watch the trailer.


Germany | Directed by Martin Bargiel | 19min

I think I was too tired for this one, as it was really surreal, having to do with blurring the edges of the real and the imagined. Too much for my tired mind to wrap around. I’m sure it was good. Watch the trailer.

The Black Box

USA | Directed by Jason Balas | 81min

I think I was so confused after Augenblicke that the disorientation spilled over into this movie. I guess it’s a post-apocalyptic, futuristic kind of thing, but I really have no idea. I need to try to watch this one again. Watch the trailer, and look for links on that page for other trailers for this movie.

The Living Want Me Dead

USA | Directed by Bill Palmer | 23min

This was my favorite short of the whole day! A man subjects himself to scientific tests for money, and consequently develops a condition in which he gives off a pheromone that causes people to turn into bloodthirsty killers. Brilliant and extremely enjoyable. Bravo! Watch the first scene and sneak peek.

The Millennium Bug

USA | Directed by Kenneth Cran | 98min

My favorite feature of the day! I was pleasantly surprised by this, as I had no idea what it was about. It’s New Years Eve 1999, and a family is headed into the mountains for a holiday getaway. They encounter inbred hillbillies, a cryptozoologist and an enormous creature that surfaces once every thousand years. All practical effects (“No CGI” was actually the movie’s mantra), which was pulled off masterfully. I liked this movie so much that I went out and bought it on DVD immediately, getting to meet the director. What a way to end the day! Go to the official website to watch the trailer and order your own DVD.

New DVD release: Bane (2009)

July 22, 2011 | 8 comments | Posted in Horror, Movies, Reviews | Tags: , ,

This week, the independent British movie Bane was released on DVD by Safecracker Pictures. Written and directed by James Eaves, it runs close to 2 hours, and was the winner of the Best Horror Feature Award at Shriekfest in LA.

This movie has a very Saw vibe. Four women wake up in an underground cell, remembering nothing. They are drugged and subjected to a series of horrifying experiments. On top of this, the women are visited one at a time by the killer Surgeon, who cuts a number into each woman’s skin — the exact time that he’s coming back to kill them. The movie takes a number of unexpected twists and turns, leading to an ending that is truly surprising.

I have to say that I’m amazed at what the filmmakers did with a very low budget, especially in the effects department. There is lots of blood and gore, the vast majority of it being practical (not CG). I only saw a couple quick CG enhancements to the effects, and they did not detract from the scene at all. It all plays into the psychological nature of the movie — they’re messing with the actors’ (and the viewers’) heads, leaving everyone to try to figure out what is really going on.

It’s also very good on a technical level. A lot of careful attention was paid to camera placement and movement, and stylized, creative lighting was utilized to the fullest extent. It’s all edited together very well — even though it’s a longer movie, the pacing is very good and never left me bored or over-stimulated.

The acting is pretty much what you’d expect from a micro-budget film. A couple of the characters are done well, while most are mediocre at best. But they weren’t helped by the fact that there wasn’t much character development — I really didn’t care for any of them that much. Most of the movie is focused on the psychological horror of the situation, not on growing deeper with the characters.

A few specific problems I had:

  • I just didn’t get the killer Surgeon. Why was he there? Several things didn’t make much sense to me.
  • After the experiments and subsequent questioning, the women were given the chance to ask the doctor one question. Why didn’t they ask what was going on? They never thought of that until the end.
  • The main character was awfully calm upon discovering the Lovecraftian tentacle bug monster. She was even clearheaded enough to use the creature to her advantage. I think that any normal person would have crapped their pants and collapsed in a sobbing heap. Or maybe that would just be me.

All in all, this was a very interesting movie to watch. It’s a Saw-like psychological horror film, lacking the fine polish of a big-budget film, but still delivering some nice gore and unexpected twists.

Thanks to my friends at Organic Marketing for sending this!

Monsters of Misfitboy: Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

April 7, 2010 | 6 comments | Posted in Horror, Misfitboy, Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

My first review ever was for a local access horror show about 6 years ago. It was called “The Death of the Drive-In’s.” When I watched the show one night I was shocked to find the two hosts were going to read my review on the air! It was about the drive-in era dying out like a plague sweeping across the country. Everywhere you went (in Ohio alone), For Sale signs were all over the once majestic, towering screens that used to show some of the greatest films of our time. One in particular was the Memphis drive-in, one of the most popular ones in Ohio. It was so popular that people tried to get a petition going to make it a historical site. It never happened. So the “drive-in plague,” as I refer to it, continues. And why, you may ask? Well, mostly because the use of the film costs money, and in order to turn a profit, drive-ins rely on concession stands besides ticket purchases. Today, with movies costing in the millions to make, the price goes up. A drive-in by me did a smart thing and charged $5 to bring your own food, generating a little more profit, which in turn keeps it running to this day.


Okay, enough history lessons — let’s get to the plot. By the way, the 3D version of Creature from the Black Lagoon is amazing if you can find it. It does have great underwater effects! A large explosion is seen as a narrator gives a short speech on earth. The film then shows a beach with strange footprints coming out of the water. The waves slowly wash over them, leaving the viewer the obvious question: what was it?

Meanwhile, scientists are digging into a wall of dirt and rock, uncovering an odd-looking skeletal hand. Later that night, two men are wakened in their tent by a monstrous shadow. The thing tears down the tent, slashes one man with a sharp claw, and kills both of them. The skeletal claw is sent to a lab so it can be determined what species it is from. Dr. Carl Maia, who discovered the hand, assembles a crew of scientists to find more fossils in the “black lagoon.” Among the crew are Dr. David Reed, Kay Laurence, Dr. Mark Williams and Dr. Edwin Thompson. They board the boat, the “Rita,” driven by Lucas, who tells them a tale of “gill-man,” a legendary creature who, millions of years ago, may have been a throwback to the human and amphibious race — a cross-breed, if you will. It is then we get our first glimpse of the creature, coming up from the lagoon to grab a large bird and pull it down to the deep lagoon.

It soon becomes apparent that the legend is real and two battles begin. One is for the capture of the creature for study purposes, or to let it stay in its natural environment. Second is the ever-famous battle for the love of a woman (Kay), which was common in these types of films. In a brilliant scene, Kay goes for a swim in the lagoon. The creature sees her and has never witnessed such beauty before, swimming inches away from her, slightly grazing her leg, wondering what she is. Kay panics and gets out of the water. The gill-man then begins his pursue of Kay by jumping onto the boat and causing chaos.

Eventually it is decided that the scientists will use rotenone (a drug that is used to capture fish). Then they put the creature in a cage, but unfortunately it doesn’t hold the beast for long. The creature breaks out and seriously injures Dr Thompson. Lucas thinks it’s time to leave the cursed lagoon, but cannot, because the creature has blocked off the only exit with giant logs. Williams decides to go underwater to try to remove the debris, but is confronted by the gill-man and is killed. Using the rotenone on the creature gives Dr. Reed enough time to remove the barricade created by the gill-man. Later that night, the gill-man comes on board, kidnapping Kay and taking her to his cave somewhere within the lagoon. Yes, its’ like King Kong underwater, but I’m fine with that! The rest of the team manages to find the gill-man’s subterranean lair, and after a brief fight the creature is shot and falls into the darkest depths of the lagoon.

This is without a doubt my favorite Universal monster film, and seeing it in the 3D form (the way it was introduced to American audiences) was amazing, especially the underwater shots! Ben Chapman, who played the creature, would have to hold his breath for over a minute in some scenes.

On a scale from 1-10, Creature from the Black Lagoon is a perfect 10! If you should happen to want to buy the movie, I would recommend the legacy collection. It comes with all three creature films, several documentaries, anda lot of other photos, trailers, etc. You can get it at Amazon.com for around $20 — a steal in my book.

Well, that’s it for this time around. Once again, thanks to Corey for allowing me to continue reviewing some of the drive-in classics! See you at the drive-ins! This is Misfit boy and I’m out!