Archive for » March, 2008 «

Monday, March 31st, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Live from Indianapolis at the March Horror Hound Weekend 2008, the BGH crew podcasts together (as opposed to over Skype) for the first time from our hotel at the convention. In the show we discuss strange celebrity sightings from over the weekend, catching up with old friends and getting a chance to check out “Inside” and “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer”.

Check it out!

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Sunday, March 30th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Midnight Muenster

Ladies and Gentlemen, Midnight Muenster is on the air.

Check it Out.

For those of you that have been hanging with us for awhile, you may remember Irreconcilable Differences featuring Colleen and Myself. After spending some time with the folks at BlogTalk Radio, we felt it was time to branch off on our own to give you a more entertaining, informative, and dynamic show. Hence, Midnight Muenster is born!

Midnight Muenster will be a weekly podcast starring Myself and Colleen once again. It will be dedicated to direct to video horror features, independent horror features, cult flicks, obscure, and classics.

Look for full episodes every Sunday Night, with updates here on Cinema Fromage.com!

Excited? Let us know! Email us at cinemafromage@gmail.com! If you are a director, producer, or PR Firm wanting to have your DVD reviewed on Midnight Muenster, we’re happy to help! Again, email us for details!

Thanks, and enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

It’s My Party

It’s My Party And I’ll Die if I want To

Sarah’s a happy little horror nerd normally, but today she’s a bit down. You see, it’s her birthday and nobody remembered. What’s a sad girl to do on a Friday night when nobody remembered to invite her out for a birthday celebration? Go home and do some karate of course. Fear not though, her friends didn’t truly forget. No no, they decided to throw her a surprise Halloween party! The problem is, they decided to hold the party in the Burkitt Manor, the former home of an 1800′s steel baron who snapped and mutilated his family.

Low low budget horror often comes and goes but seldom sticks. There’s always some good ideas, yet they’re always mired in numerous problems be them plot holes, bad acting or shoddy effects. I’ll always give them a fair shake, most of these people are looking for a foothold to get their step up; unfortunately that often bites me in the ass. In the case of ‘It’s My Party’, I was quite happy to find myself pleasantly surprised.

‘It’s My Party’ has similar downfalls to others in it’s genre; it often feels like you’re watching a camcorder recording and sometimes, it’s just plain too dark to catch the details of what’s going on in the background. These downfalls are trumped though; decent acting from people most likely not getting paid, highly enjoyable gore effects (when you can see them) and writing that is both entertaining and a fun throw back to the 80′s make this one a fairly fun little flick.

The story is straight forward, there’s not a lot of twists and turns to factor in. People party it up in an old house with a scary little history, people die. In today’s trend of twists and surprises it’s nice to be able to settle back and turn the brain off, to simply watch a story. At times the movie starts to feel a bit stretched, perhaps a bit slow, but there’s some kind of ghoulie waiting in the wings to jump out and take care of that for you. This makes these slower parts easy to over look. Not to mention that the actors involved, while not top shelf, still turn in a fun performance and help to keep you interested in the antics going on in the house. Throw in a nice cameo from Tom Savini and the cast is rounded off quite nicely.

What proves to be the highlight of ‘It’s My Party’ is the gore effects that they managed to put together on such a small budget. Blood, guts, clots & gouts, they’re all there and framed rather nicely. My personal favorite, when old man Beckitt caved in a skull with a meat tenderizer in the opening flash back, made me laugh aloud with a small ‘oooo sweet!’ muttered under my breath. Through out the movie, you can see the directors love of the genre and the makeup side of things. Shots linger on gooey bits flung here and there, and extra special attention is given to those scenes involving monsters and deaths. When the revelers show up in forth to get the party started proper? Good times indeed as we catch fleeting glimpses of carnage and buckets of blood as viewed from outside the house.

Sure, ‘It’s My Party’ isn’t a blockbuster. It’s a no-budget feature shot on a shoestring and a dream. In the end, it doesn’t matter though because they managed to turn that shoestring into an engaging and fun little flick that is a nice homage and a genre stand out of its own. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll have a good time. Bringing out the nostalgia, it reminds me a lot of ‘Night of the Demons’ and that ain’t nothing but good.

They’d win a lot more votes if they could use those awesome effects skills to recreate that Linnea Quigley lipstick scene though.

4 Kung Fu Fighting Elvira Red Heads out of 5

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Monday, March 24th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week we take an in-depth look at why the latest Asian horror remake “Shutter” is so aggressively mediocre, while managing to praise it on a few minor points. Plus, we try and brainstorm what it would take to put some much needed life into these limp remakes. It was a slow news week but we manage to cram a few news stories in too, and have a brief discussion on the box office juggernaut that is “Horton Hears a Who”…

Check it out!

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Thursday, March 20th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Tooth and Nail

Tooth and Nail

Human civilization as we know it is coming to a close. Humans are dying off, they’re evacuating our formally highly populated cities. Some however have chosen to hang back and start a new life, a new civilization. Such is the case with Darwin, a mild mannered professor with his own plans to rebuild society. Together with his small group of hand picked ‘useful’ survivors, they’ve laid claim to an empty hospital to start their new community. All is peachy keen until the the arrival of the Rovers. The Rovers have their own plans for a new society, one that involves feeding on other humans to get the meat that they so love.

Man, a post-apocalyptic flick starring Vinnie Jones, Louis Skulnick (Robert Carridine), and Michael Madsen? Sign me up, this shit’s gotta be off the hook! At least that’s what I was hopping as I approached the DVD player. Mixed emotions while still managing to feel fairly entertained is what I got.

‘Tooth and Nail’ has some great elements to it. The story is interesting and engaging and poses a new twist on the end of the world scenario. As a matter of fact, they tell you exactly that at the beginning of the movie. As engaging as this story is, there are some pretty major holes that I struggled with despite the fact that they at least tried to explain these holes. That is to say, they were at least aware of their issues and made the effort to patch them up. Still, I’m a sucker for anything taking place at the end of days so it was fairly easy for me to brush these off and move on. There are some other interesting tidbits here, such as the unexplained fact that every body has dropped their normal monikers and adopted car names. With out trying to spoil too much, the fall of mankind involved gasoline which in turn ignited world wide panic. There’s a little something to be said about our culture and it’s worship of the automobile, etc. by insinuating that everybody would adopt car names in their absence.

There is a strong sense here that ‘Tooth and Nail’ wants more than anything, to be the second coming of ‘Mad Max’. With the Rovers shabby looking costumes of mixed pieces of leather, fur, and chain mail, they try for the ‘savage warrior’ look but manage to mainly look like rodeo clowns. Michael Madsen’s wearing chaps for christ sake. Despite their silliness, the director throws in some other tidbits the flesh them out. You get a decent back story on their origins, you catch glimpses of their use of old fashioned horn commands to direct the troops, and they managed to unleash some pretty decent violence as well. Thankfully, none of them have mohawks, or chains on their faces! Overall, a decent bad guy to have in this setting if a little over the top.

The biggest fault lying within Tooth and Nail is that they fail to use the big names they have on hand to their full extent. We have Vinnie Jones and Michael Madsen as bad guys. You don’t get much better luck than that for genre flicks. Do we get long loving scenes of these two experts doing their madman schtick? Unfortunately, no; both have brief cameos leaving wishing for more. Robert Carridine however does have a beefier part in the role of Darwin, the professor starting the commune of survivors, which he handles well. The character is believable with a touch of menace as you sense that he may have grander plans that do not necessarily include the other survivors. There are some interesting dynamics going on in this group; Dakota is sleeping with Darwin which causes issues with the others. They voice their ill wills and complaints to Dakota in hopes they get back to Darwin. It’s slightly complex, just enough to help flesh out the characters. Otherwise, the acting was decent enough to pass although at times it was a bit over the top. The biggest culprit? Nicole Duport; while the tension was high, the action rolling, she was spot on and solid. When it came time to slow down for the drama however, she became ham handed and lost some of her magic.

There were a few other minor flourishes that caught my train of thought. For one, the sound work on this flick was pretty damn good. There is a scene late in the movie showing a Rover filing his teeth into points. The sound was so tight on this it made every hair on my body stand on end. The grating sound was so real I could feel it in the roots of my teeth! As well, while the gore was light, the kills were at least interesting. Many times they would attack the spine of their victims to disable them, keeping the meat fresh for longer. Smart thinking and a minute detail that stood out. On the other end of the spectrum, there were two totally useless sex scenes packed in here that really made no sense. I love sex scenes as much as the next guy; they just weren’t needed here and added zero to the story as a whole. And finally, there is a moment where ‘Tooth and Nail’ totally jumps the shark, and it’s in the final ten minutes of film. As Dakota prepares to enact her revenge on the Rovers, we get a long and drawn out scene of her in a bath room. Just when you think she’s got her self psyched up, she busts out the war paint and starts to paint her face. I shit you not. From there, you can’t help but snicker the entire time as this young girl with tiger stripes painted on her face lays waste to a room full of punks. Totally killed what mood they had built! At least she looked pretty hot with it on.

‘Tooth and Nail’ is my first foray into the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest films. It’s an interesting flick with good values, yet there are still some issues that cause to flounder slightly. Regardless, if you’re a fan of the post-apocalyptic it’s just different enough to make it fresh; slower paced, less frenetic, and a different twist on the end of the world. It’s worth a watch for Vinnie and Madsen’s short stints as well as a story you don’t hear every day.

3.5 tiger chicks out of 5

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Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Sickhouse

The Sick House

Anna is a young archaeologist who has made the find of her career; an old hospital, built atop an even older orphanage that dates back to the times of the plague. The problem is, the powers that be fear that opening the foundations of this old orphanage could create the dawn of the plague in the new era. Turns out they were close, because something darker lurks beneath as Anna starts to find connections between the orphanage and records of unexplained child deaths.

Gina Phillips, star of the truly wonderful genre fest ‘Dead & Breakfast‘ comes back once again with another attempt at a starring horror role. The pictures and story contained on the back of the box look promising; plague doctors, ghost children, the works. Too bad the movie contained within doesn’t quite live up to the imagery on the packaging. That’s not to fault Gina however. Ms. Phillips does a very nice job conveying her character, her fears, and her archaeologist-ness; there’s just not a lot there for her to work with. Or perhaps too much of it.

One of the biggest faults I found with ‘Sick House’ was that it ran on far too long. Yes, there’s a story lying underneath it all to be told, but by the time the last twenty minutes roll around all I could do was hope that it would be over soon. There is a lot of good elements here; ghosts, some gore, some of the plot. The problem is that it’s all through together in a large messy jumble that’s hard to follow. There’s a subplot with four teens that wander into the hospital after nasty car wreck. As you can imagine, these four are all dealt with in time all in some what spectacular and gory fashion. However, we only get a quick glimpse in the final stages of act three as to what their deaths meant and that they were symbolic. By the time this point came to light, I didn’t really give a shit.

The other outlying issue, perhaps the one that made me pay little attention above all else, is the use of what I call the ‘MTV Jerky Cam’. Whenever the ghosties should up to wreak some havoc, the camera man went into convulsions. Sure, it lends a certain aesthetic to the scene, been when it goes so far to actually obscure what is happening in the scene, the point is lost. If I could have gotten a good look at what Mr. Plague Doctor was doing, I would have bothered to been more scared. Add to this the four annoying teens that I was ready to watch die shortly after their entrance and you can see why this one was so hard to watch.

‘The Sick House’ contains good acting from Gina Phillips, some good elements of horror. Unfortunately it’s all thrown together in a bit of a jumbled mess that makes it hard to sit through, and frankly rather boring by the end. I couldn’t honestly tell you what exactly happens at the end, simply because I don’t really remember. It’s too foggy since I tuned out a good twenty minutes before hit finally happened.

2.5 Plague Doctor Ghosts will put you to sleep, literally out of 5

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Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

The crew goes in-depth on Neil Marshall’s latest film “Doomsday”, takes pretentious critics to task for missing the point entirely on the film, and explores the bizarre google searches that have led people to our site.

Plus, DVD releases, box office and Horror movie news.

This episode is being sponsored by Horse Bites Design. Visit them online at www.horsebitesdesign.com for all of your graphic design needs.

Call our voicemail line at 206-600-6576 to have your voice heard on the show!

Click here to check it out!

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Wednesday, March 12th, 2008 | Author: Casey Criswell

Carver

A group of twenty somethings head out to Halcyon Ridge for a weekend camping trip. All seems normal as the foursome meets up and sets up camp. Upon arriving at the camp site, they are first greeted by the friendly bar proprietor of the small town who talks them into cleaning out his cabin in exchange for a night of free drinks. Moving along, they then meet a young girl at the camp site who’s friend has turned up missing. Banding together, they head to the cabin to knock out their new found task. All is well as the begin to clean until someone makes the discovery of a stack of film reels and an old projector. Contained within is what appears to be a crappy horror flick of people being mutilated in the woods. It’s not long thereafter that they realize that the films may in fact not be fictional…

Pseudo-snuff flicks are a dime a dozen so it’s hard to make yours stand out from the others. “Carver” is no exception although thankfully the snuff film aspect is not the main focus. It’s a plot point sure, but most of the good stuff happens sans camera. Once again, slasher flicks are dime a dozen as well although they don’t require quite the extra shine that something more specialized such as a snuff film would require; there’s a strong chance we’re all here reading reviews of these movies because of slasher flicks in the first place. We know what we like, we want more of what we like. It’s for this reason that “Carver” becomes a bit of a mixed bag of both good and bad.

From the start, the overwhelming factor that hits the viewer first is ‘god damn, that kid is whiny as hell, when’s he going to shut up?’ It takes awhile for it get better from there. Most of the acting is competent enough to separate these actors apart from the High School drama club, but beyond that…no. Most of the dialog feels forced and ham handed as our gang of idiots tromp through the woods to get to their camp site. The problem here is that this introductory first act meanders too long forcing you to eyeball the fast forward button with a light snack look; anything to get through it quicker. Even as they meet up with the random woman sharing their spot, things don’t really improve. The girl, telegraphed as being our ‘main girl’ as soon as we meet her, is not the most charismatic spoon in the drawer. From a painful looking smile to bored delivery, none of it helps.

Things fail to pick up until we trudge through to the karaoke scene at the local redneck bar. To this point, we were at risk of saying the hell with it and shooting myself in the foot to get out of a viewing. Thankfully, with the sight of the bar denizens things were bound to pick up. You ever imagine what it would be like if your parents were bar-flys? Not a drunken and disheveled version of your parents…your parents just as the are; khaki Dockers, button up shirt, mom jeans pulled up past the belly button, poofy hair? Well, now your questions are answered. The bar in ‘Carver’ is packed full of them. Sure, it’s a minor point but with all the work it took to get through the movie to this point, I’ll take any chance I can get for a good laugh.

Now, I mentioned that the movie begins to get better at this point, and it does. Now is the time for the arrival the rotund man child who stars in all of the snuff films stored in the shed. He’s a big boy with a violent streak and once he shows up to work his magic, the movie finally begins to shine. The sole good things to mention in this one all surround the work of the killer. Mumbling, bumbling, and rather quiet, he makes handy work out of everything from vice grips to wood saws to get his point across. “Carver” contains one of the first cringe worthy scenes of 2008 surrounding a pair of vice grips, an out house, and a testicle. In full gooey detail. Ouch indeed, and the effects were handled well. Anything that Bubba lays waste to was handled well. Good gore effects all around, and even the writing takes a turn for the better. The one thing that made me like the second act of this so much? There are twists and turns here that you’re not really expecting. Most movies telegraph everything from the beginning; “Carver” goes pretty far to prove your assumptions wrong.

A slow start, and strong finish, “Carver” is a crap shoot. I can’t outright tell you to go watch it as many of you might not have the same tolerance as I do for shoddy cinema. Still, there’s a gem at the bottom of the turd pile here and makes it worth digging through the first couple layers. You’ll find a little bit to enjoy, I can promise you that.

2.5 testicle clamps out of 5

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