COMING SOON: NICK HUNT’S SAFE PLACE

BY AMY MEAD

 SAFE PLACE: COMING 2018

Safe Place poster

SAFE PLACE

Directed by Nick Hunt (as Nicholas Hunt)

Screenplay written by Preston Fassel, Nick Hunt, Andrew J. Robinson and  Pennie Sublime

And starring Lara Jean Mummert, Ashley Mary Nunez, James Robert Taylor and Genoveva Rossi

 

So here’s some exciting news in the horror world…First time Director Nick Hunt has recently released the teaser trailer for his upcoming feature film, Safe Place.

Over the holiday weekend, it was announced that the teaser trailer was the first official selection for  THE DEAD OF NIGHT FILM FESTIVAL and we here at Death & Giggles would like to congratulate Nick and the entire crew on this success. We hope to see many more for them in the future!

 

For those of you not already in the know, the films synopsis is as follows:
 
Six students attend a party to celebrate their friend’s successful art show opening. Their presence triggers memories of a traumatic event in the host’s past, and he resolves to positively impact the course of their lives – by ending them.
 
When speaking with Nick, he had this to say about his upcoming film:

SAFE PLACE is a culmination of 10 years of careful planning, and 19 months of execution. It is above all a horror film FOR the fans, by the fans. We dedicate ourselves to not making a self aware horror film but a socially conscious horror film instead. You will go into SAFE PLACE thinking it’s like every other Horror film you’ve seen before, but then sooner than later we’ll surprise you, we’ll hit you in the gut, and do some things you (the fans) aren’t expecting. At the end of the day I am showing my appreciation for the genre, not my parody or attempt at recreation.

You can check out the teaser trailer below:

Safe Place

 

Safe Place is Nick Hunt’s directorial debut and will be released sometime in Februrary 2018.

We here at D&G are looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us!

Be on the lookout for more news as we receive it or you can check out their facebook page here , or their imdb page for more information here.

 

 

FILM REVIEW: BEYOND THE VALLEY OF BELIEF

By Amy Mead

Beyond the Valley of Belief

Beyond The Valley Of Belief: Real or Unreal Vol. 1


Directed by Brian Papandrea

Written by Brain Papandrea, Nathan Rumler and Brian Kilby

Starring Brian Papandrea, Brian Kilby, Nathan Rumler, Sadie Tate, James Bell and Adam Lorenz


Rock Bottom Video has got to be one of my favorite indie production companies around right now. Having been a huge fan of their other films, Fangboner, and the Big F, I was very pleased to find out that The Rock Bottom Video boys were  back at it with yet another contribution to the indie film world. And what a contribution it is.

Their latest effort, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF BELIEF: Real or Unreal Vol. 1, is a highly entertaining parody of the old television series Beyond Belief: Fact of Fiction. For those of you that don’t know, the show ran from 1997-2002 and would present the audience with a series of  weird, outlandish, and creepy tales that the viewer would try to determine if they were true or false. The show host, Jonathan Frakes, would then do a reveal at the end of each episode.

What the gang over at Rock Bottom Videos have given us with Beyond the Valley of Belief is something similar in that it follows the format in that respect. But that is where any similarities end. The content presented is unlike anything you’d ever see on the actual show. And it is fucking hilarious.

Our host, Jonathan Fritz (Brian Papandrea) presents us with five stories that include a scarecrow man, haunted bicycles, possessed toys, vampire cannibals, farting ghosts, and an evil witch, while simultaneously losing his battle with alcoholism and continued sobriety in a special live Halloween episode.

There are five segments, complete with commercials, and while not all of them are not all equally entertaining, they are all extremely amusing. I found it to be quite a challenge  to stop laughing,especially at the commercials (which are sure to delight fans of their other films). And some of the stories had me rolling. My stomach hurt after watching this film. 

Director Brain Papandrea has done a great job with the films micro-budget. The film seems to carry itself along on its own momentum, almost seamlessly. And as usual, Brian Kilby kills it with the camera work and lighting. 

Starring the usual cast of Rock Bottoms other productions, the acting in this film was beyond hilarious. Brain Papandrea, Brian Kilby, Nathan Rumler and Sadie Tate are all back in new roles, and they are nothing short of fantastic in them. That being said, I have to say the stand out performance here for me is Brian Papandrea. His portrayal as a witch is one of the greatest things I have ever seen in an indie film. 

I like a little comedy mixed in with my horror and I truly cannot recommend this film enough. It’s campy, fun, and even a little bit bloody. Grab yourself a copy and see for yourself. And while you’re at it, check out the other films they have to offer. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

FILM REVIEW: THE BURNINGMOORE DEATHS

BY AMY MEAD

The Burningmoore Deaths

The Burningmoore Deaths

Directed by Jonathan Williams

Written by James A. Colletti and Jonathan WIlliams

Starring Geoff Tate, Tony Guida and James Doheny



James Parrish was a quiet family man who never exhibited any signs of mental illness or committed any crimes. All that changed when his wife and three children were found brutally murdered on a cold winter night in early 2010. All evidence pointed to James. Although police officials conducted a nationwide manhunt for the loving family man turned killer, he was somehow able to avoid capture and was not seen or heard from those who knew him again. 

Five long years after the heinous crimes, the Parrish family home is purchased by a man looking to turn it into a bed and breakfast while filming the first episode of his home improvement show, Let’s Get Hammered. Unfortunately for the film crew, James is back and he is very unhappy about their presence in his home. What was supposed to be a 30 day shoot ends tragically in just one day as the cameras capture the murders of the film crew…

 

First announced in 2010, and supposedly based on true events, The Burningmoore Deaths (Also known as The Burningmoore Incident or Reality Kills) which features former Queensryche frontman, Geoff Tate in his acting debut, has been quite a few years in the making.

Having been a longtime Queensryche fan since my early teens AND a complete sucker for found footage films, I naturally HAD to watch this after discovering that it was finally available. After seeing Geoff Tate perform on stage many times, I was eager to see what he was capable of when it came to acting. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. There was a lot of potential with this role but he never speaks a word (other than the films narration) and all we really get to see of him are some occasional menacing looks that are caught on  the film crew cameras. There’s nothing spectacular about this role, or his performance in it. What could have been a breakout role for him just sort of falls flat. And it’s a damn shame.

Sadly, despite some great ideas and what could have been a great film, The Burningmoore Deaths falls short. Really short. Most of the murders take place in dark areas and are only seen through grainy camera shots. What could have been some rather brutal and bloody kill scenes are unfortunately lackluster and diluted by the way they are presented and the audience is left wanting more. Much more.

My biggest problem with this film is the almost complete lack of back story. There is very little character introduction with James Parrish and we have no idea why he up and  lost it and killed his family seemingly out of nowhere. There’s a rather weak mention of how he got a tattoo of the word “MOROS”, which roughly translates into “God” or “Diety”, just before committing the murders but nothing more than that.

The Burningmoore Deaths is like a mash up of Extreme Home Makeover and a true crime documentary, which I would normally be all about, but unfortunately the action is far too low key for a film of this nature. What could have been a fairy decent film as far as found footage goes, is just disappointing, boring, and dull. I was left wanting both my time and money back. Save yourself the grief and skip this one, you won’t be missing much.

FILM REVIEW: ANTIBIRTH (2016)

BY AMY MEAD 

Antibirth poster

ANTIBIRTH

Written and Directed by Danny Perez

Starring Natasha Lyonne, Chloe Sevigny, and Meg Tilly


Lou, a girl from a small Michigan town where girls are known to come up missing, loves to party. And she does so often. Pills, booze, cocaine, weed -you name it, she’ll do it.

After one particularly hazy drunken night, she wakes up in an abandoned warehouse with no memory of how she got there, or what happened the night before.

Almost immediately, she begins to experience symptoms of pregnancy. She has no memory of sleeping with anyone in months, so she quickly laughs the idea off when her friend suggests that she might be pregnant.

Very quickly, the symptoms progress into some pretty profound and alarming changes and within days, she looks like she’s halfway through an otherwise normal pregnancy. Her “due date” seems to be rapidly approaching. By the time she finally accepts it, it’s too late to terminate the mysterious “pregnancy”.

Through investigative work and hazy memories, Lou pieces events together and discovers some shocking revelations. It would appear that not only was she was someone’s unwitting guinea pig for the newest trendy drug on the street, she was sold out by her best friend.

And unfortunately, what is inside her is far from normal…

 

If you are familiar with IFC Films, you already know that we see some pretty wild films come out IFC Midnight. Antibirth is no exception to that.

It is one truly bizarre film. Scenes are often weirdly disjointed and superimposed and at times it’s pace is all over the place. We never really know where Danny Perez will take us next with his direction and presentation of the scenes. And that’s a huge part of what makes this film work.

Another large part of the film’s success is the extremely talented cast.

Natasha Lyonne’s portrayal of lead chracter Lou is absolutely fantastic. There aren’t many likable characters and Lou is the least likable of all. She is vulgar, rude and crass. She guzzles down tequila and chain smokes like nobody’s business. Lou is the epitome of white trash. We despise her, yet somehow you get sucked into her world and can’t help but keep watching and witnessing the train wreck unfolding on the screen.

Lyonne makes us care about the character enough to find out how this all culminates for her with ease. She is a true talent and this role really highlights her skill. It makes me wish we’d see more of her in films.

The supporting cast, which includes the likes of Chloe Sevigny and Meg Tilly also does a great deal for the film’s success. While their parts are not huge they are an integral part of Lou’s story and each of them bring something to the film with their talents.

I would have liked to see Meg Tilly’s character, Lorna fleshed out a bit more. Unfortunately, she isn’t really utilized to the fullest potential that the character carries and it almost seems like like something vital to the film is missing.Thankfully, with Perez’s direction and Lyonne’s acting, it doesn’t matter much.

Antibirth is original and weird. Really fucking weird. And for that alone I really enjoyed it.

It’s a bit like watching someone else’s acid trip. It feels like a descent into madness and depravity – and it’s one hell of a ride. Danny Perez has done an outstanding job with his feature debut.

Overall, it’s an excellent film to watch on a lazy afternoon. If you are looking for something a little off the beaten path, I recommend checking it out for yourself.

 

FEAR FRONT PUBLISHING TO RELEASE AUTOBIGRAPHY OF 45 GRAVE’S DINAH CANCER

Dinah ROTLD promo

By Amy Mead

 

We have some exciting news for both music AND horror fans this afternoon!

 

Most of you will know Dinah Cancer and her band 45 Grave from their contribution to the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack with the song, “Party Time” and more recently for their contribution to the 2009 Night of the Demons remake with the song “Night of the Demons”.

 

It was announced by Rob DiLauro, CEO of Fear Front Publishing, via video message on facebook, earlier today that he and the legendary Dinah Cancer will be teaming up, and together they will unleash her autobiography upon the horrorpunk loving masses sometime in late 2017.

 

Here’s what FFP’s CEO Rob Dilauro had to say about the upcoming project:

In 1979 a fierce, driven woman fronted a band that would revolutionize a certain sound many had called Ghoul Rock and inspired a pure infusion of horror and music.

 

The lady behind the microphone with gothic beauty, manic and fiery energy, and a stage presence and persona that made her a queen was Dinah Cancer and the legendary band was known as 45 Grave.

 

Her life in the punk scene became a legacy, and after sharing the stage with acts like Black Flag, The Misfits, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, The Cramps, and The Damned, Dinah grew to be a symbol of strength, power, and fantasy for many fans through the decades. After success with songs like their single Party Time which became the anthem for the classic film Return Of The Living Dead, 45 Grave became a staple in the horror community that would never die.

 

Now it is time to tell the story of Dinah Cancer and her metamorphosis and journey to become one of punk’s reigning Queens.

 

Fear Front Publishing is honored and proud to announce a collaboration between the woman behind her persona, Mary Sims, and horror entertainer Rob DiLauro to give music and horror fans a true biographical account of her life, career, as well as her legacy that will never enter the grave.

 

She is 45 Grave, She is Dinah Cancer, and her story is coming to Fear Front Publishing in late 2017…

 

Dinah Cancer in makeup for Night of the Demons video

 

 

45 Grave's Dinah Cancer
Anti club, 1984, photo by Rocky de Vega

 

I also had the opportunity to speak with Dinah briefly today, and she is very excited to get moving on the project and share her story with all of the bands fans.

 

We here at D&G will do our best to keep you updated with any news regarding any developments with this exciting collaboration and when we can expect it to become available for your reading pleasure.

And don’t forget to head on over to www.fearfrontpublishing.com and check out all the great titles that are currently available through their publishing company! There are some great reads there!

 

FILM REVIEW: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE

Review by Amy Mead

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Directed by Andre Overdal

Starring Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch


Tommy and Austin Tildon, respectively played by Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch, are a father and son who run a local mortuary. Just as they are about to call it a day, they receive the corpse of an unidentified young woman. Right away, something seems off with the girls body. It is mysteriously unmarred and has no outward appearance of a violent death. Due to the extremely strange nature of the brutal crime scene the corpse was discovered at, the local sheriff asks them to put a rush on things and try find the cause of death by morning.

The father and son team soon set to work on the girl. Upon their examination of the corpse, they so begin to find one disturbing thing after another. Her ankles  and wrists have been shattered, her tongue has been cut out and all her injuries have made no outward appearance on the young girls body.

With each bizarre discovery, things become more unsettling and ominous as they get closer to uncovering Jane Doe’s terrifying secrets. And her frightening capabilities.

 

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe 2

 

Having been a massive fan of director Andre Overdal’s 2010 film TROLLHUNTER, I had been anxiously awaiting this film for quite some time. I am very happy to report  that this was one of the rare instances that I was not disappointed when finally viewing a film I had been this eager to see.

Once in a while, a film comes along that makes all the shitty ones you’ve suffered through while trying to find something truly entertaining worth it. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is that film.

While the film does have a few very minor flaws, the first half of the film is beyond creepy and the delivery of the scares is beautifully crafted. Overdal takes he audience on a very tense and terrifyingly relentless ride that must be experienced firsthand.

He works beyond the budgetary limits of the film and uses them to his advantage with dramatic camera angles, lighting, and he delivers a very strong sense of dread with a slow, methodic pace that never gets boring. The film is set in confined space and Overdal makes the most of it, using the already existing creepiness of the set design to his full advantage.

 

the-autopsy-of-jane-doe-2016-4

 

That being said, Overdal’s talents are not enough to completely sell the film. The film features knockout performances by both Cox and Hirsch, which do a great deal in making the film the success that it is. Their portrayals of these characters really deliver, providing the film with the strength, depth, and emotional backbone that it needs.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one of the best films in the last year, hands down. Although unexpected, it was a much needed breath of fresh air in horror. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest that you do so as soon as possible. The film is damn near perfect. See it. Today.

FILM REVIEW: THE CONJURING 2

By Amy Mead

 

The Conjuring 2

the-conjuring-2-poster

Directed by James Wan

Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’ Connor, Lauren Esposito and Madison Wolfe


Set a decade after the events of the first film in the series, James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 gives the audience a further look into the real case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are coming down off a huge wave of notoriety from their association with the famed Amityville case in 1976.

In this stand alone installment of the film series, the story of the Hodgson family and the events that led to The Warren’s involvement in the case that became known as The Enfield Poltergeist, is told.

London, England 1977.

After her daughter Janet’s bright, fun loving nature suddenly becomes very erratic, aggressive and unpredictably violent, single mother Peggy Hodgson becomes increasingly worried about her daughter’s well being. Janet begins sleepwalking and talking in her sleep, her behavior becoming even more erratic and violent. Before long, the whole family is witnessing paranormal occurrences.  Things continue to escalate, becoming more terrifying every day.

The Conjuring 2

Peggy comes to the realization that there is something sinister at hand. Something that could quite possibly be demonic. And it has made it cleas that it does not want them here. Her whole family is in very real danger. She begins to fear for their safety and turns to both the media and church for help.

As Janet begins to show more signs of demonic possession, The Warrens are asked by the church to get involved in the investigation. They travel to the family’s home in England and their involvement in the case soon gets them targeted by the entity. A battle begins to not only save Janet and the rest of Hodgson clan, but to save Ed’s soul from the demon Valak as well…

This installment of the franchise is more elaborate and dramatic than it’s predecessor, filled with twice as many hair-raising scenes and chilling visual effects. There is a constant sense of  darkness, foreboding, and underlying dread, even in the less action packed moments of the film. There is a great deal of tension, which really lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the film.

the-conjuring-2-janet-possessed

While Wan kills it with his direction, the film would be nothing without Madison Wolfe’s portrayal of young Janet Hodgson. When the entity takes over, she is one seriously creepy child. Her performance when taken over by the entity is truly unsettling.

Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson also once again shine in their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren. Their performances as they get to further develop these characters are nothing short of outstanding. I hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters at work.

Although a bit slow to really get rolling, once it does, it is relentless. The Conjuring 2 may very well be James Wan’s finest contribution to the horror genre yet. The way the multitude of scares are presented to the audience keeps them on the edge of their seat and wanting more while simultaneously making them dread it. There is never a dull moment.

As far as sequels go, The Conjuring 2 not only lives up to the original, but it delivers a truly frightful stand alone story that is sure to creep its audiences out. This could very well be one of the best sequels to be released in the genre in quite some time.

If you are looking for gore, you are in the wrong place. There’s not much of that to be had here. What it does have throughout its entire run is suspense and apprehension, delivered through a skilled mix of jump scares, sound, and cinematography.

I am happy to say that The Conjuring 2 was a nice little break from the slasher films I normally go for, and in my humble opinion there need to be more movies like this. It was the first time in a long time I actually experienced genuine fear and apprehension while watching a film and it left me wanting more.

Wan is a true master of fear who knows how the deliver the scares. I can’t sing his praises enough. I have yet to be disappointed in one of his films. Say what you will about some of the more recent fare that mainstream horror has had to offer, but this man’s work is entertaining, fresh, and it genuinely scares me. I’ll recommend (and watch it) it any day of the week.

SERIES REVIEW: THE CHAINSAW SALLY SHOW

By Amy Mead 

The Chainsaw Sally Show

Season One 

Chainsaw Sally Show Season One

Brought to you by the mind of Jimmyo Burril

Starring April Monique Burril, Azman Toy, Lilli Burril and Nicolette Le Faye

And featuring appearances by Debbie Rochin, Jimmyo Burril, Monique Dupree, Jordan Wyandt and many more


Back in 2004, Jimmyo Burril unleashed the Chainsaw Sally character upon the word with the indie film of the same name. The Chainsaw Sally Show, which began in 2010is a continuation of that character’s story.

Sally Diamon (April Monique Burril) is a woman who witnessed the brutal murder of her parents as a young girl. Needless to say, it fucked her up royally. She, along with her eccentric and colorful brother Ruby, has grown up to be a serial killer. 

 

chainsaw-sally-show-season-one-1

 

Sally is a librarian by day and a vicious killer by night. She keeps a vigilant watch, seeking revenge on the more unsavory residents of Porterville, Maryland. Parking in a handicapped spot to go jogging, littering, bullying, and being a creepy pervert are unacceptable to Sally. Commit any of those offenses and it’s practically a guarantee you’ll meet the business end of Sally’s trusty chainsaw “Gunnar”.

Yes, Sally is a killer, But she is by no means your average killer. Instead of preying on the weak and innocent, she prefers to go after what she considers to be the dregs of society. Sometimes Ruby even gets in on the action.

These sinister siblings share quite a bond. They thoroughly enjoy killing together and then cannibalizing all those who dare to piss them off. And let me tell you this: they are very good at it. Their relationship is very entertaining to watch and the chemistry they have as brother and sister is something that is almost heartwarming, in a very twisted sense. 

She may be a vicious killer, but not all “crimes” are punishable by death in Sally’s eyes. Delivering her peanut butter cookies when she asked for mint thins might just get you kept in a cage as her personal pet, much like fan favorite Busy Bee (Nicolette Le Faye).

Sally isn’t always totally full of maniacal rage, however. And we see this through her interactions with local goth girl, and library helper Poe. After working with her at the library, she develops a bit of a sweet spot for Poe. When she is the victim of bullying by two asshole high school girls, Sally makes them pay dearly. It is a beautiful thing to see.

 

Chainsaw Sally Show

 

With a runtime of 275 minutes, there is much to love with Season one of The Chainsaw Sally Show. It’s got blood, gore, humor and boobs aplenty, with a definite sort of punk rock kind of feel. It’s very indie but that’s what makes it so much damn fun. That in itself is what makes it work so well. When you add in the inventive and sometimes over the top kills, it’s just a lot of fun to watch. The special effects are exceptionally well done for such a low budget affair.

The story line is rather simple but thanks to Jimmyo Burril’s direction, and the way the cast brings their respective roles to life, it does it’s job keeping the audience entertained through it’s entirety. The way April Monique Burril transitions to all the many facets of Sally’s character is truly a showcase of her acting skills. By the end of it’s run, I had fallen completely in love with Sally and the rest of the gang. I really didn’t want it to end. There truly is a lot to love here, even for the most seasoned of horror fans.

It is my humble opinion that The Chainsaw Sally Show truly deserves a space on the shelves of all cult horror fans all over the world. If you are into horror comedy mashed up with a little revenge and a lot of gore, I strongly recommend you check this series out. You’ll love it.

And If you like what you see, The Chainsaw Sally Show Season Two also exists and is available for your viewing pleasure!

FILM REVIEW: ROB ZOMBIE’S 31

By Amy Mead

Rob Zombie's 31

3I

Written and directed by Rob Zombie

Starring Sheri Moon Zombie, Meg Foster, Malcom McDowell, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Richard Brake, E.G. Daily, Lew Temple and many more.

 


The night before Halloween, a group of carnival workers on their way to the next midway hit a bizarre roadblock of voodoo type scarecrows. A few of the group decide to investigate and before they know it they are overtaken by a gang costumed figures. Only five of them survive the attack. The survivors (Charly, Roscoe, Panda, Venus and Levon) are bound and gagged, and then driven to a large compound where they are told that they are now contestants in a game called “31”. It is revealed that they are up against a group of homicidal maniacs and must fight for their lives. They have no choice.

One by one, the group begins to meet up with their adversaries, the “Heads”. They have 12 hours to play. And survive. It’s fight or die.

Well, here we go again. Another Rob Zombie film. 

Most of Zombie’s films seem to be either hit or miss with most horror fans (myself included). And 31 Is no exception to that. With 31, Zombie has once again given us another film where the fans and critics alike are most likely either going to love it or flat out hate it.

Much like his 2012 effort, The Lords of Salem (which is considered by many to be his best film but sadly bombed at the box office) there doesn’t seem to be much of an in between with 31. The reception has been mixed thus far and once again, fans seem to either love it or hate it. 

For me, the jury is still out on this one. I don’t love it or hate it but I will say this: There are as many things to love about 31 as there are to hate about it. But admittedly, this seems to be the norm for me when it comes to Rob Zombie’s film efforts.

One of this biggest issues with 31 is that right from the start, there is very little character introduction to be had and the film suffers a bit because of that. There is minimal attachment to any of the films protagonists. No one’s death really makes much of an impact or feels like much of a loss in the grand scheme of things. I did kinda fall in love with Lawrence Hiton-Jacobs’ (of Welcome Back, Kotter fame) character Panda however. 

Sheri Moon Zombie’s character, Charly,  comes off as a self centered, vulgar asshole almost immediately. She has almost zero likability and it’s hard to care about what happens to her or those in the group with her. Sheri Moon Zombie’s acting (once again) does what could have been a standout role  for her absolutely no justice. But let’s face it: At this point does that really come as a surprise anymore? 

Unfortunately, we’ve seen most of these characters several times over in Zombie’s various other films. Because of that, I found myself actually routing for the “Heads”. Richard Brakes’s “Doom-Head” to be more specific. There is a standout performance in 31 and he is definitely it. 

I also really enjoyed Lew Temple’s humorous take on Psycho-Head, and I would have loved to see more of these two homicidal, yet humorous maniacs in action.

Another big issue I had with 31 is the mystique about the captors themselves. There is little explanation as to who these people are or what exactly the rules are here. What happens if our protagonist actually make it the 12 hours? What then? And how have these people never been caught? All we really know for sure is that this “event” seems to be an annual thing for these sickos.

There are many flaws in 31 but there is a saving grace here: Zombie’s eye for detail. The sound, the lighting and the brilliant use of quality practical effects are all amazing and do absolute wonders for the film. There are many things that Rob Zombie falls a bit short on with his writing and character development at times, but he does do stunning visual and audio work on all of his films.

All in all, 31 is worth checking out. It’s fun, it’s delightfully twisted at times (Thank you, Malcolm McDowell) and it’s got some good gore happening throughout it’s run. The ending though? Brace yourselves for disappointment. 

 

FILM REVIEW: BLAIR WITCH

By: Amy Mead 

blair witch callie-hernandez

BLAIR WITCH

 

Directed by Adam Wingard

Written by Simon Barrett

Starring Callie Hernandez, James Allen McCune, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Valorie Curry and Wes Robinson


When James Donohue was just four years old, his sister Heather went off into the Black Hills of Maryland to shoot a documentary about local legend, The Blair Witch. Heather along with fellow filmmakers, Joshua Leonard and Mike Williams all disappeared. They seemingly vanished, leaving behind nothing but their footage and a slew of unanswered questions. None of them were seen alive again.

For 17 years, James has been in turmoil. Often wondering what happened to Heather, he has been seeking answers regarding her disappearance anywhere he can. He stumbles upon a video that someone uploaded to youtube that was supposedly found in the woods where the three filmmakers disappeared. Upon close examination of the video, James becomes convinced that sees his sister. Hoping to find some sort of evidence that will get the local police to reopen the case, he is compelled to further investigate the area where the tape was found. He enlists the help of some friends, Peter, Ashley and Lisa (who wants to document the search for her film thesis) to go on a search and upon their arrival they are joined by locals, Lane and Talia and head off into Blair Witch territory…

 

 

In 1999, relative unknowns Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez burst onto the scene with The Blair Witch Project. It was made on an almost nonexistent budget and was one of the first films in the found footage sub-genre to gain popularity. The film garnered all sorts of unexpected acclaim from fans and critics alike, igniting a media frenzy. Word got out and the film began raking in some serious cash at the box office. To the tune of over $248 million worldwide. 

In 2000 fans were given a horribly lackluster sequel to the hit film when Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, directed by Joe Berlingerhit the theaters. Although it was met with moderate  financial success, the plot had little to do with the first film and many of the original films fans were disappointed and left wanting more. 

Flash forward about 17 years or so to 2016 and the theatrical release of a direct sequel to the first film, Blair Witch. This installment is helmed by Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) and was written by Wingard’s frequent collaborator, Simon Barrett (also of You’re Next, The Guest fame). Many believed he was working on an unrelated film called The Woods, until it was announced that it was in fact a direct sequel to the 1999 film shortly before the films September 16th release. 

blair-witch-poster-s

What Wingard and Barrett have given us with this installment is the sequel fans wanted back in 2000 when the atrocity that is Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 hit the screens. A sequel that the original film, and the mythology of The Blair Witch, deserved. 

Presented with an almost ear splitting emphasis on sudden loud noises paired with numerous jump scares, the first half of the film is often humorous and it’s almost as if Wingard is attempting to lull the audience into a false sense of security and make them feel at ease,  just to scare the shit out of them later in the last half of the film, primarily with the films climactic conclusion. That being said, he almost relies a bit too heavily on the jump scares at times. 

One way the film is raging success is the way in which it seeps under the audiences skin and in that respect it is much like the first film. Not only that, but most of the key elements are here. The sound of snapping branches off in the distance, mysterious stick figures and the piles of rocks – all building the sense of anticipation, anxiety and fear. And the last 15-20 minutes of the film? Whoa! Very intense. The audience gets a glimpse of something that just raises more questions and adds a whole new level to the mythology of the witch. 

Blair Witch

There are also a few new elements going on with this one and they are enjoyable to say the least. There is the addition of the whole paradox thing that seems to be going on in the woods, and even a little bit of body horror when Ashley slices her foot open crossing Tappy East Creek of all places. 

One major thing that Blair Witch has going against it is that the viral marketing campaign and resulting media frenzy that happened with the first film can never be replicated. There is no mystery this time around as to whether the myth is true or not. We all know now that it was just a movie, and it would appear that box office numbers are a reflection of that. I saw the film in the theaters twice, and on both occasions we were the only ones in the theater. 

Despite being panned by many critics and reviewers, I would definitely recommend checking this film out. All in all, Blair Witch is a worthy follow up to one of the most well known found footage films of all time. If you are a fan of the mythology, it is something you should see for yourself.