From director Gael Morel (FULL SPEED) and producer Paulo Branco (COSMOPOLIS) comes OUR PARADISE, a film that tells a very dark and desperate story of an aging prostitute Vassili (Stephane Rideau) who comes across a young, unconscious man in a forest and takes pity on him. Vassili, who also robs his clients, as well as nearly murdering some at times, is starting to realize that his age (probably mid-to-late 30s) is becoming a burden to him in finding decent paying clients. Trolling for paying customers in a very notorious Parisian cruising ground, Vassili takes on the young Angelo (Dimitri Durdaine), and after taking him home to clean him up, he buys him some clothes, as well as taking him to a very unorthodox doctor that specialize in performing medical services extremely cheaply (if not entirely free) for those that are in need of discreet services.
WORST IN SHOW is one of those documentaries that works so well no matter if one gives a flying fuck about dogs, or pets of any kind, for that matter. I, myself, think dogs are cool but would only have one if it didn’t act like a dog because I have a hard enough time cleaning up after my own mess let alone a dog’s. Why does this documentary work so well? It works so well because even though the dogs are the stars of this film they really aren’t. They aren’t the stars because they can’t talk; they don’t do anything in the documentary but sit there in their owner’s arms or laps. The stars of this film are the owners and I only say that because their personalities are so strong—some of them strong in a very bad way (or simply hilarious way!). (more…)
For those of you who are semi-avid fans of adult films, or even just peruse youporn.com, youjizz.com, or one of the other many sites on the internet that offers clips of free porn varying in length and quality-you probably have heard of or have unknowingly watched a clip of Alexis Texas and that bubbly, beautiful ass that generally would not be on the rear of a blonde Caucasian girl hailing from-you guessed it-Texas. Alexis Texas, porn star found from the makers of the adult film series Shane’s World while working at a bar in October of 2006, first got her start in Shane’s World’s College Amateur Tour in Texas. From there she went on to work in some Bang Bros. productions, then on to L.A. to work in the adult film industry full-time.
Alexis Texas (real name Thea Alexis Samper) will not be the first porn-star whom has thrown on some clothes (more attire than is usually required) and given a shot at acting in a low-budget, or even big-budget horror film. I don’t mind porn stars taking a stab at acting in horror films, as long as they do what they are known for and good at- removing some clothing at some point during the movie because let’s be honest-Most of them cannot act worth a lick! If the scene in the film does not involve a strip tease of some sort or a steamy sex scene- viewers may be in for a very bumpy ride while dialogue is painstakingly delivered. Luckily, viewers of Bloodlust Zombies will get some Alexis Texas nudity, some sexy removal of clothing, and plenty of sexual innuendo all tossed in the mix with vulgar humor and zombies munching human flesh. Horror flicks paired with porn stars seems to be a trend that Breaking Glass Pictures and its sister horror label Vicious Circle Films has started to fall into. Granted, as far as I know, it is only their 2nd film to star an adult film sensation (Tori Black in Half Moon was their 1st, I believe), but throwing an adult star in the cast of a low-budget horror flick will only enhance its nudity factor, if even that.
Our story’s plot revolves around a military weapons manufacturer that has created a chemical that, when injected into animals such as the facility’s lab cat, the creature is turned into an aggressive, homicidal, carnivorous, zombie-like, killing machine. While the head honcho at the facility is banging what seemed to be just the secretary, accidentally broadcasting the hump-o-thon over the phone’s intercom service, the scientists accidentally knock over the vials of infected blood, breaking some of them all over the floor of the secured bio-hazard workspace.
Thinking the lab is secured, the scientists get infected by the cat and from here on out-it’s your standard low-budget, direct-to-video. lackluster zombie flick. Yeah, another zombie flick. To be honest with everyone, I am totally fu**ing sick of zombies. I think that they have been commercialized beyond belief and have already saturated the horror market. The last zombie film that really moved me and had me thinking I was watching a movie first and a zombie film second was Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, which many will argue is not even a traditional zombie flick. I really don’t see what else one can do to spice up the genre, besides doing what director/writer Dan Lantz did and throw a porn star into the mix. Well, having Alexis Texas in the film may have just generated some buzz with those familiar with the adult film industry or peak the interest of those hoping to glimpse some steamy sex scenes or gratuitous nudity, but for a seasoned veteran of the horror genre Bloodlust Zombies was more of the same done with a halfheartedly.
I was hoping there would be a bit of eye-candy to take away from the run-of-the-mill plot and less than acceptable CGI and low-budget special effects, which there was, but aside from that the only thing going for this movie was a bit of sexually-laced humor from one of the film’s more obnoxious characters, Darren (Adam Danoff), who as one of the employees at the company was thrown in the film as one of the many characters to provide comic-relief. The film definitely had more moments of humor, whether intended or not, than it did horror, scares, or gore.
Bloodlust Zombies was about as good as a film generally gets that has a porn star with top billing, a no-name cast besides Alexis Texas and her impressive porn career (as well as cast in Fred Olen Ray’s Bikini Frankenstein), and a next to nothing budget. The film was far less painful to watch than I had previously thought it to be. Thankfully, the movie moved along at a pretty quick pace, only dragged on a few times and that was mostly because the dialogue delivered was going on a bit too long for anyone to take seriously or find much humor in. The cliche sexual references were ever present and there were scarce moments of genuine acting and only a small amount of scenes of gore that are barely worth mentioning.
One aspect of the movie that I could not get past was the recipe for fake blood that was used. I could not take it seriously. The color was lighter than most films’ scenes with blood and almost had a brightness to it. I really thought the crew was using some kind of paint, as it almost had a pinkish-tinge to it. The film was not only light on the gore, but when victims were bit and flesh was ripped off it looked as though the crew was trying to conserve the latex used for flesh being torn off. The horribly colored blood was also used sparingly during scenes in which the zombies tore flesh off from the victims’ necks.
Two things can somewhat save these type of low-budget, no-name horror flicks-wanton gore and nudity. I have never looked for high-caliber acting or an intriguing plot with these types of films-so work with what ya got. On some levels, director Dan Lantz did. He had a porn star and he gave her some scenes of nudity and portrayed her as sexually charged-up, but then digresses by having a fellow co-worker who showed an evident dislike for her go on a righteous speech on how Andrea (Texas) is a bright, young woman and should not be chasing after a man because he is older, rich and powerful-but instead fall for a man that loves her for her intellect and independence, as well as her beauty. Ok, Oprah Winfrey, enough with the feminism and lets get back to point of the film- to be entertained by some blood and guts. Oh wait, I forgot that there really was not any of those aspects within the film really worth mentioning.
All in all, I really thought the film was going to be a far worse viewing than it was. It had high levels of cheesiness, that at times, were entertaining. The special effects were done with especially low-grade CGI and the organic effects were just a notch better than the digital ones (although I did kind of dig the finale with Texas which looked to be completely digital) and I did not hate this film. On some shameful level, I kind of had a soft spot in my rotting gut for it. I can’t really recommend the film, nor would I ever entertain the thought to purchase the movie (unless, of course, I was a completest for Alexis Texas flicks) but I can say it was a bad, low-budget film that was not agonizingly and painstakingly difficult to watch. Let’s not get this film confused with other films that are so bad they are good. Bloodlust Zombies does not fall into that category. I may have come to the point that I have seen so many bad, low-budget films that watching an Andy Sidaris action/spy film is becoming confused with watching a solid James Bond film. I am now going to go pop in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead so that I can remember what a great zombie film with minimal financial resources truly can turn out like.
Sadly, I have not had the pleasure of seeing director Justin Timpane’s (Ninjas vs. Zombies) prior entry in the “Ninjas vs. _____” title series, but I won’t lose any sleep over it. I am sure the film was probably decent, but comedic entries in the horror-action genre are just not my cup of tea, generally speaking. I find that movies that do not intend to be funny which contain elements of action and horror generally are funnier to me than films that intend to be funny, littered with witty puns and slapstick humor here and there. One of the rare cases involving a horror-comedy that was intended to contain loads of humor and actually turned out to be extremely hilarious was Shaun of the Dead. I genuinely laughed out-loud while viewing that film. Unfortunately, for Timpane’s Ninjas vs. Vampires, I did not. That is not to say that Nvs.V was an awful film, I just did not find it very funny.
So, what did I find entertaining about Nvs.V? For starters, the story that revolves around a group of vampires feeding on the normal, everyday folks of the town they have decided to call their home in was nothing new, but who cares? The film reminded me of so many other vampire tales but even that didn’t matter. How many ways can you rework a classic tale of vampires swarming down upon a town and needing to feed on humans? Yeah, they did it in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade, John Carpenter’s Vampires, many of the Dracula films, The Lost Boys, Fright Night, etc…The plot was all the same on a general level, but as to the specifics, things either got creative or dull. In the case of Nvs.V, things actually got fairly creative. Thank goodness it got creative because I was not really feeling the comedic elements of the film. In fact, the jokes were just about to get extremely tedious.
Aaron (Jay Saunders), a young and aspiring filmmaker who evidently carries a digital camcorder around everywhere he goes, is out with a childhood best friend, Alex (Devon Marie Burt), who just so happens to be the girl of his dreams. Aaron finally musters up enough courage to lay it all on the line and tell her exactly how he feels. In doing so, he bombs. Horribly. Alex tells him, basically, that he is a big pussy for not sharing his feelings about her with her when they began to develop and is angered at the fact that they are best friends just because he is in love with her and wants to spend every minutes with her all the time failing to be honest with her and express his actual thoughts in regards to her. Oh, and he has her whole vivid reaction on camera so that he can relive the disastrous moment over-and-over again.
Moments following these events, vampires appear out of nowhere and start to attack the two. Moments after this, a group of ninjas with a vampire just materialize out of nowhere and save the two by attacking the vampires with their ninja skills. Alex is taken home by the group and can’t remember a damn thing leading up to the events and Aaron is left at the scene, completely astonished at what just occurred.
The film is actually pretty decent as far as low-budgeted affairs go, but what totally irks me and brings to movie down levels of praise and admiration is the atrocious CGI effects that is rampant throughout the film. In particular, all the CGI blood whenever someone was sliced or had a body part chopped off was done horribly. The scenes where the witch transported the ninjas was about the only effect that was passably executed. Just imagine watching a film whose story can only really be told with believable special effects, such as the Underworld series, and then having laughable effects at every given turn. With a low-budget horror film, bad organic effects can be left to slip by if the film capitalizes on its schloky-ness, but a film that wants the fight scenes and CGI to complement the unique powers and ways the characters kill off their adversaries, it does not do anything to further the fantasy elements in the movie and make them seem believable. In fact, I believe it only hurts the movie in the long run.
Aside from the crappy CGI, I actually dug the film. The fight scenes had pretty decent Martial Arts choreography and it looked like the actors may have some backgrounds in fighting and using weapons. In fact, the fight scenes were the shining point throughout the whole film. Also another piece of the film I really thought worked out well was the cast. The acting in Avs.V was pretty decent. At times, I did roll my eyes at some of the deliveries given by specific members of the cast, but as a whole, the acting was far better than the quality of the CGI.
Our plot, which revolves around the evil vampires trying to take over the whole world and ruling the planet..blah…blah…blah, really is nothing new as far as vampires and horror movies go, but the film’s journey was somewhat amusing and, at least, entertaining until the film’s surmise. I guess Nvs.V is one of those films that I did not hate, but I did not really like all that much. The film was tolerable. I think that is the correct word that aptly describes my thoughts on the film.
I tolerated the crappy CGI effects that were predominant throughout the whole film. I tolerated the generic-looking costumes some of the evil vampires wore during the film. I also had to excuse the fact that at times the whole vampire posse had characters that looked like they were either extras in a WWE wrestling match or were pre-CGI versions of villains from the Mortal Kombat films. I am sure the Halloween costume shop was happy when the crew walked in and cleaned out their store for props, costumes, and masks for the film. Sadly, I could not get past the budget of this film and the shoddy screen effects used…and the screen effects are used very often.
The good points in the film, aside from the entertaining fight scenes, was the overall structure of the film. Timpane knows how to piece together a film and keep the flow moving along pretty decently. Granted, there were some moments where scenes of dialogue dragged, but overall the pace was set nicely. Aaron (Saunders) sometimes had way too much dialogue and laid the camp on a bit too heavy, but he carried the weight of film and was one of the most believable characters in it. I felt as if Saunders was the only actor in the film that had any charisma and likeability to his character. I really could care less about any of the others performances.
Justin Timpane has a pretty bright future as a director and writer and I think once he can get some more money to finance a film with a bit more of a budget, he will create some pretty interesting and enjoyable pieces of work. With each film made, he will probably be improving his craft and turn out some cool films. Keep an eye out for Justin Timpane because I am sure we will be seeing much more of him.
I am a big fan of Ralph Bakshi’s animated works from the ’70s, highly stylized and filled with sexuality and raunch. I also dug the collected stories of sci-fi/dark fantasy, eroticism, and horror in the film Heavy Metal. I saw both films years ago, so my memory is sort of hazy on the details and aspects of the films that struck me as most significant, but with both films I remember that there were some pretty hot animated women in both and that the tone of the films were adult in nature but I was so shocked that they were not done in the prevalent animated style that the Japanese had going with Japanimation. See, I had never watched those classic animated features from Bakshi and the film based loosely on the French magazine Heavy Metal, but I had perused through Heavy Metal at my local comic book shop in Mt. Prospect, IL who had the issues bagged because of their sexual imagery and subject matter in certain issues.
This brings me to watching the Canadian production Rock & Rule, one animated feature that did not strike me as fascinating, awesome, or even very entertaining. Upon researching this film, all I kept reading is how epic a project this animated film was and the incredible process that the filmmakers went through in creating this piece of shit. Yeah, that is exactly what I thought it was- a stoner’s wet-dream and a totally, boring mess accompanied by musicians from the ’70s performing some of the worst songs I have ever heard.
I am sorry but I am not really a Cheap Trick fan. Blondie had some cool songs, but again, you won’t find any of her albums in my record collection. Iggy Pop is cool and I dig a bit of his music, but the songs he sang for and performed in Rock & Rule were nothing like his songs he created with The Stooges or his solo career. The music in this film did nothing for me and because the film felt like a movie that revolved around the music and not a movie that revolved around a plot and story, I detested it.
Let’s look at the story of Rock & Rule, which is about as original as a thousand other movies. The plot revolves around a rock band that is trying to make it into the big leagues and get a shot at playing for a big-time record label and producer by playing at a dingy, rock club or sorts. The big-time musician who is at the top of his game is Mok, a mob-like entity that runs the music business with an iron-fist, complete with giant goons, and if he were real and in the business today one may see him as a male version of Lady Gaga, or just Lady Gaga (wasn’t she rumored to have a penis at one point?). The band, consisting of Angel (her singing voice credited to Debbie Harry of Blondie and speaking voice by Susan Roman) and Omar (singing voice by Robin Zander of Cheap Trick and speaking voice Paul Le Mat), both can and should be lead singers and share their talents on-stage, but Omar has an enormous ego and does not want to let Angel get her time in the spotlight. The remaining two members of the band have as much sense and personality as two members of the Three Stooges and are primarily in the film for comic relief. If anything, they were nothing more than an annoying couple of characters whom I could care less about, much like most of this Canadian animated feature and the characters within it.
I think what annoyed me most with this film was the fact that it was so hyped-up, had so many ridiculous drug-inducing rock segments that may have been cool to view if one was tripping their balls off on LSD or high as a kite on some pot, but to this totally sober viewer and anti-hippie realist, the psychedelic sequences were utterly lost on me and nothing more than an annoyance. The plot is so standard and thin that the filmmakers filled much of the film with some quasi-rock n’ roll video sequences that one may see in underground animation fests or in a VH1 Classic video from an obscure psychedelic rock act from the ’70s. When I read reviews for this film praising it on a cult level, even going so far as to comparing it to works from the legendary Ralph Bakshi like Heavy Traffic or the Japanimation masterpiece Akira, I wanted to drop drawers and summon a massive bowel movement upon the blu-ray disc I had in my hands. I understand that for our neighbors to the north that this film is a big deal-Canada is not really known for their blockbuster or cinematic masterpieces in filmmaking, but I am going to go against the grain and masses of critics praising this endeavor. I would wholeheartedly take any one of David Cronenberg’s films (another native of Canada and prolific director) over director Clive A. Smith and his band of merry screenwriters Patrick Loubert, Peter Sauder, and John Halfpenny any day.
I have never been a fan of films that have a paper-thin plot revolving around musical pieces performed by big-name artists, such as Rock & Rule does. The film was showcased to exhibit the talents of the animators and to bring together some major rock acts, not created to tell a story of any significance or entertain one with a movie. The movie is barely a movie. The focus has completely been on the animation, which looks pretty cool. I will give the creators that. The post apocalyptic setting, along with the mutated human-like animals that populate what is supposed to be planet Earth. The film all takes place in Ohmland, a city or town of sorts. The rest of the “story” occurs in New York. The film was created to visually accompany the musical talents of Lou Reed, Cheap Trick, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop. Well, great for them because if one does not care for any of the songs in the film, or for any of those artists, the film is going to be an even more agonizing viewing experience than the one I sat through.
Rock & Rule lacked any sort of story worth remembering. The film lacked any type of crude humor, sexual innuendos or vulgarity, and nudity. Zero points here for me. There was no violence, gore, cool fighting sequences, or space-age vehicle or spaceship chases. Points continued to be lost. I did not really care for any of the music and I was not taking hallucinogenic drugs or substances to compliment my viewing. Nothing about this film was entertaining to me. In fact, the first few times I screened it I had a very hard time staying awake, focusing on the film, and paying attention. Rock & Rule bored the hell out of me. Plain and simple. I give credit to “chick flicks”, low-budget Z-grade schlockfests, and teeny-bopper Disney films because at least those has some sort of banal plot or storyline and offered some sort of visual and aural gratification that could keep me awake, alert, and possessing an internal urge to finish the movie until completion.
I read that the animation studio that produced Rock & Rule was Canada’s Nelvana. Guess what else they produced? The Care Bears. I would have had more interest in watching a full season of The Care Bears than have to sit through this animated flop. I am in the minority, though. Unearthed Films picked up this film for release on Blu-ray disc with all the bells and whistles that any film could ask for. The disc itself is pretty impressive and because many consider this movie to be a cult film, it was given the all-star treatment. The movie only ran about 77 minutes (THANK GOODNESS!) and it technically looked incredibly sharp with a 1:85:1 High Definition Widescreen Transfer in 5.1 Surround Sound. There is a “Making of Rock & Rule” segment, an audio commentary with director Clive Smith, an extensive character sketch gallery, an alternate version of Rock & Rule, “The Devil and Daniel Mouse“: a 27-minute animation (The inspiration for Rock & Rule), How We Made The Devil and Daniel Mouse, an alternate title sequence, 15 Minute Workprint of the ending of Rock & Rule, and an extensive sketch gallery.
Unearthed Films and Breaking Glass Pictures put out a very nicely packaged Blu-ray, but it just was for a film that I detested. It is the 25th Anniversary Edition of the film and for those that enjoyed it, they will be pretty satisfied with the end results of the disc with all its features. I, for one, felt that the treatment for this film was wasted on it. There are far greater animated features that deserve this red carpet treatment. I recommend only seeing Rock & Rule for research purposes, saying that you have seen one of the biggest acclaimed Canadian animated features made in the ’80s.
Cropsey is the story of an urban myth that residents of Staten Island used to tell their kids when they were young to keep them from talking to strangers, influence them to come home before it gets dark, not stray away from the front yard while playing, and to deter them from going to abandoned areas, lots, buildings, and secluded forests. Sometimes, there is quite a bit of truth to a city, town’s, or villages’ urban legend. This urban legend was known as Cropsey, but in reality Cropsey was a name given to a monster that residents believe was kidnapping and murdering, raping, eating, mutilating their children. Cropsey, as the story goes, was an escaped mental patient from the Willowbrook State School who lived in the old, abandoned building. As the numbers of missing children rose, the residents started searching and going on a witch-hunt, so to speak, to find out who or what was responsible for their communities missing children. Cropsey came to be manifested in the form of a peculiar and creepy looking man by the name of Andre Rand, what one can call a real-life “boogeyman” of sorts. A Michael Meyers, minus a mask, that was going back to the grounds of the Willowbrook Mental Institution and kidnapping unsuspecting children, several of whom were developmentally disabled, or mentally retarded if one wants to be politically incorrect and extremely insensitive. Society is now replacing the term mentally retarded with the term developmentally disabled as this term is less demeaning and negative.
All the tales of Cropsey began to manifest into something very real and terrifying in 1987 when 12-year old Jennifer Schweiger disappeared. The filmmakers of Cropsey grew up in Staten Island, remembering the tales when they were young, but as teenagers the urban legends and warnings from their parents really began to materialize into something real. The filmmakers, Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman, did not know each other as children, but both return to their hometown as adults as the unsolved disappearances of Schweiger, as well as three other missing children-Holly Anne Hughes, Tiahese Jackson, Alice Pereira, and Holly Ann Hughes– to revisit the case through interviews with authorities involved with the case, speaking with residents of Staten Island, location shooting with individuals of the original search parties in the areas surrounding the abandoned mental hospital, as well as dense forests that would make prime dumping grounds of corpses.
The documentary moves at a swift pace, nicely edited with news footage aired during the kidnappings that included archived interviews, present day interviews with individuals related to the victims as well as those still living in the community now, and letters and correspondence with Rand through letters. The filmmakers definitely did an exhaustive amount of research and paint a very vivid and bleak picture of a community strife over the unanswered questions and unsolved kidnappings (possibly even murders) of 5 children from Staten Island.
The soundtrack to the documentary, composed by Alex Lasarenko, is excellent, providing viewers with a musical accompaniment in eerie fashion while using a very subtle use of notes and arrangements that added elements to the creep factor that the whole film possesses as its underlying theme. Lasarenko is known for Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) and The Business of Strangers (2001).
At times, I wonder whether this community just painted Andre Rand into a monster because he was a loner, mysterious, odd looking, very creepy, and happened to be living in his van on the grounds of the abandoned mental hospital and at one time, was an employee at the establishment and there was no one else around that fit his description, weird habits, etc..but as I watched more this guy Rand, who changed his name in ’66-’68 to Bruchette from his birth name Rashan while working at New York’s Willowbrook State School as a physical therapist aide, and then changed his name again legally to Rand in ’72 after he got out of prison for attempting to kidnap and rape a 9-year old girl in the South Bronx, pleading guilty to a lesser charge of sexual abuse. The documentary starts off focusing on the urban legend of Cropsey, which may be a name and myth used for many other areas around New York, as well as other parts of the state. Every area has its own “boogeyman” and legend surrounding it. I remember kids talking about certain houses or areas I grew up in that were nothing more than horse shit stories used to scare me and my friends, but after watching this documentary, it seems that maybe the urban legend came first and the actual events and murders just happened to coincide what most adults’ worst nightmares really were: losing their loved ones to a homicidal maniac.
A witness, Martha Hinton, had to say this about Andre Rand.
“You don’t wanna meet him. He was a creep”
Hinton:”Because he looked like he was a killer.”
I think the parts of the film that were the most scary and sickening were when talking with the cops the detectives hinted at other mentally ill individuals that may have been living in the abandoned mental health facility were “minions” of Rand and that he was using them to rape, sodomize, torture, and molest the young victims that he allegedly kidnapped. Some of the footage lets one’s imagination run wild, sort of like when watching one of those shows on paranormal activity and ghost hunting. I think this works in favor of the filmmakers and was used effectively. Whether Andre Rand did or did not kidnap and kill these children, as their is no scientific or physical evidence of him doing so and only circumstantial evidence, the film is a solid viewing and quite intense at times. True Crime has always been a topic of interest for me, from serial killers to mass murders and killing sprees, and Cropsey contains all the elements of pretty solid investigation backed up by compelling footage, testimonies, and interviews. If I hadn’t researched the background of the material before writing this review, I almost would have thought it was a fictional account as many of the details seem to be too “good” to be true and perfect source material for a compelling horror movie. Sadly, the fact that children went missing, to this day never to be found, is both sad and frightening. Even more frightening is the fact that since Rand had been locked up, no more children in Staten Island have gone missing.
Directors Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio made a very intriguing and well-informed documentary whose narrative was both compelling and engrossing. There were no dry or stale moments and scenes that went on too long, or got boring at any point. I thank the filmmakers for this. I also appreciate that there was no recycling of the information presented, as some documentaries do. One of my favorite programs on The History Channel, Gangland, is notorious for doing it. After watching a marathon of episodes, it gets redundant and extremely noticeable. I detest filling up a documentaries running time by presenting the same information and facts in a myriad of different styles and versions.
Joshua Zeman has produced a handful of other larger budgeted films, including being ex-producer of The Station Agent (2003) and co-producer on Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2004). Zeman also was responsible for the writing in Cropsey as well. This marks Brancaccio’s first foray into filmmaking. Extras on the disc include thirty minutes of Never-Before-Seen Material as well as exclusive press clips. The film was released on the Vicious Circle Films label of Breaking Glass Pictures and is presented in a 16:9 Anamorphic wide-screen, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, and is Unrated.
Canadian-native Ryan Nicholson, indie horror film director and special make-up effects extraordinaire (which he may be better known for in the film industry), comes at indie horror fans with another low-budget film production starring well-known collaborator to Nicholson, actor Dan Ellis, in the film Bleading Lady a.k.a. Star Vehicle. I actually am not sure what the film’s name goes by right now-the screener I received is titled Bleading Lady, but when I interviewed Dan Ellis not too far back on my radio show, Ellis referred to his upcoming project as Star Vehicle. I looked up the word, bleading, and I came up with zero results because I was curious if it really was, in fact, a word, until I realized that the title is a play on words. The culmination of bleeding and leading due to the fact that the lead actress in Bleading Lady portrays a lead actress in a B-Horror film who is portraying a respected Scream Queen. She (Sindy Farguna playing Riversa Red) is going to get bloody, hence bleeding, as well as being the lead in the film’s production. Well, I believe I just made the explanation of the film FAR more complicated than it needed to be.
I have great respect for Nicholson and his craft, the craft of making indie horror films loaded with a great amount of gore, carnage, and usually a fair amount of gratuitous nudity. Unfortunately, with Nicholson’s latest, I felt that much of the aforementioned was absent. Not to say there was zero gore and nudity, but the amount of bloodshed relevant to the actual plot of the film itself and not the “movie within the movie” was a far cry from what I was expecting from Nicholson and his crew. It pains me to say this, but when I hear that a new film from Ryan Nicholson is out, I expect the film to be extreme in nature and full of copious amounts of sex, nudity, vulgarity, and awesome gore. With Bleading Lady, I felt the film fell short in all areas and instead attempted to create a dialogue-plagued, whodunit-style, drama that focused on Dan Ellis’ character, Donald Q. Cardini, whom I felt did not have the depth as a character to keep one interested in watching as the main focus for the duration of the film. Sadly, I was bored with the lack of action going on during the film.
Nicholson is at his best when the levels of raunchy nudity, explosive gore, and the plot moves along at a speedy and swift pace. Unfortunately, Bleading Lady lacked the aforementioned characteristics of his films at the amount I generally enjoy them to come in. The film takes a well-known scenario involving a group of indie filmmakers making a B-Horror film who have to deal with a stalker that has taken a particular liking to the lead Scream Queen of the film. Cardini, the driver for the cast and crew of the film’s production, has a raging hard-on for Ms. Riversa Red and has decided to make it his duty to see that no one inflicts any harm or distress to her throughout the movie. Of course, Cardini’s (Ellis) love for the actress goes beyond a natural obsession and infatuation and ultimately leaves viewers wondering if Cardini is the actual stalker, a crazy fan, or a jealous crew member working on the film. I believe that the less than stellar performances from much of the cast, sadly including the lead actor Dan Ellis, could have been overlooked if there had been far more gore and titillation to distract viewers and keep them entertained. If a film is going to have fair amount of dialogue between actors and actresses, it had better be interesting and delivered decent. I was getting low-budget performances from a low-budget production. Sadly, the scenes being filmed for the “fake” film within Bleading Lady (which happened to be atrociously performed on purpose), were not much more awful than the scenes shot for the actual movie.
The fault in the film is its seriousness. There were too many scenes that were meant to be dramatic, tender, and filled with a little bit of care and emotion-WRONG! This viewer did not care about the relationships developed (on a mediocre level, I might add) between the various cast members and crew working on the phony film. This film is not going to work with a sappy romantic interlude anywhere in it- it is going to work with obnoxiously crude humor, vulgarity, action, and loads of gore and over-the-top violence. Nicholson knows no other way. Leave the stupid dramas with tender scenes of affection and emotional interludes to the professionals who thrive at doing so on a daily basis, thus making the kinds of films that I loathe and rarely find any point in watching. The music throughout the film, courtesy of Gianni Rossi, was absolutely horrendous! I felt that the soundtrack of the film was, quite possibly, the most annoying aspect to the whole film. It made every scene feel incredibly cheesy somehow. The music really belonged in a bad, ’70s porno film and not in a horror film. I believe that was the problem with the film- I just couldn’t tell if things were meant to be cheesy and unrealistic for comedic purposes or if there was any seriousness to this film at all. Sadly, if the entire production was tongue-in-cheek and supposed to be humorous, it failed miserably. I don’t think I chuckled once throughout the entire film.
The good points to the film were the gore and nudity- although the scenes of nudity were sparse (Faraguna got totally naked once if I recall correctly) and the gore that actually occurred in the film was for the faux-film and not actually for the real action. I usually find nothing good coming about films that have a film created within it. They tend to suck. Bleading Lady did not completely suck, but based on the last couple of films I have seen from Nicholson (Gutterballs, Hanger), I was thoroughly disappointed. I think that if Dan Ellis and Sindy Faraguna were not the lead characters in this film, it would have been a total bomb. I think Dan Ellis has generally been strongest actor in the few Nicholson films I have been privy to and it was the case again, but Ellis did not have too much to work with in terms of dialogue delivered. The film was written by Nicholson, as well as directed, and the dialogue could have been a bit more realistic and there should have been far less of it. The film lacked an overall intensity that should have been present as scenes were delivered.
By the end of the film, I really could care less who the stalker was and what his or her reasons were for stalking the Riversa Red. Mass suicide by all characters in the film at its conclusion would have been acceptable to me at this point. I am more-so interested in Nicholson’s upcoming Grindhouse-throwback feature Famine. The trailer for Famine was far more interesting than the whole film Bleading Lady was. Sadly, I think fans of Ryan Nicholson’s films are going to be very disappointed with Bleading Lady.
Ninjas Vs. Vampires, directed by Justin Timpane (Ninjas Vs. Zombies), looks to be a film with lots of action, probably some humor, and maybe some blood and gore. Also of note, Gary Ugarek (the latter of which I have had on my radio show for his zombie flicks Deadlands and its sequel) was involved in directing one scene in the film (even though IMDB, as of this writing, has him listed as a co-director. I was contacted by Timpane to let me know of this error in the IMDB listing so thanks to him the facts are straight. Timpane (if IMDB is correct) is listed as guest director on Ugarek’s upcoming Deadlands III film. Hopefully, Ninjas Vs. Vampires does not disappoint!
The world of low-budget cinema can always use more ninjas and vampires schlocky, chop-sockey flicks, right? After watching the trailer for Ninjas Vs. Vampires, I can only hope that there is a fair amount of gore, nudity, and tongue-in-cheek humor and that the filmmakers do not take themselves to seriously with this, especially in the choreography of the fight scenes which I am betting will not be on par with Ip Man or any Jet Li or Jackie Chan flicks. These type of films can be outrageously entertaining or dreadfully boring. I will let ya know which direction this indie flick goes in, but until then- ENJOY THE TRAILER!
DVD Release: May 2011
Ninjas battle vampires for the fate of the world in this all new Action-Horror-Comedy from the creators of 2010’s cult smash, Ninjas vs. Zombies! Moments after down-on-his-luck Aaron is rejected by the girl of his dreams, they both are attacked by blood-sucking vampires. Driven to save her, Aaron tracks down the …mysterious ninjas, who wage a nightly war against the forces of darkness. Now, as the vampire overlord Seth plots to destroy mankind, Aaron has only one choice – join the ninjas, save the world, and get the girl… or die trying.
Sexy, funny, shocking, and bloody, Ninjas vs. Vampires delivers an action-packed comedic adventure unlike any other!
SOURCE: Breaking Glass Pictures
Cropsey was a film I first heard about (of all places) at the bar I work at in Chicago quite a bit ago (The film is listed in IMDB as having came out in ’09). The bartender, who also happens to have a love for the macabre and all things horror-related that spans from serial killers, strange deaths, gore films, to porn, corpses, and overall sick and twisted shit. She told me about this movie and I have been waiting for it to finally get some distribution and it looks like the guys over at Breaking Glass Pictures get to distribute it. I am glad that they are distributing it because I get tons of screeners from them and they are an awesome company that puts out some quality product. Here is the synopsis and trailer for Cropsey:
Synopsis (courtesy BGP):
Growing up on Staten Island, filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio had often heard the legend of Cropsey. For the kids in their neighborhood, Cropsey was the escaped mental patient who lived in the old, abandoned Willowbrook Mental Institution and would come out at night to snatch children off the streets. Later, as teenagers, the filmmakers assumed Cropsey was just an urban legend: a cautionary tale used to keep them out of those abandoned buildings. That all changed in the summer of 1987 when 12-year-old Jennifer Schweiger disappeared from their community.
Now as adults Joshua and Barbara have returned to Staten Island to create “Cropsey,” a feature documentary that delves into the mystery behind Jennifer and four additional missing children. The film also investigates Andre Rand, the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances. Embarking on a mysterious journey into the underbelly of their forgotten borough, these filmmakers uncover a reality that is more terrifying than any urban legend.
Release: May 2011
Breaking Glass Pictures has announced the April 5 DVD release of director Mark Claywell’s documentary “American Jihadist.” The Slamdance “Best Doc” winner follows American-born Muslim militant Isa Abdullah Ali and his life story. The documentary has played at over a dozen film festivals and won Best Documentary at last year’s Slamdance. Isa Abdullah Ali is an American soldier, a family man, and a Jihadist. Calling one all three of those things seems to me to be a colossal contradiction and I am sure that will be one thing looked at and probably discussed during the course of the film. Ever since 9/11, I have been personally interested in learning more about those individuals whose faith and religion is hell-bent on destroying my place of birth, the beloved United States. Well, at times there are injustices and key elements that even I may disagree or find to be wrong, but having some democracy in one’s nation is a wonderful thing.
I am very interested to get a hold of this film and see what it’s all about. Aside from gory horror films, I am a total geek for a well-made documentary. At times, I almost prefer to watch documentaries over horror films. The sole reason is that I love to learn about new ideas, values, customs, and regions. Documentaries serve as a breeding ground for knowledge and are excellent learning tools for those that do not like reading books. They make learning that much more fun and video footage always can tell so much more in a far quicker span of time than reading a few pages of a book can. I love reading too, but sometimes I want a quick stimulating story told in about two or three hours than I want to read a thick, lengthy book that may take well over a day or two to read if read straight through. That is my personal mantra on why documentaries rule!
The following is the documentary’s synopsis courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures:
American soldier. Family man. Jihadist. Isa Abdullah Ali is a person of many identities and contradictions, but in the beginning, he was a bullied young boy growing up in America’s capital. At fifteen he joined the American army, and as a young man he converted to Islam and fought alongside the Amal militia and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Though the details of his past are murky, Isa claims to have killed more than 150 people in the fight to defend his faith.
Through Isa’s own words and those of family members, psychologists and political experts, this award-winning documentary attempts to decode the social and personal influences that can lead an individual down a path to radicalism. American Jihadist reaches beyond easy labels to grasp the nuances behind one man’s decision to fight — and kill — for his religion.
The DVD will also include behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Check out the trailer here:
Source: Breaking Glass Pictures
Half Moon, starring adult-film actress Tori Black, will have a release date of March 1, 2011. Here is the latest and final cover art for the Vicious Circle Films dvd. Be on the look-out for a review once we get the screener over here.
Actually, I have to laugh every time I write “we” because it is just me, Shu, a one-man army. The reason why posts sometimes are sporadic or arrive in a flurry of updates is due to my eccentricity and feeling that writing urge. Since I am always on the go, generally living between Southwest side of Chicago, the North side of Chicago, and the Northwest Suburbs- shit can get very hectic but I will always find a way to post news I think is worthy and get reviews of films out.
The January DVD GIVEAWAY CONTEST, sponsored in party by Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films has been pushed back to February, part in fact due to my birthday being this month, monetary issues, and a certain special person in my life having some major oral surgery (no pun or jokes in that statement, really!). So bare with me, ladies and gentleman.
The new trailer, Half Moon, from Breaking Glass Pictures is up on the company’s Youtube channel. The film stars adult film sensation Tori Black, directed and written by Jason Toler, and the plot of the film revolves around a man killing prostitues. Kind of sounds like a certain murderer by the name of Jack the Ripper….Check out the trailer and let us know what ya think about it! The number one thing on my mind is will Tori Black be showing the goods?!?!
Run Bitch Run, directed by Joseph Guzman and written by Guzman and Robert James Hayes II, is a pretty straight-forward revenge-rape tale in the tradition of Last House on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave, and other stories where the central plot of a girl and her pal going out to a town or area that is foreign to them and run into trouble of the worst possible kind. This time around, the two girls (Catherine and Rebecca) are religious nitwits that are trying to sell their bibles so they can get enough money to go on some religious retreat of sorts.
Does this plot sound like anything groundbreaking or original? NO. It is a story that has been reworked in one format or another many times.
Did I enjoy this film and find enough originality in it aside from the basic structure of the film? YES. This film was enjoyable to watch and strayed away from many of the cliche and annoying aspects from certain films that follow the rape-revenge formula.
Rebecca (Christina DeRosa) and Catherine (Cheryl Lyone) trying to sell some bibles
Another aspect of the film I enjoyed is that the director chose not to have meaningless or tediously unnecessary dialogue and random bullshit littered in between pivotal scenes in the movie. Some of these rape-revenge films have filler scenes with random and over-all boring chit-chat sprinkled in between scenes or action or violence. I find that totally unnecessary and extremely annoying. Kudos to the director for keeping the film concise and to the point. Movies like this really can drag on for the plot usually is quite simple. The protagonists of the film, Lobo (Peter Tahoe) , Clint (Johnny Winscher), and Marla (Ivet Corvea), were believable dirt-bags and each had a certain edge to them and distinct elements of individual character.
My only complaint with the film probably would be the soundtrack accompanying it. It truly annoyed the hell out of me. I feel the filmmakers were going for the ’70s look or feel in Run Bitch Run, reminiscent of the many grindhouse and exploitation films of that era which may explain why the music in the film was the way it was, but it did not do anything for me except annoy me and distract me from what was going on in front of the camera, although naked chicks running around kept me pretty attentive nonetheless.
Run Bitch Run is Joseph Guzman’s first film and I think he did a very good job on it. He has a new film Nude Nuns with Big Guns in post-production right now. Again, I am looking forward to seeing this flick based on the title alone and hope he will deliver the goods that the title suggests. Guzman may very well have a very promising career in the exploitation genre if he continues along this path. If he increases the level of blood and gore on his films, he very well may be one of the more enjoyable directors to watch for upcoming projects.Vicious Circle Filmshas obtained another film for their camp and it did not fail to entertain, titillate, and facilitate my needs for exploitation, horror, and sinful debauchery. I look forward to all future projects from director and production company.