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    Dead Silence (1989)

    Do you dig on flicks with the production value of a camcorder shot video of a ten year old’s birthday party with the narrative and acting chops to match? If you answered “yes” then you are exactly the audience for that most niche of fright flick; the S.O.V. (or shot on video) horror movie (and likely drunk or insane…or insanely drunk, which believe me will only help you in a situation like this). And what do you know; I have one right here! Let’s adjust our tracking and feast our eerie eyeballs on Dead Silence

    Ol’ DS concerns the low impact acting ensconced adventures of a comely journalist named Terri who just so happened to survive an attack by a serial killer. Well, said killer is electrocuted in the electric chair (is there another way to go in that thing?) and before you can say “Horace Pinker’ that mean sumbitch is back from the dead (via the possession of a dumb ass who likes to sing random drunken songs into a tape recorder in a graveyard…yup) and ready to make Terri’s life a real mess. Day drinking, rock n’ roll, and off road car stuntaculars™ ensue!

    As stated in my opening bit of poison prose, this flick is not going to be for everyone. There is absolutely not a single frame of this film that doesn’t look like it wasn’t created by some dude just F’n the F around with the family video camera on a Tuesday. No one can act, the story is cocktail napkin quality, the effects are “special” but not in the way you would desire, you can barely hear or see a damn thing…and I don’t give a singular shit about any of that because this flick has something that I wish every film that darkened my devilish doorstep possessed, and that’s a great big heaping helpin’ of heart!

    Writer/Director  Hugh Gallagher is so obviously a complete and total fan of our beloved horror biz that he absolutely wouldn’t let a tiny little thing like complete ignorance as to how a film is made stand in his way of bringing Dead Silence to the screen. You can’t help but be won over by the film and it’s “can do” spirit, no matter how low rent the whole affair is plus it’s fun, fast paced (and at sixty two minutes how could it not be), and a riot to behold. If you love S.O.V. flicks I can safely say you absolutely need Dead Silence in your collection!

    Speaking of the work of Hugh Gallagher; I had also requested a screener of Gorgasm; his follow up feature…

    Instead I was sent…

    Goregasm (2007)

    Even though this Goregasm was not Gorgasm, far be it from me to turn down a free flick…even when I really, really should have…

    So; Goregasm details the alive after five hijinkjery of a maniac named The Cockface Killer (so named because he has a cock dangling from his face…and that is actually one of the more subtle things in this flick).

    Let’s pause for a moment. Look over there to the right. See that image, you know the one the makers of this film chose to represent their film? Well, that dude murdering that other dude doesn’t appear in the film, hell that victim doesn’t appear either…nor does that chainsaw as far as I recall. And those woods don’t make the scene either. And that too sums up my experience with this film…not only was the film I received not the one I wanted to review, but the god damned box doesn’t even accurately represent the film I actually did receive!

    Anyway, ol’ Cockface goes around murdering folks having sex (at times clearly not simulated…the sex, not the murder). Also involved are some people that work at a porn shop, a doubting detective, and a militant group of female gang members (they are named C.L.A.M. by the way) lead by a bearded lady with a deadly strap-on.

    While pretty amateur, I do have to admit this flick has some good things going for it; there is copious amounts of gore splashed around, the ladies are attractive, and it all has a real Troma vibe about it (I really can’t believe they didn’t release this) with it’s sleazy vibe and locker room larfs. On the negative side, this could have been about ten minutes shorter, and for me at least, a lot of the humor didn’t land.

    Look, if you dig on Toxie or his ilk, you will doubtless enjoy this film. It’s crude and low rent, and it sure as F doesn’t pretend to be anything but what it is (box art notwithstanding). To put it (very) bluntly; if you are on the prowl for boobs and blood this flick will give you your kicks; just don’t expect a straight forward stalk n’ slay affair (or Gorgasm I suppose).

    Chupacabra Territory (2016)

    Want to see a found footage flick involving a famous legendary creature? I really don’t care, because we are going to talk about Chupacabra Territory (a flick that blazingly involves both of those pulse-pounding elements) anyway…

    When four friends, led by a psychic witch (seems cooler than it is) head out to the forest to find the legendary goat sucker they manage to make The Blair Witch Project instead. Don’t believe me? Check out the list of moldy oldies included in this flick; shaky camera, interviews with the locals about “the legend”, lots and lots of walking around with little to no actual creature feature action but plenty of talk, talk, talk, close up on people’s scared faces, more talk, and finally, talk.

    Now as outrageously unoriginal as this whole film is, there are a few bright spots. Some of the acting , in particular that of lead actress Sarah Nicklin is strong, the cameras utilized were a step above most of the cellphones and other assorted junk utilized to bring flicks of this ilk to life, and there’s some nice scenery on display. There’s also a clever sequence where a group of throwaway characters are given the ol’ murder biz as one of our principles tells a preposterous story of  what is happening.

    There really isn’t much else to say about Chupacabra Territory; it isn’t terrible, it isn’t original…it just “is”, but if you love found footage flicks you probably won’t regret the hour and a half you spend watching it (you probably won’t remember it five minutes later either).

    Dark Waters (1993)

    After a lil’ number where a church on a remote island (which seems to be a storage unit for H.P. Lovecraft’s hand-me-downs) is destroyed by rushing water (I do have to stop and mention just how impressive this sequence is) we begin the story proper of Dark Waters. Elizabeth comes to the same island we saw previous (via a stormy boat ride with the world’s foremost Rutger Hauer look-a-like and a chum eating shirtless dude…basically any given Uber ride) looking for a friend. Lucky for her the island isn’t home to a group of flagellating, super-stabby nuns, a diseased artist who paints with blood, and ancient texts filled with mother grabbin’ fish monsters…oh wait…Along for the ride are a blind Mother Superior who looks like she was middle aged when Methuselah was in diapers, hidden family secrets, nuns armed with burning crosses (the Sisters in this film are not to be F’d with), some Evil Dead camera moves, and excellent (and practical) gore and creature effects…in other words sheer horror biz perfection!

    The main thing you have to know about Dark Waters is that it is a slow burn affair containing long sequences where image is more relevant than dialog and nothing but nightmare logic for miles is the order of the day. In other words; it’s an atmospheric pastiche of religious allegory and Lovecraftian (him again!) themes sandwiched between monsters and gorgeous grue…and I loved every F’n minute of it! Director/Co-Writer (along with Andy Bark) Mariano Baino truly knows how to weave a unique, hallucinogenic tale that really aims to please lovers of weird pulp stories while conjuring images worthy of the work of maestros such as Fulci and Argento!

    As great as the feature is, Severin have included so many amazing extras that this release instantly becomes a must have. Don’t believe me; check this shizz out my creeps! Starting things off you get a lively and greatly informative audio commentary from Baino (moderated by No Shame Films producer Michele De Angelis  and ported from a previous DVD release) that takes you through every aspect of the film’s production with nary a pregnant pause to be had! Following that we are treated to a quartet of featurettes that detail specific elements of the production of the film including: the story’s origins in weird pulp fiction and comic books, the challenges of creating the flooding sequence mentioned previously,and  the importance of control for director Baino, before ending with a nearly hour long “making of” style documentary. Following that we get a brief “director’s introduction” to the film, a collection of deleted scenes, and a blooper reel (with commentary from Baino). Finishing of this edition you also get three short films from Mariano Baino, all with optional commentary (and a “making of” for the short Never Ever After), and a music video.

    Look, it’s as simple as this; if you love the work of ol’ H.P. Lovecraft, and the bizzaro sensibilities of Italian genre cinema then you need to add Dark Waters to your collection right F’n now! Mariano Baino is a freaking genius, this movie is the bats knees, and ol’ Severin have hit a haunted home run with this release!

    Speaking of nasty nuns…

    The Other Hell (1981)

    When your film starts off in a secret lab where the embalming of a naughty nun (featuring those hoary old chestnuts genital mutilation and removal…as all good embalmings do) who had a zesty session with Ol’ Scratch is going down…well, you just know you’re off to a real feel good day in ye olde review mines. But fret not, the bountiful blasphemy keeps a comin’ as you are then treated to; a nun graphically experiencing stigmata, bibles bursting into flames, and stock footage of owls (the fuuuuuu??)…all before we get down to the brass tacks of the plot; to wit: a young idealistic priest is called to a convent to investigate a series of grizzly goings-on. The Mother Superior (a scenery chomping turn by Franca Stoppi) gets a wild hair up her ass about this because she’s well aware of (read: involved in directly) the horror biz afoot. In short, the priest believes there’s a rational explanation for everything, but he’s so very F’n wrong. Along the way you get a boiled baby (that in fact doesn’t die but instead uses it’s psychic powers to make a nun commit suicide), a lion’s share of the score to Buio Omega completely stolen and inserted into the film (perhaps Stoppi brought it with her), and 11th hour zombies. Additionally there is a grey wig involved that is so heinous that if you took the bottom of a mop and just plopped it on someone’s head it would be less phony and obvious (and they linger on that thing too…it’s like they’re proud of it, which is nigh-incomprehensible).

    Okay look, Director/Co-Writer Bruno Mattei (Rats: Night of Terror, Hell of the Living Dead) was never known for his subtlety or class, nor is his writing partner Claudio Fragasso (he is responsible for Troll 2 for shit’s sake), but as is my way; I can’t help but love their films, no matter how dodgy the outcome may be. That being said, The Other Hell is a pretty rock solid fright flick; sure it’s sleazy and tasteless (thankfully), but it’s also filled with fantastic nightmarish visuals (those corridors of hanging dolls!), uneasy atmosphere, off-kilter characters (the “faceless nun, and genre vet Franco Garofalo as a deranged groundskeeper) and some great sets/locations and lighting (the Bava influence is strong).

    In the negative column, as is often the case in Italian cinema, an animal just “has” to die on film (in this case a chicken gets decapitated). I hate this element of spaghetti sin-ema, and I will always call it out when I come across it.

    Along with the feature presentation, you also get a smattering of eerie extras on this Blu release, chief among them a commentary track featuring Fragasso (recorded in Italian and presented subtitled in English). Also included are archival interviews with actors Franca Stoppi and Carlo De Mejo, as well as Director Mattei. Rounding things out is the film’s trailer.

    Poultry problems aside, The Other Hell is one hell of  a fright flick; it’s offensive, gory, and packed fat with supernatural shenanigans…in other words, pick this release up post-haste!!

    Whoa,would you look at that, barely finished with my appointed revoltin’ reviews, and the Director of the new practical effects laden monster mash Root of Darkness; Gustav Ljungdahl just strolled into the Crypt o’ XIII!

    Daniel XIII: Please fill in the ol’ Coffin Club as to how you came to be involved in the horror biz!

    Gustav Ljungdahl: I wanted to make monsters in movies as a kid and due to the lack of monster films being made I decided after watching Bad Taste [that] I can also do this, because being a big fan of comedy and horror it was a good starting point.

    Daniel XIII: What fright flicks are your favorites, and how have they influenced you?

    Gustav Ljungdahl: Oh there are many movies, but my absolute favorite movie I have seen many times is Die You Zombie Bastards; it is so ridiculous and fun. When it comes to more horror stuff I really like the dragged out horror movies like Evil Dead and The Exorcist where it takes a long time between the sound to the punishing/scare.

    Daniel XIII: How did the story come about for your feature Root of Darkness?

    Gustav Ljungdahl: Root of Darkness’ story was a joke that got out of hand and started living its own life. Jesper (my partner in crime) and I were joking “What if Ingmar Bergman made a horror movie… how ridiculous would it sound when the characters talked?” After an anthology project we were supposed to be involved in got canceled, we modified Root of Darkness after I watched almost all of Ingmar Bergmans movies while writing the first draft to get the old Swedish dialog right. Then we actually found out that Ingmar Bergman did a horror movie and it was so close to our original idea, so we did a rewrite as to not look like so much of a rip off. Instead of phobias becoming real, we made it monsters.

    Daniel XIII: What challenges did you face bringing the flick to screen?

    Gustav Ljungdahl: Well, the big challenge to start with was money…but the whole idea was also to make a movie out of the stuff we had in store ( like my grand parents stuff) so it was no problem doing a movie set in 1977 movie due to the [fact] there was so much old stuff. The biggest challenge was actually the weather; that was not in our favor many times. Snow got more and more problematic by the end of the filming, and the last shot we needed to do we took all the stuff we needed to film and drove until we found a snow free spot.

    Daniel XIII: Root of Darkness is loaded with good ol’ practical effects. What do you feel creating effects in that manner offers a film?

    Gustav Ljungdahl: I do practical effects, but I got behind on [learning] a lot of stuff as I did not have decent internet until 2007…it was a bit difficult to look up things, so I had to invent a lot. I do feel that I am in the right time to do movies that market themselves by having practical effects…I think cgi is great, it is an amazing too,l but for this movie that is set in 1977 practical effects give it the look it needs.

    Daniel XIII: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell my readers about?

    Gustav Ljungdahl: Yes I have a movie coming in October 2017. It is a bloody satire movie made with crappy puppets called Social Media Massacre!

    Daniel XIII: Where can my faithful fiends follow you online?

    Gustav Ljungdahl. On Facebook and my Youtube channel!

    Daniel XIII: Fangs for jawin’ with us Gustav!

    Daniel XIII
    Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

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