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Blood Was Everywhere (2011)
Not your typical slasher flick.
Blood was Everywhere is an attempt at creating a non-traditional slasher film to prove that the genre can be more than a simple Hack-and-Slash gorefest. While it does succeed in doing exactly that, it may also lead to some disappointment. The film tells the story of the people in a small town being plagued by a series of murders committed by an unknown killer. Notice how I said that it's the story of the people in the town. There is little focus on our mysterious antagonist and his screen time is very limited. He doesn't wear a mask like Jason, he doesn't make jokes like Freddy and he doesn't kill in the over the top fashion one might expect from a film of this short. The kills are brief, simple and handled in a very realistic fashion. This gives our villain a more human edge than any other slasher villain and makes him seem more like an actual serial killer than a supernatural monster. The acting is quite good and the characters are much more than simple two-dimensional teens who are out to get drunk and have sex. They are (mostly) all grown adults who have real life problems. Jason Torrey's direction and writing (along with Sherrie Lemire) are fantastic. Each moment of this movie shows how much love. You can tell that this was a very personal project to him and a true labor of love. The film isn't without it's flaws, though. It has a very slow pace and a lot of dialogue scenes feel like they were stretched out to pad out the run time a bit. While it may lend a more natural feeling to the conversations between the characters, it really makes a lot of scenes drag on. Also, despite the title, it isn't that bloody of a movie. A few nice kills here and there, but that's it. Don't go into it expecting a total bloodbath. All in all, I do recommend this film. I believe it's a step above the average indie slasher and proof that the genre really can be more than what it's made out to be. Just a fair warning to slasher fans though, this is very different and you might be disappointed. Go in with an open mind. 7.5/10.
2020: An American Nightmare (2005)
Decent low budget flick with a hell of a great cast !
This was Travis Bowen's first feature film, and as a first attempt, it is very impressive, especially considering some of the big names he got to act in it. However, as a movie in general, it is a little lacking.It tells the story of a viral outbreak in America, which leads to a total apocalypse and the story of a group of survivors and their quest to survive in this new, harsh world. I'm going to break this film down, to make it easier to review.
Script : It's a good script, for sure. It has some great ideas,and has great pacing and even manages to create likable characters.
Direction : This was Travis Bowen's first feature film, and he clearly knew what he was doing from the start. Although it isn't the best in the world, it's very decent. The man knows where to point the camera, and clearly knew from the get-go.
Special effects : This is where the film was lacking a little bit for me. The blood looks good, but the make-up for the infected isn't the best.
Cast : This is where the film gets interesting. Look at this cast : Conrad Brooks, Joe Estevez, Lloyd Kaufman, Syn DeVil and Robyn Griggs. Wow. For a first attempt at a feature film, it must have been quite the feat to get this many B-list celebrities. Conrad does a great job as one of the lead characters, an infected old man, while the rest are just cameos, but memorable cameos and they all give great performances, especially Estevez.
All in all, not the best, but for a first time try, it's very impressive. Travis Bowen has come a long way since this film. Just check out his second film, Shadows in the Woods, and his newest film The Girl. The man has talent, and there is no doubt of that.
Shadows in the Woods (2006)
Great independent Horror flick with a superb cast !
Shadows in the Woods is actually quite the surprise. You look at the trailer and you think : Oh, no, another micro shlock fest ! But, it is actually a little more than just that. Travis Bowen has created a film that is both a loving throw back to B-movies of the past AND that creates a style all it's own, mixing elements of good vs. evil fantasy stories and elements of classic horror films.
The Story is fairly simple : Years ago, a group of demons and angels did battle on earth. When the lead Angle and the lead Demon killed each other, they were banished from their respective realms, the angels now being turned into vengeful, dark angels. Now, a young girl, her group of friends and her wise Grandfather (Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood's films in a surprisingly very strong supporting part) must survive the return of the creatures.
I think the best way to review this would be to break it all up into sections, so I'll do just that.
Story : Fun and actually very interesting. The characters are memorable, the script has a nice pace and it's just very enjoyable.
Direction : Travis Bowen does what the best he can with what he had, and I think the direction is good, with some very nice camera shots here and there.
Special Effects : The demons look great, for the most part. At times their costumes seemed a little off to me, but the face make-up is great. They look like humanoid reptiles crossed with trees. Bill Bankey did a nice job here. Gore wise, there really isn't much, but there is a decent amount of blood.
Cast : The cast is AMAZING. Let's go through all the big names we got here : Conrad Brooks, Syn DeVil, Lloyd Kaufman, Eric Walker and UK film and television icon Michael Sheard. Most of them are only cameos, except for Conrad who plays the Grandfather and Syn DeVil who plays the angel leader, but Kaufman and Walker do a fine job with what are little more than glorified cameos. This was Michael Sheard's final film performance before passing away. His screen time is limited, but he leaves an impression and he gives a great performance.
Music : I love the soundtrack here. Some of it done by Matt Jefferson, who also appears in the film, and it features some great surf music by Gein and the Graverobbers.
All in all, this is a fun, little B-flick. Travis clearly tried and really cared about the project and it shows. Not for everybody, but if you like this sort of thing, I suggest you give it a watch and support independent cinema.
The Hagstone Demon (2011)
Brilliant, creepy, thoughtful, fun and intriguing. Borchardt is back !
I really must applaud Jon Springer for having the knowhow to make a serious, creepy, indie horror flick in this era where the majority of indie horror efforts attempt to be comedic. I also must applaud him for casting Mark Borchardt from American Movie in the lead role. Borchardt is terrific in his role as a drunken ex-reporter who is plagued and haunted by demonic forces following the death of his wife. The bad reviews on this site are clearly the work of angry trolls, so please ignore them, and check out what might be one of the best indie horror films of the past 10 years. If you miss out on it, you will never forgive yourself.
Zombie Nation (2005)
Honestly, not that bad
Ulli Lommel is actually very talented, his films just don t always play to his advantages. But, he always manages to create an interesting film, even if it may not necessarily be good. As for this film, sure its cheap, sure the story makes no sense, and sure the acting may suck. But its short, entertaining, and its always nice to see David Hess, even if his role is no more than a small cameo. The gore is fine in most respects, but the zombie make-up is incredibly weak, and the main villain just isn't convincing enough to be threatening. Lommel should have tried to convince Hess to play that part instead. In the end, if you walk into this with an open mind, you will find an interesting, short little film. Definitely not the worse, regardless of what the other users here may say.
Corpses Are Forever (2004)
Very fun action-horror flick !
In 2003, Jose Prendes made Corpses are forever, a terribly underrated action-horror flick with a top-notch cast and fun, witty script.
Malcolm Grant (Jose Prendes) is requited by the mysterious General Morton (played by the wonderfully over the top Richard Lynch) to be injected with a formula that will allow him to go through the memories of a serial killer, in order to discover why the earth has been over run by the walking dead !
People need to stop being so mean. This a great flick with a top notch cast, and bad-ass storyline.
Besides Lynch, the film also stars Debbie Rochon (Hanger), Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living dead), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway camp) and the always entertaining Conrad Brooks (Plan 9 from Outer space). Also from Return of the Living dead is Don Calfa, who makes a cameo appearance here as Grants former boss, under the pseudonym Lanc Flododa.
Prendes has so much talent, watching this just makes me want to read all his novels and pic up his othe directorial effort, The Monster Man, which also stars Brooks and Quigley, as well as FX legend Tom Savini. Heres to you Jose, for proving that even the little guy can make one hell of a fun flick.