16 items from 2015
Clever low-budget Kiwi indie thriller about a scowling teen under house arrest, whose house is ‘disturbed’ – but what, or who, by?
This low-budget Kiwi offering is a rare thing: a horror-comedy with a premise that works both ways. After dynamiting a cashpoint, scowling Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is placed under house arrest in the home of her micromanaging mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata); the twist is that this house is – as mum puts it – “prone to certain disturbances”. While we’re waiting for the cause to reveal itself, writer-director-editor Gerard Johnstone gains comic mileage from Kylie’s sullen interactions with those around her, and burrows inventively around his initial, Disturbia-like setup: a ghost story is thus converted into first a hider-in-the-house thriller, then a murder-mystery. Peter Jackson aficionados may recall the overbearing matriarch of 1992’s Braindead, although Te Wiata makes Miriam’s incessant waffling heroic, and the tactics are closer »
- Mike McCahill
Earlier today, J. Hurtado reviewed the much anticipated Arrow Blu-ray release of Brian Yuzna's Society (check out that article here). I'm looking forward to finally seeing the film, about which I've heard people talk for literally decades. Some hail it as an absurd masterpiece, others revile it. Both sides of that discussion seem to agree on the finale though, in that it is gross. Grosser than gross. I've heard "revolting", "repulsive", "nauseating" and that most descriptive of all: "gag-inducing". That last one is quite a claim. Several films have made me shudder or wince in the past. But actually gag? Though I loved the film, I remember getting pretty nauseous the first time I saw Peter Jackson's Dead Alive / Braindead. Of course, what makes...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Jennifer Kent's "The Babadook" was the best horror film of 2014, and Essie Davis should have scored a Best Actress nod for her fierce portrayal of a mother in crisis. There, I said it! To her credit, Kent is smart enough to know that the Academy isn't keen on recognizing horror movies in the major categories, and thusly has taken a page from fellow Oceanian Peter Jackson's playbook for her followup, an adaptation of Alexis Coe's non-fiction book "Alice + Freda Forever." It could not get much more "Heavenly Creatures"-y than this! Check out the synopsis, courtesy Deadline: Coe based her book on research that included more than 100 love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles and courtroom proceedings to tell the tragic, real-life love story of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward. After their love letters were discovered, the women were forbidden to ever speak again. Ward adjusted to this with apparent ease, »
- Chris Eggertsen
Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.
You know an action hero is the baddest of badasses when he or she walks in and the room goes silent. The drug lord’s bodyguards, the mastermind’s henchmen, or even the foolhardy pack of drunkards outside a roadside bar stand at attention, ready for a challenge. It’s just one person. This shouldn’t be too hard. Seconds later, they’re on the ground nursing bruises, or worse, stumps where their arms and legs used to be. The One vs. Many Fight is the chance for the hero to prove »
- Shane Ramirez
I’ve written a lot about horror musicals over the years on Icons of Fright, and it would appear that I’m not the only one out there with a deep and abiding love for musical adaptations of beloved horror films. Young Frankenstein, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Evil Dead, Carrie, American Psycho, The Silence Of The Lambs, Re-animator, and Little Shop Of Horrors are just a few horror films to get the musical theatre adaptation. Something about the combination of campy nature of spontaneously bursting into song and blood spraying everywhere is something many of us can’t get enough of. While I’m still waiting for Disney to get their shit together and make a Broadway version of Hercules, I’ve made myself a little dream list of horror films I hope get the musical treatment.
Fred Dekker’s deliciously campy masterpiece is just »
- BJ Colangelo
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, 2015.
Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner.
During the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse a mechanic goes in search of his sister, who has been kidnapped by a group of psychotic soldiers who want to experiment on her.
It may seem like sacrilege to say it but the zombie genre is dying on its arse. Horror movies have always been notoriously cheap to produce and in this day of CGI effects replacing practical squibs and latex flesh it has never been easier to knock something together quickly and for very little physical effort, hence why the zombie movie has become so prevalent over the past few years. And with the increasing quantity comes the decreasing quality, meaning that studios putting out any old mean-spirited guff with the words “…of the Dead” in the title is supposed to »
- Gary Collinson
Deathgasm is a bloody, head-banging ball of fun, gore and soul-shaking music, and fans of films like Dead Alive and Evil Dead will find a lot to love in its embrace of splattery shenanigans and the idea that staying true to yourself might someday save the world.
"Deathgasm Is Darker Than Eating Ice Cream in the Park on a Beautiful Sunny Day" was originally published on Film School Rejects for our wonderful readers to enjoy. It is not intended to be reproduced on other websites. If you aren't reading this in your favorite RSS reader or on Film School Rejects, you're being bamboozled. We hope you'll come find us and enjoy the best articles about movies, television and culture right from the source. »
- Rob Hunter
Doc of the Dead, 2015.
Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe.
Apparently, this is the definitive documentary examining the rise of the zombie in modern pop culture. Hmm…
Think you know zombies? Of course you do, because no doubt you have seen Shaun of the Dead on one of its weekly showings on some made-for-twentysomethings TV channel or own one of the many DVD releases of Night of the Living Dead that likely includes a documentary or an interview with George A. Romero that covers everything you need to know about that seminal movie and the influence it has had. So what does Doc of the Dead have to offer that several dozen DVD extra features doesn’t? Not a great deal, if truth be told.
- Gary Collinson
If you haven’t been paying attention to the latest foreign horror imports, than you’ve been missing out on some tremendous films. While you might assume that a majority of these are European efforts, there’s another locale that’s making quite a genre name for itself – New Zealand. Peter Jackson started with films like Bad Taste and Dead Alive, but that was long ago, and since those years, New Zealand hasn’t bothered to traverse the waters of horror with much enthusiasm – until now. Thanks to producer Ant Timpson, a frequent collaborator with Alamo’s Tim League, New Zealand is once again making a name for itself in a forgotten genre, and Deathgasm is just the latest shining example.
- Matt Donato
As someone who relishes new and unusual storytelling, it’s been great to see the recent boom of films coming out of New Zealand, a country that embraces and celebrates the unusual in ways most other places in the world just cannot. The latest Kiwi film to make its way Stateside is Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm, the ridiculously fun and bombastic celebration of horror and heavy metal that premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival last night. While the film may garner a lot of attention for it’s more over-the-top approach to gore, nudity and its clever use of sex toys, what makes Deathgasm so special is that the story itself is full of heart and features breakout performances from both Milo Cawthorne and Kimberley Crossman, who bring tons of infectious energy to the project.
In Deathgasm, we meet a lovable loser metal head by the name of Brodie »
- Heather Wixson
Coming out of SXSW like a freight train of bloody, metal as f&%* entertainment, Jason Lei Howden gory extravaganza that is Deathgasm is a heavy metal splatterfest, guaranteed to please the most diehard horror fan. Led by memorable performances, out of this world effects and a soundtrack that refuses to Not let you bang your head throughout the entire film, it’s a standout film at this year’s festival and destined to become like Shaun Of The Dead or Dead Alive, a horror/comedy cult classic, one that will instantly be a genre fan favorite.
Following Brodie (Milo Cawthorne, Blood Punch), a young hesher that is forced to live with his conservative Christian aunt and uncle, following his mom being committed due to meth and giving blowjobs, Deathgasm does what very few films are able to: hook you right from the beginning. Any self-destructive oucast metalhead can instantly relate to Brodie, »
- Jerry Smith
Though terror and laughter really exist on opposite sides of the emotional spectrum, there is a storied and wonderful history between the two in the world of cinema. From Evil Dead II to Dead Alive to Shaun of the Dead, there is a long legacy of horror and comedy working together at the movies, and while it.s a tricky mash-up to master, history as shown that when done well, it can be insanely entertaining. With his new film The Final Girls, director Todd Strauss-Schulson is the latest to try and tackle a mix of the two desperate genres, and while it may not necessarily a movie that can be dubbed an instant classic, it is a fantastically entertaining bit of meta fun. Centering on a teenage girl named Max (Taissa Farmiga), the story picks up three years after the death of her mother (Malin Akerman), an actress who famously »
Thanks to Braindead and Mad Max, Australasia has already claimed significant standing in the histories of both zombie movies and post-apocalyptic action films. Now they’ve delivered us Wyrmwood, a film that seems to belong in both genres at once.
IFC will be releasing the film in some Us cinemas and on VOD tomorrow, and have just released a last-minute green band trailer. Here it is – and below that, the original red band version of the trailer too. If you’re not at work, you probably want to go straight to that one.
Director and co-writer Kiah Roache-Turner seems well-versed in the conventions of the genres, and it looks like he’s created something fairly slick on a non-existent budget. I checked out the official site he runs with co-writer and producer brother Tristan and found this statement from Kiah;
“We’re huge fans of genre films. Stuff like Mad Max »
- Brendon Connelly
“What are you gonna do against a hostile spirit?” “I’m gonna smash it in the face.” Those who caught the New Zealand horror-comedy Housebound last year may remember this spirited exchange, which perfectly captures the attitude of protagonist Kylie Bucknell, one who is not the type to cower from the paranormal activity that runs rampant in her mother’s home.
After receiving positive reviews across the board—including Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings and Dead Alive fame—director Kylie Bucknell’s Housebound will be reimagined for North American audiences by New Line.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, New Line, aka the house that Freddy built, has acquired the rights to remake Housebound, with Johnstone attached as a producer. The folks at New Line are looking for a writer to pen the adaptation, as well as a director for the project (perhaps they will be one and the »
- Derek Anderson
Sundance may be better known for its serious indie dramas than its bloodsoaked genre fare, but a surprising number of well-known horror films got their start at the annual festival - and we've rounded up a few of the most notable highlights from years past. While the list is far from exhaustive - notable omissions include 2003's "Open Water" and 2005's "Hardy Candy" - it's nevertheless representative of the fest's commitment to spotlighting left-of-center visions, from shockingly smart limb-spewers (Peter Jackson's "Braindead") to verite-style spookfests ("The Blair Witch Project") to body-horror provocations ("Teeth"). Included are discussions of how each film performed with mainstream audiences, whose tastes don't always align with the Park City hype machine. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 22-Feb.1. »
- Chris Eggertsen
Writer’s Note: This is the second part of my celebration of Ernest Dickerson’s Demon Knight, which turns 20 today. Truly one of my favorite horror movies to come out of the 1990’s (or really, any decade), Demon Knight was a landmark endeavor for many reasons. You can catch up with Part One of my retrospective here.
In Demon Knight, Brayker (William Sadler) and The Collector (Billy Zane) are vying for control over an ancient relic that controls the very fate of humanity. The duo eventually face-off at a remote long-term hotel in New Mexico called The Mission where several residents end up getting caught in the middle of their epic showdown. The hotel is run by the wise-cracking, no-nonsense Irene (Cch Pounder) who makes it her job to keep her renters in line, including former convict Jeryline (Jade Pinkett), a well-meaning prostitute named Cordelia (Brenda Bakke) and her client, »
- Heather Wixson
16 items from 2015
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