Gross Movie Reviews #298
By Tim Gross
Behind the Cross (Internet/DVD) – Filmmaker Tomi Kerminen gives horror fans quite a different Finnish film that is more on the edge, a film that is about push the limits and pushing the buttons as it begins with a priest waking up in a field with no eyes. It goes back in time some to explain how he got there. The film is interesting to say the least as it uses more visual cues than dialogue to tell the story of a sadistic individual and what lengths he goes to show his faith in what he believes in. Mr. Kerminen did explain to me that the film is a bit on the artsy side and not for all audiences and that is true but if you are a horror fan that is always looking for something different this film might be worth taking a look at. I give the film 2 ½ out of 4 stars and believe if it had more backstory to the central character this film could be better? And I did enjoy the death by Nailgun scene. If you want to support the film go check it out at: https://www.facebook.com/behindthecrossmovie
Holdout (YouTube) – A short film made for a hundred bucks from a filmmaker Calvin Sang about two friends Taylor and Rick who are trying to wait out the zombie apocalypse. Every day is the same thing. They wake up, try the radio, and kill zombies at 12:30… Nothing different, no one alive, no hope at all. It’s been over 75 days with no human contact until Lisa comes along. I like what the filmmaker did with a hundred dollar budget and the short zombie flick was entertaining as I give it 2 ½ out of 4 stars.
Frankenstein’s Army (Theater) – One of the most anticipated horror films of 2013 was finally released in America and it didn’t disappoint. A group of Russian soldiers are on a recon mission and recording everything at the end of WWII. They are in deep of enemy territory and receive a distress call from a place that doesn’t exist. But when they arrive at the village it literally looks like a ghost town. A few soldiers are sent out to explore not knowing what unspeakable horror that is actually awaiting them. Once the war scenes were out of the way, one of the most bizarre set of scenes and characters are introduced. As we come to find out along with the other soldiers in the group that the filmmaker that is recording there is there for another reason and that is to capture and learn of the secrets of this great mad scientist who has been experimenting with the dead for the Nazis. And his creations are unstoppable killing machine/zombie/cyborgs that only obey him. There is great over the top scenes of gore, effects, and just plain crazy shit going on. But the film seems to be missing something that I could not put my finger on as I watched this fun film. I enjoyed it for what it was but I did keeping asking myself if it would have helped the film’s shock value or entertainment value if it would have been filmed in black and white just to give it that extra lost film feel of WWII that gives credence to the stories of Nazi experiments of building the perfect soldier? But don’t let me stop you from what is a top 10 horror film of 2013 as its wild creature creations are the stars of the film and worth revisiting a second, third, and fourth time. I give it 3 ½ stars.
Wild Beasts (YouTube/VHS) – Another killer animal film that was not only made in Italy but involves a whole fucking zoo that has the animals going crazy because they are all on PCP. Rats attacking a couple having sex, polar bears trying eat kids in a studio, elephants rampaging and stomping ladies’ heads, a tiger attacking a subway, lions mauling security guards, and if that wasn’t enough there is a god damn cheetah chasing a scared woman in her VW Bug and almost catching her. Of course this was one of those environmental horror films from the 80s, but this is a good film in the same vein as William Girdler’s ‘Day of the Animals’ that has been lost as it yet to see any type of VHS reissue, DVD, or Blu-ray treatment. Plus the ending with the kids make the film all worth watching as I give it 3 stars.
The Collective V.6 (DVD) – Jason Hoover, Jabb Pictures, and crew refuse to rest as their latest volume in the series of ten short independent films sharing the same subject. This time around the subject that all the films are about is “FEAR”. First short film is ‘Speechless’ about a man who is scared to do speeches and must do a hundred of them after he loses the love of his life. Second short film is ‘Edible Love’ where a woman is willing to give herself completely a man who she loves after being abused all her life. The third film is ‘Play Me’ about a guy that leaves a DVD in a woman’s mailbox only to tell her she is about to be filmed being tortured. The fourth film ‘Insomniac’ is an interesting short film about a woman who walks the streets killing people to pass the time until she finally can sleep forever. The fifth film ‘I Am No One’ is the most interesting and the best of the bunch and that isn’t because I am a fan of Jason Hoover. It’s mainly because Mr. Hoover yet again proves that he is one of hardest working and talented filmmakers like a Jim Roberts or Robert Elkins that always makes films that seem fresh, fun, and keep you at the edge of your seat. The film is a documentary about a man (Charles Lake) that Jason Hoover follows with the camera and learns to his horror he doesn’t bullshit about being a serial killer that no one has heard about yet? The sixth film is ‘Security Violation’ more in the same vein as recent films ‘The Strangers’, ‘Funny Games’, and even the independent feature that was released earlier this year ‘Hate Crime’. The seventh film I honestly do not have a clue how to explain it or actually remember seeing the title of it, but I wasn’t impressed at all as it felt like it wasted my time. The eighth film is ‘Trepidation’, another fun 80s style looks like it is shot on video film about a couple moving in together and they are possibly haunted by something in the basement. It’s a very clever film… The ninth film is ‘Mercy’ where a filmmaker is carjacked and then buried in the middle of nowhere for money only to be dug up later after he warned the carjacker he has no money and can’t stand tight, closed spaces. Think Tim Matheson in the USA Network film ‘Buried Alive’… The last short film of this fun independent project is ‘Skeleton’ which to me in my opinion is very influenced or inspired by the wrap around story of ‘Creepshow’ as a little girl has a new friend that just happens to kill anyone that has wronged her in some way. Once again all involved should be proud of what they did and Jason Hoover keeps proving he is a filmmaking force to be reckoned with and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a project that breaks out into the mainstream soon? I give the latest ‘Collective’ 3 out of 4 stars and you can support and purchase the film at www.jabbpictures.com .
Bloodmatch (VHS) – An unintentional hilarious kickboxing action flick from 1991 directed by Albert Pyun and stars Tommy Jarvis himself: Thom Matthews. A man kidnaps four people in the first twenty minutes or so of the film only to have them fight him in a ring one by one over his brother getting fucked over five years ago. But problem is it’s not his brother but himself after facial reconstructive surgery… Never mind! I give it 2 stars.
Bullet to the Head (DVD) – A very lackluster action film starring Sly Stallone as a hitman whose partner gets whacked after a deal goes bad and we must suffer through what looks like Stallone just going through the motions. Don’t wanna be disappointed by Stallone’s recent success I would pass on this flick as I give it 1 ½ stars.
Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (DVD) – Asylum Entertainment jumps on the big budget Abe Vamp hunter crazy train with this flick that has Lincoln fighting zombies, meeting Pat Garrett, playing with a kid named Roosevelt, and showing us the real reason he was shot and killed. To be honest the film isn’t great effects wise, but the story kept me interested as they were trying their best to revise history with all sorts of historical figures and what they did in this untold story. The zombie film isn’t going to make any horror fan’s Top 50 list but it is the type of film you grab six, seven friends, a keg of beer, and a shitload of pizza and enjoy the film for what it is. So go enjoy as I give it 2 ½ stars.
976-Evil 2 (VHS/DVD) – A direct-to-video sequel from Jim Wynorski in 1992 that actually looks it had a bigger budget than the original and Wynorski makes sure he uses it all to make an entertaining and not necessary sequel. Patrick O’Bryan returns as Spike still being haunted by the evil phone number who rolls into a college town where a young woman is being haunted by a professor who used the 976-Evil number to help his end game which is apparently for him and only him to eat corn flakes out this young woman’s buckeye! In the meantime, the professor uses his new astral projection powers to kill people who are trying to prove he is the serial killer the cops are looking for. Great motor vehicle stunts, a surprise cameo from Brigitte Nielsen as a shop owner of Lucifer’s, and a very cool scene where the cast of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ turns into zombies in order to kill a young woman. Go hunt this film down horror fans as I give it 2 ½ stars.
Afraid of Sunshine (DVD) – A great concept horror film of vampires and humans at war but eventually finding peace but lacks the budget to fully pull off what I believe Mr. Justin R. Romine was going for. But what lacks in budget is made up for in very well rounded supporting cast of this fun vampire flick. Humans and vampires have been at war for years until one day they come to a treaty, vampire hunters must disband, and the government implants chips into the vampires so they don’t have let’s say the urge to have humans for a snack. 15 years go by and vampires and humans seem to be still at peace that some are even married and living together but there is a rogue vampire hunter named Jonathan who refuses to give up the fight as his parents were killed by vampires. So Jonathan takes it upon himself to track down illegal vampires or ones that refuse to get the chip but still live among humans. Soon Jonathan learns of something much bigger that he never seen coming. This independent vampire film stares itself away from the usual bad clichés that haunt most Indy vampire films and use some of the better elements of such vampire horror films “Underworld, Daybreakers, Blade, etc.” But the best way to describe this film ‘Afraid of Sunshine’ is to say it’s a much scaled back version of ‘The Breed’ starring Adrian Paul quite a few years back, which I enjoyed of course. I believe with $50,000, $75,000 budget this film would only get better and would not mind seeing Mr. Romine and crew if given the chance with more of a budget to remake the film (remember Evil Dead 2 kids). The only other issue with this cool independent vampire film is the lead actor who plays Jonathan (who I believe is the producer of the film also, sorry dude). It isn’t he is bad, it is the role just was not for him as I watched the film I imagined a totally different person playing the character of Jonathan but you do what you need to do when there isn’t as much money as you like when making a film. This independent vampire film shows that Justin Romine and crew are more than capable of making a fun and interesting vampire film that does not rely on the old and overused clichés in order to get a vampire film done. I give the film 3 out of 4 stars and you can find more out about it at www.fatheadfilms.net .
Dead Summer (YouTube) – A short zombie film from Zach De Hart about two friends trying to survive random zombie attacks, random people pooping in houses and not flushing, and dancing zombies. It is a fun watch as I give it 2 ½ out of 4 stars.
Any comments or questions please send to: GrossMovieReview@verizon.net, GrossMovieReview@aol.com or www.facebook.com/grossmoviereviews . Remember folks always support your local independent movie theater, independent video store, and independent filmmakers! It will keep horror alive………
You can always visit and see some past reviews at: www.grossmoviereviews.com !!!
You can purchase my latest book from Library of the Living Dead Press called, “The Big Ass Book of Gross Movie Reviews” at www.amazon.com .
Don’t forget you can also hear Kyle Poling and I talking about horror flicks on a weekly basis on the Bloodbaths and Boomsticks podcast at http://bloodbathsandboomsticks.blogspot.com/
Plus you can always go to the greatest T-shirt place online or if you are in Texas visit the store of “Fast Custom Shirts” where T-shirt Joe is the only place that you can purchase a Gross Movie Reviews t-shirt but also Cannibal Campout, Woodchipper Massacre, and Spookies T-shirts also!!!! Go towww.fastcustomshirts.com for details.