This website is dedicated to horror movies (independent and mainstream), beer, Full Moon, Spookies, Graveyard Shift, Leprechaun sequels, massacre films and watching every god damn horror film ever made or die trying!
This energetic, talented actor, director, overall cool human being has been one of my favorite and possibly most interesting people I have had the pleasure meeting over the years. You may know him from one of the best Indy “massacre” films ever made in “Pool Party Massacre”. But he also has parts in recent projects such as: The Barn 2, Amityville Hex, Scare Me, and Slashlorette Party as Grossfest is honored to have Drew Marvick as a guest.
This talented newcomer to the filmmaking community busted onto the scene with a film not only shot on video but prefers the process and has already carved a niche into the scene with their first big project “Spirit Animal”. Now they are about to rock the boat of Indy filmmaking again with their latest “Bathtub Shark Attack”! I dare you to say there is a bigger supporter of SOV films and shark films out there? So with great pleasure we will be having Madeline Deering as a guest.
This filmmaker is a quiet, talented fellow that I have known for many years and have had the pleasure watch him grow and learn with his films. I get super excited when this individual has a new release because I know it’s gonna be gory, fun, and possibly a little disturbing. He might be best known for such titles: Welcome to Deer Creek, Tonight You Die, What’s Wrong With Mom?, and Happy Hour Holocaust . But the I believe the Indy world is about to be blown away by this filmmaker’s most complete feature to date with “Then My Mind Walked Away” as we enjoy knowing Jim Roberts will be joining Grossfest as a guest.
Now this dude is excellent and his career has spanned a few decades where he started in a little role for a little film called “The Dead Next Door”. From there he was in such titles: Robot Ninja, The Sandman, Polymorph, Killer Campout, Frames of Fear 3, Deathboard, Hell Van just to name a few. But recently has really made an impact as a director with titles: Her Name is Christa and Brimstone Incorporated! We believe Grossfest fans will enjoy his presence and we are happy to announce James L. Edwards as a guest.
Now yinz know we cannot have a Grossfest unless we have this individual as a guest? This director, actor, producer, has given Indy fans such fun titles as: Basic Slaughter, The Slasher Hunter, Everyone Must Die!, Super Task Force One, and then showed off his talent even more when he broke through with not just his “Meowy” series but his “CarousHell 1 and 2” breaking into the mainstream! This multi-talented star is on the edge of going global but always has time for us folks at Grossfest as usual we enjoy knowing we have Steve Rudzinski as a guest.
Over the past decade Mr. Clevenger has had a variety of roles through several Indy projects but also is a director, producer, etc. It isn’t often someone can make waves with one Indy film project and if I could point out a film that in our opinion is why we wanted him as a guest for Grossfest it is his first directed feature 2018’s “People to Kill” starring the very talented Erin Ryan. That film stands out big time when we discuss independent films over the years and take our word on it… It will stick with you as you get to meet this very cool individual who we are happy to have as a guest at Grossfest, Mr. Adam Scott Clevenger.
1) CarousHell the 2nd (DVD) – Independent filmmaker Steve Rudzinski gave us crazy Indy horror fans ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ with his first entry ‘CarousHell’, five years later Steve figured out a way with the sequel to give us ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. And if yinz get that reference then you know you are in for one hell of a ride with this project. Our famous killer carousel unicorn Duke, is back and it begins with Nazis as Duke has just found out he has a son he nothing about. Duke learns about Robbie and tries to make amends but Duke’s past catches up with him as the Third Reich is still pissed their experiment is running free in America. These immortal Nazis want revenge against their former Alpha Solider and will stop at nothing to get their revenge even if it means kidnapping Duke’s hybrid son. Now if you just tuned into this review wondering what the hell you are reading well ‘CarousHell’ and its sequel are the ultimate weirdo horror films that really cannot be classified as anything else but “weird” and that is what makes it wonderful! This sequel reminds me of the spirit of the ‘Basket Case’ sequels where Steve is giving you the viewer something completely unexpected or at least me? Yes, there is still a carousel horse sex scene, some fine gore spots, absolutely wonderful acting from Aleen Isley, Terrence Cover, Rebecca Reinhart, and Joshua Anton just to name a few actors with perfect performances that had me laughing and entertained from beginning to end! This latest creation from Mr. Rudzinski would not surprise me at all to propel his career or at least a few phone calls from Hollywood as I give the film 4 out of 4 stars and you will be seeing it in my “Top 5 movies of 2021” for sure! All I ask Steve remember us little people… and send beer! Now congrats on one fucking awesome movie!
2) Slaxx (Shudder) – Libby is a young lady who is lucky enough to be starting a new job at a super popular clothing store “CCC”. The store is all about a better tomorrow using experimental cotton for their new killer jeans “Super Shapers”! These pants are amazing as they will fit male or female, overweight or underweight and make you look wonderful. Unaware the employees who try to see how the jeans fit before anyone else get murdered by the experimental pants as they want revenge. To compound the problem once Libby and employees figure this out the store is on lockdown and makes it impossible to call authorities in. On the other hand Libby’s manager is all about saving the store so he can be promoted and sell the shit out of these jeans when morning hits no matter how many people die. The film has some inventive kills, touches upon a lot of millennial themes, and at about the 40 minute mark the film goes completely bonkers which just excited me! Where films like the overrated ‘Rubber’ and lackluster ‘Killer Sofa’ fail, ‘Slaxx’ puts on a show as I give one of the best films of 2021, 4 stars.
3) Benny Loves You (On Demand) – Meet Jack, a 35 year old who lives with his parents and is a junior toy designer whose parents still celebrate Jack’s birthday as if he was a child. But this year is different as the parents die accidentally while preparing for his birthday. Nothing is going right for Jack so now alone he decides he wants to improve his life and this means getting rid of everything including his childhood toy that he still has. The toy’s name is Benny and doesn’t like it too much he is about to be thrown out but also wants Jack to be happy again? From here Jack is sent into a downward spiral of death and despair as anyone that comes to the home or Jack doesn’t like Benny slices and dices them. As the bloodbath ensues in a weird way Benny helps Jack get his job back with new designs based on Benny… The horror film is a wonderful insane oddity of gore that needs to be witnessed as this will be one of the best horror films I will watch in 2021 and for that I give it 4 stars.
4) Movies to Watch on a Rainy Afternoon: The Cannibals and Zombies Collection (DVD) – Addison Binek is riffing a collection of movies again but these are not just any movies… They are zombie and cannibal movies! What makes this a unique rough ride is Addison takes you through some the lesser known, grittiest, maybe even crappiest off the wall flesh-eating hilarity you have ever witnessed. You’ll laugh, you will most likely cry over what Addison and you will sit through but it will be fun as I give this collection 4 stars as usual.
5) Lost in Cleveland (YouTube) – Steve Rudzinski’s latest short film about Ben and Blake who are “business partners” that travel to Cleveland for a movie gig? Ben is the actor and Blake is the partner that wanted to come along but bored as his partner can be out for long hours or days at a time during these movie shoots. Blake meets Steve the filmmaker while lurking around sadly around the hotel. The two hit it off immediately and discuss how they are very similar in how they view their relationships right now and decide to spend lots of time together. This 19 minute short is brilliant and for Indy fans who have not seen any of Steve’s past work this would be a great introduction to Steve Rudzinski and BPO films project libraries as they are some of the best talent the Indy film world has to offer as I give this 4 out of 4 stars! This and more can be found at www.silverspotlightfilms.com .
6) People to Kill (DVD) – Apparently this was Adam S. Clevenger’s first effort out as he wrote and directed this interesting thriller. Shawn and two brothers still live and hang with their father as their mother died five years ago after reading about the “Lullaby Killer”. The family still trying to move on has their usual squabbles and Shawn gets a lot of the blame from his father. Shawn runs a Star Trek themed store called “Starbase”. This makes for some hilarious scenes with the customers and Shawn’s father while Shawn runs for coffee. Along the way he helps out the local hooker (Erin R. Ryan) who has an issue with her pimp. Shawn felt the need to step in as he has seen her every day for the past few months hanging out near his store. They quickly strike up a friendship and things get very complicated as that is about all I can say as a major twist happens. I didn’t exactly see this twist coming maybe you will but either way this film is an absolute gem of an independent feature. Mr. Clevenger wrote an excellent script, and casted an excellent group of actors that should be applauded for pulling off a great performance. Erin R. Ryan is always a wonderful presence on screen but all involved were equally great. There was only one thing bad that I could say about the film and that is the length (2 hours and 14 minutes). Now most cases there isn’t enough story to fill 70, 80, or even 90 minutes but this surprisingly had it but felt the 20 minute strip club could have been cut down. I totally understand why it wasn’t edited because there is some important dialogue that happens but felt at some point Adam could have moved on. If this was Adam’s first effort out then count me in for the future as I can see some entertaining stuff coming this dude as I give this must have film 3 ½ out of 4 stars. Good chance this shows up on my “Best of 2021 watched list”.
7) Bloody Hell (DVD) – Rex just so happens to live in Boise, Idaho, just trying to hit on the cute bank teller at his bank until a robbery happens and that is where Rex’s life changes. Instead just lying down giving up his money Rex having military training decides he can kick some ass or at least that is what his other self that Rex speaks to on a regular basis convinces him of doing. Problem is Rex gets 8 years for wrongful death even though he is considered a hero by most around town. Eight years later, Rex gets released from prison and decides he wants out of Boise and wants a fresh start in Finland. Problem Rex’s life only gets worse as he is kidnapped by a weird ass family who feeds their inbred monster son and now has Rex hanging up in their basement missing part of his leg. Once Rex calms down a bit his inner self and he come up with a plan to escape and kill the family! I absolutely enjoyed this flick as it reminded me of a ‘Hardcore Henry’ and I talk to myself way too much because I work alone way too much, anyway I give this film 4 stars all the way for giving a horror fan something fun, strange, and well-crafted.
8) The Body Snatcher (DVD) – This wonderful 1945 feature has the likes of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in a film that might be my new favorite of Karloff’s for mere reason his character and performance. The film is set 1831 Edinburgh where a doctor’s assistant learns from his teacher that fresh corpses are brought to them from the local graveyard by a mysterious cabbie who knows the doctor all too well. Mr. Fettes tries to ignore the weirdness between the good doctor and the cabbie Gray but involves himself when he takes an interest in a little girl that cannot walk but the good doctor is willing to try if there is a fresh corpse to study before surgery? Not a monster film unless you consider humans the monster as it shows how sinister humans can be for their own goals! Loved Boris Karloff’s performance as I put this with Vincent Price’s in ‘The House on Haunted Hill’ if you pay attention to that sort of thing as I give the film 4 stars.
9) Feaster Sunday (YouTube/DVD) – A not so typical independent holiday horror film where a man, Dr. Gideon Lear is putting forth his best effort to put on “The Passion” play at the community theater that hasn’t happened in twenty years. Lear wants perfection out of his actors as he explains in his recent interview with Eddie from the local Public Access Channel. Neither Lear nor his actors seem to be too concerned with the history of the play as “the show must go on”. Meanwhile Eddie sees someone he knows among the actors, Tess, and they reconnect after Tess is dropped by her boyfriend Reen because he needs his full attention on playing Jesus. As time goes on actors for the play disappear, warnings for the play “not to go on” are ignored, and Dr. Lear begins his struggle to keep the production together. There is a whole lot of crazy going on in this flick that just made me giddy to watch! Wonderful casting choices (Dave Parker as the original Jesus, brilliant), great script, cool puppets, and a low budget production that felt bigger than it was should get some mainstream respect as I give this excellent production 3 ½ out of 4 stars.
10) Brimstone Incorporated (DVD/Vimeo) – An interesting low budget anthology film directed by Indy vets James L. Edwards and Brad Twigg. The three stories are straight forward serious horror stories which are usually hard to pull off in the low budget world but this crew did it as the titles are: First Date, Mama’s Boy, and Skunkweed. And the wraparound story is called Temper and Associates but we will get to that in a bit. Without spoiling too much First Date gets a little uncomfortable (watch for the kiss you’ll understand), second story Mama’s Boy is not exactly what you think it is which makes it a pleasant surprise, and the third story is about a man who may have been given bad weed? Or was it? But the most interesting thing was the wraparound story as these days seems to be a throw away in the Indy world in my opinion. But these fine filmmakers took a cue possibly from 70s British anthologies and made the wraparound their strength as a character from each story is being reviewed by Gregory to decide where they will fit in “down here or in the corporation”. The Gregory character was actually my favorite thing of the anthology but this film is based more on the great performances from the actors than just throwing gallons of blood and gore against the wall. This is an anthology I will be pointing out to people for years to come as this cast was one of the best I seen for an Indy anthology in years. So if you are looking for a great not subpar Indy anthology look no further than this new feature Mr. Edwards and Mr. Twigg as I give it 3 ½ out of 4 stars.
Notable films of 2021:
The Manson Brothers Midnight Zombie Massacre (On Demand) – Well I gotta say this was an unexpected fun horror gem about a wrestling tag team in New Mexico wrestling called “The Manson Brothers”. This rugged tag team has been around for three decades now and knows all the ins and outs of independent wrestling feds. After a well-received tag match they are offered a big money cage match at midnight on Halloween. Of course they say yes but that is only part of the story as things get weird as some of the wrestlers have been taking some of the Chinese HGH to stay big for the ring. Now to complicate the issue with wrestlers taking the HGH and causing a zombie issue, there is a horrible hurricane that has locked down everything! So The Manson Brothers must fight their way through a horde of flesh eaters inside the wrestling building and forget about the main event. The movie has lots of great zombie gore gags, wonderful story telling (someone knows some of the behind the scenes stuff of wrestling), and the supporting cast in D.B. Sweeny, Mindy Robinson, and Randy Couture make this an unexpected horror gem and would love to see a sequel if it is done with the same spirit and passion this project was as I give it 3 ½ stars.
Beyond Dark Dreams (DVD) – So apparently independent filmmaker Joseph Russio lost this film about six years ago and only recently finished it when he found all the footage for it again. He may have lost it because this film will fuck with your mind! Russio wrote and directed this feature about a writer putting himself in an old dark house so he can get past his writer’s block… maybe? After a investigating a couple odd noises in the house that makes the writer more fascinated with the house than his writing he comes back to a needle full of green stuff? So of course the writer introduces this unknown drug into his system in hopes of inspiration or the next life. We as does the writer from here witnesses acts of cruelty, the macabre, and the truly bizarre. When it ends I believe the movie allows you to decide if it was all a dream, it really did happen to the writer, or Joseph just giving us a mindfuck of a film that really has no ending that lets you be the judge? I was super confused as it ended but was happy I got to watch this quite odd independent film that had wonderful music, production, and a story I can see people talking about even a few years from viewing it as I give the film 3 out of 4 stars.
Werewolves Within (DVD) – Beaverfield is a small mountain town that needed a new forest ranger who went missing recently and Finn Wheeler is the man for the job. Finn is transferred and is getting the lay of the land by the cute postal woman who takes him around town. Finn believing his first day after the transfer was a breeze wakes up to the small community upset by a missing dog and talk of a monster or werewolf eventually. Finn thinking it’s all a misunderstanding has just stepped into a ’30 Days of Night’ style situation but with werewolves. They all believe safety is in numbers but that does not stop the werewolf from feasting on the community all held up in the Mansion Inn. Ranger Finn now must figure out who the werewolf inside the mansion is or he will be the next meal in this murder/mystery comedy with a good amount of gore. Great characters, great build up, and potential to be watched by viewers multiple times as one of their recent favorites as I give this flick 3 ½ stars.
Beyond the Valley of Belief Volume One and Two (Blu-ray) – Independent actor/writer/filmmaker Brian Papandrea, has issued a Blu-ray collection that has both titles of ‘Beyond the Valley of Belief’ that gives you around 2 ½ hours of Jonathan Fritz goodness! Jonathan Fritz is a TV host/former alcoholic who plans to take you through a few tales of Halloween darkness. When it is over you the viewer must decide if it was real or fake? Fritz starts off serious and the program comes off like Leonard Nimoy’s ‘In Search Of’ or even the 80s version of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ (yes, I am old and remember these), but that all goes to hell when Fritz begins drinking during the broadcast. In these little stories you get stuff like a haunted cowboy which I really liked and a hilarious story called “Ghost Farts”. Brian does a wonderful job bringing to life the crude commercials, Fritz’s intros to the stories, and the script is brilliant from beginning to end for what he was trying to accomplish with this project. But the cherry on top is volume two where Brian continues everything including the Fritz character whose storyline has him on the run now and he wants to do a Christmas edition of the program! This event not only shows his downhill slide into depravity but Fritz is completely off the rails as he presents some Christmas horror tales on the run. Papandrea refuses to allow no budget to slow him down bringing back all the commercials and storylines of the first film into the second and it looked like lots of fun along the way! I always enjoy when an Indy filmmaker can give audiences something different, entertaining, and be passionate about it as this will not disappoint, for that Mr. Papandrea I have to give this double feature 3 ½ out of 4 stars as it can be found at https://rockbottomvideo.storenvy.com .
The Shed (DVD) – A bootleg Barlow the vampire bites a man in the woods and this man finds shelter in a shed running from this monster. From there we meet a troubled teenager named Stanley whose parents are gone and must live with his abusive grandpa. That afternoon Stanley is out back with the dog and the dog learns the hard way that there is something in the shed. Of course this doesn’t go over well with grandpa and he too finds out the hard way about the shed. Witnessing these horrific events Stanley must figure out how to keep his new pet monster a secret and how to keep him from getting out of the shed. Stanley tells his best friend about the shed monster and things just get worse from there. A simply fun, gory, little monster movie that I absolutely enjoyed watching as I give it 3 ½ stars.
The Mutilator (Blu-ray) – It was time to revisit this low budget slasher film from the early 80s as I didn’t get to see it then and only learned about it in the late 90s, early 2000s when it was being found on the bootleg market. Arrow Video recently corrected this problem putting together a 2-disc “must-have” edition for any horror fan. I myself remembered liking it the first time around but it was some crappy quality. Anyway, most of the gore takes place late in the movie but is well worth the watch if you are a gorehound. A father seeks revenge on his son Ed years later after his son accidentally shoots and kills his mother with a loaded rifle. Our tale goes forward when Ed gets a call from his father to go close down his beach condo during ‘Fall Break’ (which also was the original title). Ed and his friends decide to take advantage of this and go to party before they close it up for the winter but Ed’s father has other plans. Arrow Video not only restored the original unrated version of the film cleaned it up so much it was like watching this movie again for the first time. This of course means we get to see the famous giant fish hook with the girl parts for a wonderful death scene! But Arrow Video didn’t stop there as they loaded it up with a couple funny commentaries, a feature-length documentary (which was eye-opening on the background of this film), original music, and alternate opening titles that played with the movie before anyone knew about it. It does not happen often but I think I like this film more now than then because of this 2-disc Blu-ray from Arrow as I give it 3 ½ stars.
Ouija Mummy (DVD) – From the same people that gave us the disappointing ‘Lycanimator’ came back a year later and gave us a no-budget treat that needs to seeked out by independent film lovers. Anyway a woman brings home some ancient jewelry from a recent Egyptian dig then commits suicide. Not too long after a young couple buys the house and moves in and have a house warming party. Of course Natalie’s guy wants to make her happy and after finding the artifact in the home gives it to Natalie as a house warming gift. Between this and Natalie’s obsession with wanting to play with an Ouija board during the party cause a royal demon to possess Natalie’s body and terror ensues! You will notice a lot of cool Indy names are attached to this project, some cheap but effective effects go a long way, and filmmaker and cast learning from mistakes (Lycanimator) make this a diamond in the rough independent film that not many are talking much about. I give this excellent Indy flick 3 ½ stars as I believe once the story gets going it has this cheap ‘Night of the Demons’ vibe, so enjoy!
Straight Edge Kegger (Blu-ray) – There is a shitload of extras for those of you enjoy Jason Zink’s film. We are introduced to Brad as he is straight-edge! He hangs out with a group of friends who are of the same belief or what he once thought as he is becoming bored of the “Straight Edge” life. That he and his group are not making a difference and believe maybe it is time for a change. This change slowly happens when Brad becomes friends with a dude named Sean who is into the same music but drinks and smokes weed. Brad tries Sean’s way and begins hanging out with him on a regular basis to the dismay of his former straight edge friends. Then one night Brad goes to a house party and meets a cute young lady named Maybe and the couple connect quickly. But this happiness is short lived as Brad’s former group has decided to crash the party and explain their beliefs in a harsher manner… It is simple, brutal, screwed up, and I like it as I give this bad ass flick 3 ½ stars.
A.M.I. (DVD) – We come to know a young female character Cassie who struggles with the death of her mom and just so happens to find a cell phone during a morning jog. She appropriately leaves it on a stump for the person who might be looking for it and as she walks away the phone asks her, “Do you need a friend?” Cassie’s best friend just showed this new app on your cell phone that once downloaded becomes your friend and knows you. This story taps right into what we all are waiting for to happen, ‘Skynet bitches!’ The A.I. has become so sophisticated it communicates, plays games, does homework, gets calls for you (Alexa anyone?), so this premise is right in the wheel house of every human on Earth. Anyway after an unsightly event with her father Cassie goes back and finds the phone is still there and answers it. This is where Cassie’s life changes especially when the phone convinces her to go off her meds and entices Cassie to kill her friends because they are not good for her! This R-rated Lifetime Network film takes Psychostalker to a whole new level as the film should be watched as a warning of what is already happening more than just another horror movie or I enjoyed the fucking shit out of this film as I give it 3 ½ stars.
Spine Chiller (DVD) – An Indy retro-80s style anthology that was released a couple years ago that deserves your attention fellow yinzers. Okay, yes I know everyone is making an anthology (hell I am) and if you are doing an independent anthology production that is equal to telling people you have the ‘death curse’. But people let’s all get past that so you can enjoy this little Halloween feature that will make you throw this in your pile to watch every October! The anthology doesn’t have horror hosts but rather great story telling that has all the stories interconnecting and progressing into a fun, spooky, atmospheric ride through horror that doesn’t disappoint. The film plays it serious with all the spooky tales and I may not be a fan of the ending but this tale of Halloween is something I refuse to describe it too much because I feel it could be the next ‘ (2007) Trick ‘r Treat’ for independent fans… yes I went there as I give it 3 ½ stars.
Hell’s Kitty (DVD) – At first glance I took this not so big budgeted horror film for “hey we hired the convention all-stars to get 30 second cameo”… But to my surprise this was a well-crafted horror film about a man Nick and his cat. Now I will say the film had my attention immediately when they casted one of my favorite porn stars Nina Hartley but it did not stop there as all the named cast actually played an essential roles which happens very rarely these days. Anyway Nick gets a cat named Angel and quickly some weird and strange things begin to happen like Satanic shit! According to a therapist the cat Angel, is stopping Nick from having a serious sexual relationship but Nick is not seeing that as he cares for Angel even Angel is slaughtering people around him. The film is wrapped up in a nice tight bow as its Nick telling a publisher the story of his possessed kitty. From Drew Marvick, to one of the Killer Klowns showing up, to Isaac and Malachai from ‘Children of the Corn’ (who made me laugh so hard I almost pissed myself), everything is wonderful, bloody, and hilarious as I give this flick 3 ½ stars.
Black Friday (On Demand) – First off, I laughed out when this film was announced because the title is the most overused term in our lexicon and second, and felt “Black Friday” hasn’t been relevant for several years now cause ‘online shopping’ anyone? Anyhow, setting aside my beliefs of this so-called holiday, shopping day, whatever we find ourselves watching a film about abused retail workers at ‘We Love (heart) Toys’ toy store. It is Thanksgiving night and the staff must get things set up for the madness of the “Black Friday” shoppers and horror icon Bruce Campbell plays the manager of the store. But to the dismay of shoppers and staff meteors carrying alien thing are fallen to Earth and these monstrous things from the rocks are turning humans into monsters that will stop at nothing to find other unaffected humans to add to their end creation. Lots of flying goo, monsters, and a great cast made me forget that “Black Friday” isn’t really a thing anymore and just enjoy a wonderful horror flick as I give it 3 ½ stars.
Cyst (DVD) – It is 1961 and Dr. Guy is a pimple popper dude who has an invented a machine called the “Get Gone” machine that will be the revolution of removing cysts, safely and less painful. Problem is it malfunctioned last time the patent people came through and this time it better work or they will just have Dr. Guy shut down. Meanwhile, Dr. Guy’s nurse Patty’s last day as she refuses to work with this so-called machine. So after some tinkering by Dr. Guy and a willing patient (sort of) he has a huge cyst to remove from the patient. When Dr. Guy does he unknowingly causes a mutant cyst to take a life of its own and now the people in the office are trapped with this killer mutant cyst! Think of ‘Attack of the Killer Donuts’ but with a cyst as I give this glorious B-movieish creature feature 3 ½ stars.
Best documentaries of 2021
Wolfman’s Got Nards (DVD) – A wonderful documentary from star Andre Gower as he documents everything that went down during the 30th anniversary and celebration of ‘The Monster Squad’. A quite in-depth look into the fans of the film, the history of the bootlegs, Fred Dekker thinking it failed, and who were behind bringing the creatures to life on screen. This documentary is an absolute treat to watch as I give it 4 stars.
The Golden Age of Horror Comics I & II (YouTube) – An independent documentary created by Zane Whitener that possibly takes the deepest dive into horror comics I have ever seen. The creator spends a lot of time on the 40s and 50s horror comics because of Bill Gaines but also explains how all comics were changed forever. The creator literally reads some of the early comics in length just so you can feel the impact these writings had on kids and the government. The second half of the documentary talks more of how everything changed in the 70s after we got past the cheesy Batman show we all know and love. But the brilliance or hilarity of that original Batman show might have been the fallout of EC Comics? Zane practically touches upon almost every horror comic throughout the decades and their impact on the artists and fans alike. So if you got three hours to kill I highly recommend this well-produced documentary that not just celebrates horror comics but will teach you something also as I give it 4 stars.
Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (DVD) – An absolutely great and super interesting documentary about a filmmaker who made movies out of nothing during the 60s and 70s. And when he had nothing he would begrudgingly use his own money to bring his visions to life on the big screen. Most of his films were drive-in fodder but that didn’t stop him from giving audiences what they wanted: bikers, stuntmen, bad effects, gimmicks, whatever to get the picture sold! Mr. Adamson was an Indy talent like no other and made lots of friends along the way. But Al’s life was cut short by a so-called contractor he hired to work on his home. Hell, his story has been on the ID channel. The documentary is full of funny stories about his films getting made but it also chronicles the tragic event and how it was uncovered in the end. Wonderful stuff that makes me want to track down some of this filmmaker’s films as I give the documentary 4 stars.
The Town that Loved Bigfoot (DVD) – A hilarious and perfect documentary for all about a small southern town that has embraced Bigfoot! The town is Evergreen, Alabama where a newspaper article was written there several years ago about a strange creature being seen near town and from there the legend has grown. There are interviews with locals, hunters, Bigfoot hunters and their experiences around the town. If ever interested in Bigfoot start with this film as I give it 4 stars.
Tales of the Uncanny (Blu-ray) – A documentary from Severin Films that covers the history of anthologies… Interesting stuff. Over 60 producers, critics, filmmakers discuss the beginning of anthologies and raise the question about their impact on the industry over the years. This wonderful documentary covers all of them and for young and old horror fans alike. Yes they talk ‘Creepshow’ but also goes through some unknown gems and discuss how some came about. They did this during the pandemic last year which adds a different quality to this documentary and separates it from your average documentary as I give it 4 stars of course.
Stale Popcorn & Sticky Floors (DVD) – Another cool documentary that covers some of the memorable grindhouse, horror, and B-movie titles from the 70s and 80s we grew up watching. There is interviews and stories from such stars of iconic films such as Lynn Lowry, Camilla Carr, Brinke Stevens, and a host of others. And people let’s not forget Frank Farel is on here telling more stories about one of my favorite films of all time ‘Spookies’! The doc separates itself enough from others as the stars tell stories about one film that was picked such as an ‘I Spit on Your Grave’. This title doesn’t come off as interviews as much as you the viewer just grabbed a beer with said star and you are ready for story time and for that I give it 4 out of 4 stars.
Ebola Rex vs. Murder Hornets (DVD) – Of course you had me at the title but bottom line is this movie doesn’t live up to its title. The filmmaker missed the point of the title… ‘Ebola Rex vs. Murder Hornets’ it never happened dude. You made a 60 minute movie of filler! I love Brinke Stevens but she seems wasted in this my friend. Dustin I respect your overall work but this was a huge miss as I got to give this film 0 stars.
It’s Bigfoot vs. D.B. Cooper bad movie but needs to be witnessed to believe!
Water Wars (DVD-R) – Well it took a while to track this post-apocalyptic “Corman Presents” flick down as it stars Michael Madsen, a couple Playboy Playmates, and directed by Cirio H. Santiago with Jim Wynorski stepping in after illness. Supposedly finished in 2011 but never released until 2014 but I couldn’t find a physical copy for sale or the film on any streaming sites but as usual give me time and the movie will find me. Once you get past the filler (stock footage from several Filipino post-apocalyptic films that I believe takes up half of the film) water is the only currency of course. An evil warlord Bane is hell bent on tracking down a water source and believes there is springs of fresh water hidden in the mountains but can never capture anyone that knows where it is until now. A gun for hire named Slade is hired by a beautiful lady who claims to know where this spring is if he rescues her sister from Bane. Slade does the job but now Bane and his evil followers are coming to ravage the village but not Slade and his new lady bump uglies like they were in a freakin ‘Witchcraft’ film. This was a poor excuse of a post-apocalyptic film that I should have left buried but you know me as I give it 0 stars.
The Bubble (DVD/YouTube) – A 1966 film that some people may know as ‘Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth’ and at the time of its release was called ‘The Zoo 3-D’ in some territories. A happily young married couple with their first child on the way jump into a charter plane that gets hit by a strange storm. The couple and pilot are able to land safely but find themselves in a strange small town where all the residents seem zombified or controlled? All three being completely weirded out decide it is a movie lot of some kind to explain away the oddness. But when they track down a vehicle and drive out of there they find a glass wall keeping them in. Now all three don’t know if it’s real or they have just gone crazy from the beginning? Things get a good weird from there as the three spend weeks including having the baby on trying to figure out a way out and why everyone is zombified. An excellent weird watch that I am surprised hasn’t shown up on some of the horror host shows as it seems like it would be PG rated… Anyway I give this oddity 3 stars.
Hysterical (DVD) – Another horror spoof from the early 80s that I only heard of but didn’t know it really existed. This one consists of a big time author from New York who gets away from it all to actually write his masterpiece and what better place than Hellview, Oregon. A quiet small place that has a haunted lighthouse where of course the author enjoys but ignores the warnings. When Captain Howdy’s corpse appears two professors are brought in to discover why? But it’s been a hundred years since he, his mistress, and wife died during a storm and its time cause chaos! Oh by the way the whole town is being turned into zombies while this is all going on. There are quite a few subtle laughs in this one as this might not be as over the top as some of the spoofs can be as I give this 3 stars.
Transylvania Twist (DVD/YouTube) – A horror spoof from 1989 that centers on a man named Dexter Ward who travels to L.A. to retrieve info on a book for his uncle who has returned from the dead to work again in the Arkham Library. But Dexter finds himself wrapped up in something else when he and a beautiful actress named Marissa are invited to Transylvania because of her father dying. Eventually Van Helsing joins the show and escorts the couple to Castle Orlock as there is a vampire (Robert Vaughn) waiting for their arrival. If this vamp gets his claws on the Book of Ulthar it could spell doom for all humans. A hilarious spoof on the Dracula story using footage of ‘The Terror’ and Boris Karloff throughout, also you will not forget the hilarious beginning of the film poking fun at Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, and Michael Myers. The biggest payoff which I totally forgot and worth a rewatch just because is Angus Scrimm as the vamp’s butler and yes you get a wonderful ‘Phantasm’ spoof! The film is lots of fun when jokes are going but does have a few dull spots that has not aged well since its initial release but I still give it 2 ½ stars.
Saturday the 14th Strikes Back (DVD/YouTube) – The 1988 unexpected sequel disconnects from the original story and goes a little different where a family has just inherited a home and instead of the “Book of Evil” their new home was built on a crack in the earth that holds all the monsters from the underworld. This where Eddie Baxter who was about to have the best summer ever because he turns 16 instead is forced to save the world. This crack causes some weird things like a vampire hanging out in his bedroom grooming him for the monsters arrival. But Ray Walston as fake grandpa is there to protect Eddie and help lead him in stopping the monster invasion. The first half of the horror spoof is hilarious and goes great but by the end I was just waiting for the film to end as it loses steam and I give it 2 stars.
Paintball Massacre (DVD) – Some old school friends get together for a reunion and a morning of paintball games. Not the greatest idea for all but they do it anyway and all goes well for some time until one team is completely slaughtered and now the school friends are being stalked and shot at by a paintball masked maniac. The film has some fun gory parts and a character you will enjoy hating or root for (you’ll understand) but the ending falls flat and felt they may never had a true ending written to begin with as I give it 1 ½ stars.
People to Kill (DVD) – Apparently this was Adam S. Clevenger’s first effort out as he wrote and directed this interesting thriller. Shawn and two brothers still live and hang with their father as their mother died five years ago after reading about the “Lullaby Killer”. The family still trying to move on has their usual squabbles and Shawn gets a lot of the blame from his father. Shawn runs a Star Trek themed store called “Starbase”. This makes for some hilarious scenes with the customers and Shawn’s father while Shawn runs for coffee. Along the way he helps out the local hooker (Erin R. Ryan) who has an issue with her pimp. Shawn felt the need to step in as he has seen her every day for the past few months hanging out near his store. They quickly strike up a friendship and things get very complicated as that is about all I can say as a major twist happens. I didn’t exactly see this twist coming maybe you will but either way this film is an absolute gem of an independent feature. Mr. Clevenger wrote an excellent script, and casted an excellent group of actors that should be applauded for pulling off a great performance. Erin R. Ryan is always a wonderful presence on screen but all involved were equally great. There was only one thing bad that I could say about the film and that is the length (2 hours and 14 minutes). Now most cases there isn’t enough story to fill 70, 80, or even 90 minutes but this surprisingly had it but felt the 20 minute strip club could have been cut down. I totally understand why it wasn’t edited because there is some important dialogue that happens but felt at some point Adam could have moved on. If this was Adam’s first effort out then count me in for the future as I can see some entertaining stuff coming this dude as I give this must have film 3 ½ out of 4 stars. Good chance this shows up on my “Best of 2021 watched list”.
Devil Story (DVD) – This mid-80s film has a Nazi zombie roaming the French countryside stabbing people while a random mummy decides it is time to appear and terrorize all others. Zombie dude to me looks like movies in the late 60s and early 70s wanted you to think biker extras looked like? If that doesn’t make much sense just wait there is more as an old dude just keeps shooting a pump shotgun into the random countryside for the second half of the movie. The movie doesn’t make a lick of sense but I found it extremely entertaining as this must be watched in your next outdoor group setting as I give it 2 ½ stars.
The Thing that Couldn’t Die (DVD) – A rando drive-in flick from the late 50s where a young woman has psychic powers and happens to disturb an evil beheaded pirate that has been buried for a few hundred years. Now that he is found she is the key for his head being reattached to his buried body. Yes it is stupid but doesn’t stop it from being entertaining 60 some odd years later as I give it 2 stars.
Bad Blood The Movie (DVD) – A recent low budget affair where a college girl name Victoria has taken a break from college to the dismay of her father who believes she is on “the drugs”. Victoria just trying to get away from it all for a night with her best friend is attacked at a gas station when they stop to get gas by a large amphibious creature. Victoria survives but is taken in by the gas station attendee. More on that in a little bit as you hear reports of a crazed man (Dr. Mark Beltran) has escaped custody with incredible strength. Victoria wakes up and it is explained to her she is now a part of some weird amphibious/werewolf experiment that went too far and the attendee is working on a cure with experimenting on frogs. To complicate things a private detective who is losing his mind and works for Victoria’s family screws up the cure and finds himself in a predicament! Weird as hell, some gore, awesome creature as I give this bad boy or girl 3 stars!
Darlin’ (DVD) – Ketchum’s trilogy moves on with the cannibal people as a feral teenage girl is pushed out of the woods to a hospital. The hospital unsure what to do with her as she has no injuries, cleans her up, try to communicate with her and send her to the Lord’s house for girls. There a nun/sister named Jennifer tries to take care of her, teach her, explain god, and get her to interact with the other girls that reside there. Problem an older cannibal sister is sniffing around for her sister because we come to find out (Darlin) the younger sibling is pregnant and this stirs up priest diddling! Most not the strongest of the trilogy but has a wonderful ending as I give it 2 stars.
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