Tag Archives: movies

The Last Scene upcoming documentary launches Kickstarter; film examines musical and cultural roots of the underground/DIY scene

Screen_Shot_2019-09-16_at_10_45_03_AM

LA-based director Kyle Kilday has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his still-in-production documentary film “The Last Scene” which examines the musical and cultural roots of the various underground DIY music scenes popping up around the country at the start of the new Millennium.

To view the trailer and back “The Last Scene” Kickstarter campaign, please visit: http://bit.ly/2kfsHNw

“The Last Scene” will be the FIRST comprehensive chronicle of what many believe is the LAST underground, DIY music scene. One forged in VFW halls and community recreation centers across the United States in the Late 1990’s/Early 2000’s. It’s the story of the hardcore, punk and emo kids who gave us the last new thing in rock music, during an era of change for the music industry and youth culture at large.

The film will feature interviews and perspectives from many of the key figures of the scene, including:

Travis Shettel (Piebald)
Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife/I Am The Avalanche)
Peter Munters (Over It/Runner Runner)
Shane Told (Silverstein/Lead Singer Syndrome Podcast)
Mark Rose (Spitalfield/Mark Rose/Downwrite.com)
Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday/The Color Fred)
Chris Conley (Saves The Day)
Amy Fleisher Madden (Fiddler Records)
Ben Jorgensen (Armor For Sleep)
John Tran (Home Grown)
Chris No. 2 (Anti-Flag)
JT Woodruff (Hawthorne Heights)
Geoff Rickly (Thursday)
and many more to be announced soon.

Kilday says, “My first exposure to this underground punk scene came when I went to college in Boston. I remember everything about the first show I went to. The small space, the acoustic ceiling tiles, the barely-raised stage; the guitarist hitting the opening chord and sending a shockwave through the room. Kids all around me started to jump and sway into one another, like kernels inside of a microwave popcorn bag. They moved in waves towards the stage, singing along, extending their fists and shaking them in unison. There was pushing and shoving, but when the song ended everyone smiled and hugged one another. Zero pretense, near zero production value. Just electricity, instruments and you. Exactly what playing music for other people is supposed to be. We were all peers and it was something built for (and by) us all.”

The inspiration for the film came after he moved to LA. He explains, “After college, I moved to Los Angeles and started working in reality/doc TV. I continued going to shows with the friend who took me to that very first punk show and still goes to shows with me today. Going to these bands’ album anniversary tours and feeling the general sense you get when you enter that “20 years since” realm, I started thinking more retrospectively about this era of music and why it’s meant SO MUCH to me (and I know to millions of other people, too!)”

Screen_Shot_2019-09-16_at_10_45_21_AM

 

(column) In memoriam Rutger Hauer

When I start this feature, I remember times when I was a kid back about 30 or little less years ago. I went to the movies on a Sunday morning.

hauer

There was a cinema in my hometown called Dom(Croatian for Home) and it showed all those 80-ies horror movies, Hong Kong kung fu, Italian Mad Max and Conan clones and various action and soft porn erotic movies. As I write this line, I still remember the uncomfortable seats, stinking hall, the ticket lady and the posters for upcoming movies which I love to see until this day. As a kid I spent a lot of happy moments in this cinema, discovering the magic of the movies that still today take me to some better and other worlds making me forget daily grind and trouble.

The Dom cinema disappeared in the turbulent times when communist regime fell in our country and all the robbery, war and death became everyday routine in the dark beginning of the 1990s in Croatia. The building which was cinema was returned to the catholic church and it serves their purposes now.

Let us return to that Sunday matinee. The movie that I watched as a ten or eleven year old kid was The Hitcher by Eric Red. I still don´t know why they played it as a Sunday matinee for mainly kids, because the movie about mad psychotic killer that hitchikes cars in the middle of nowhere is definitely not for little kids. I was awed by that movie, especially by the actor who played the psycho, namely Rutger Hauer. I became fan. When I got home, my Dad told me that if I liked Hauer, I should see Blade Runner and I did. I cried my eyes out on that roof scene and words that Hauer´s replicant said combined with death and white dove. It moists my eyes now. With time, Hauer was always with me in my cinema experience, from Blind Fury, Ladyhawke, Turkish Delight to newer cult classics like Hobo With A Shotgun.

Whenever I watched some movie, the guy was always there, being cool, quiet and legend whether he played a villain, or our main character good guy. Whether action, fantasy or drama, his face was tattooed on my brain and will always stay there. He was one of the actors that inspired me to love movies, write about them, watch them and he is an inseparable part of my culture upbringing.

Rest in peace brother, your role on this Earth is written in the ending credits, but I hope your role in an eternal movie has just started and will never end.

(column special)Blair Witch throwback, marketing and the rise of found footage horror!

Everyone who knows my obssession with horror movies and horror culture knows that two of my personal beloved horror subgenres are slasher and found footage horror. Today, we will talk about found footage horror and phenomena that started it all, Blair Witch trilogy and the impact it had on me as a fan and the horror scene in general.

gn-gift_guide_variable_c;jpeg_quality=20

In Spring 2000.I saw the documentary called Curse of Blair Witch and it was released on tv prior to the first movie being distributed in cinema and becoming grand blockbuster from 30 000 dollar indie little horror to 140 millions hit and launching the directors and screenwriters Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez to horror scene stardom. This documentary was just awesome, especially the part when they talk about Coffin Rock and massacre of the search party who went to the Black Hills woods to search for the missing child. The documentary was so convincing that most of my buddies and me decided that we just had to go to the cinema and see the movie. It was a blast! I was so awed by the movie that I couldn´t sleep from being scared although I was a 22 aears old kid back then, not some little snotty mewling child.

I learned of course that it was all a marketing hoax, but what a grand plan, what a grand screenplay and it proves that with a great idea, you can manage almost anything. There never was real Township of Blair, but Burkittsville became pretty popular and hordes of fans and paranormal enthusiasts went there to find out where all three missing students Heather, Josh and Mike were and where the witch was. The name of the woman who is supposed to be the historical witch is derived from known alchemist Edward Kelly like an anagram and also the supposed hermit turned serial killer in the 1940-s Rustin Parr is in fact an anagram derived from Rasputin, as the authors stated later in one talk with the journalists. Some of the Burkittsville residents profited from that hysteria, some were just plain angry because they thought all those people destroyed their privacy.

The first part of the movie is quite boring when three of our main characters get to Burkittsville in order to make a documentary about the local legend concerning a witch in the Black Hills Woods. They are asking local residents about the legend(all of them fakes, none being the real resident of Burkittsville) and that part of the movie is not so interesting. The action starts when they get to the woods and little by little they get lost, strange things begin to happen, up to the very quick, murky and sudden end. What I love is the gradation of anxiety and horror that authors managed to create with the movie, from merry bunch of kids who enter the forest, accross starting to be disoriented, but still happy, to becoming hysterical, hungry, miserable, frightened and hunted. The actors were just awesome in their roles and I certainly managed to sympathize and connect with all three characters, especially Heather with the moving part when she talks to her Mom with only a little handlight being sorry about everything and you just know something terrible will happen. So, it was a tense experience to see the characters becoming more and more doomed.

blairwitchposter

The second part why I love this movie are scary parts. No monsters, no zombies, no gore scenes, but only sound effects during the night in the woods. All those rock heaps, figures made from wood, part of bloody shirt in the bundle was enough to make my skin crawl with goosebumps. The part of the movie I remember and was most impressed is when our students heard children laughing, running and shouting in the forest dead of the night. Then, their tent starts to shake and we hear distant children´s laugh that was enough to remember this movie forever. The ending was tense, but a bit disappointing with lots of running, we are not really able to see what is happening and all of that just gives the viewer some food for thoughts and all of us can imagine and create our own ending in our heads, the authors gave us directions how it ended and every one of us created in our heads the perfect scary ending. That were some found footage horror subgenre defining postulates. First, setting the task in the movie introduction, whether the protagonists go to film a documentary, explore the abandoned hospital, investigate alien abductions etc. Then follows the traveling to that place where the story is situated and talking with survivors/witnesses/random people etc etc. Then nothing happens really until the last twenty or thirty minutes when usually the movie ends in a mix of running, shouting, screaming, sound effects, and occasionally some final glimpse of horror caught in the eye of the fallen camera or something similar. Those are the postulates for found footage, and I saw at least hundred of them and some were plain bad, clones, but some where awesome and I still love this subgenre the most in horror, but this one started it all and I will always love this one. I saw it yesterday, twenty years after it is made and it withstood the test of time.

The most important for found footage horror in my opinion is having a good story/fake or real urban legend that you can work your tension and story on. If that is not the case, you  are failed and the movie is doomed from the very beginning. Myrick/Sanchez did a mighty fine job and this movie is for sure one of all time horror movie hall of famers.

The second movie, entitled Book Of Shadows was a big let down. Riding on the money wave made by the first movie, Artisan decided to make a sequel. Myrick/Sanchez didn´t want to do it, because they wanted to wait for some time for all the hype to settle down. So, the Company recruited new director, Joe Berlinger, otherwise the director of real documentaries, who also wrote the script for the sequel along with Dick Beebe(House On Haunted Hill remake, some Tales From The Crypt episodes…).

s-l1000

The premise of the second movie was interesting, because they wanted to go more with the human factor behind all the mythical and paranormal. The sequel is also not a found footage hand held camera horror, it is conventional horror movie done like so many other cinema horror movies and it is everything what the first one was fighting against. The budget was also a lot bigger, some 15 million dollars, it made some success with income circa 46 or 47 million dollars, so it was not a total bust.

The other thing is, the fans buried it with a vengeance, critics also, but they don´t really matter. Blair fans felt betrayed, I also had the same feeling watching the new movie. Starts promising, with interviews made with the citizens of Burkittsville who are either confused, happy or angry with all the fans of the movie invading their town and privacy. It was supposedly filmed with real Burkittsville citizens and Berlinger was supposedly booed and chased away there when he explained to them what he wanted to film in their town. So, our protagonists led by Jeff who organizes Blair Witch tours come to Burkittsville and Black Hills forest and judging by some flashbacks Jeff being in the psychiatric hospital, we can assume that not everything is right with this picture. I loved the idea of movie within a movie, but it was just not explored the way it should be. The protagonists crew is very varied, Jeff,  gothic girl Kim, Wicca witch Erica portrayed and written totally wrong from the real Wiccan religion and Tristen and Stephen, a couple expecting a baby. In the first part of the movie, they arrive to the ruins and foundation of the Rustin Parr house(hermit turned serial killer in the 1940s in the Blair mythology) where the tapes from the first movie were found. They camp there, drink and party, meet the other tourist party led by two guys for a few minutes and then wake up confused about what happened and where they lost couple of hours, equipment is destroyed and only tapes are left. Tristen loses a baby, they all rush to the hospital where the doctors clean her up and let her from the hospital in too quick time, that is another failure from the Berlinger/Beebe screenwriting team. They all go to some abandoned factory/warehouse turned Jeff´s house in the woods, where they start to lose their minds and tragedy strikes soon…

The characters are too shallow or too obnoxious, so I just couldn´t relate with any of them and sympathize. The children´s ghosts in the woods are cool, I am a sucker for that and it scares me, but bad make up, bad use of the ghosts in parts of the movies where they just don´t belong ruined that idea. Kim banged the van lightly, but later on we see the van practically ruined and afterwards the screenwriters just forgot about it. Who smashed the van? The deaths, dramatic parts and the great finale in the police station when the survivors and supposed mass murderers are questioned by the police are just done so amateurish and so unconvincing that the last third of the movie just sinks into total oblivion. I saw it again these days, for the third time and it still leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. This sequel is one of those that should not have been done and sometimes greed for money can be lethal for the horror movie franchise. That was the case here and the franchise was left dormant for many years after this failure.

Come 2016.and the mysterious new horror called The Woods. That was another marketing trick for making third Blair Witch movie under fake name to avoid all the internet hassle and theories about it. This time Adam Wingard, young horror rising star was chosen as a director, known for his work on The Guest, A Horrible Way To Die, V/H/S and You´re Next. Also, Simon Barret(Dead Birds, A Horrible Way To Die, Temple, The Guest) wrote the script for the third installment of this franchise. This one was made to be the direct sequel to the first movie, avoiding and not mentioning the debacle with the Book Of Shadows.

The story revolves around James, brother of Heather from the first movie, who gathers a new crew and they all go to the Black Hills forest to find Heather after seeing video which convinced James that Heather is still alive and lost there. Upon arriving there, strange things start to happen and something picks them off one by one.

What I love about this movie is the return to found footage style and being much more action filled and more tense than the second one. But, also, the sound effects that were so scary in the first movie are here over the top and just too much of them like all of the woods walking at once. Also, the characters are much more hysterical and more screaming and running through the woods. Some modern times novelties are here, like the crew is not only armed with cameras, but also with drone and old mysteries like time lapses, loss of hours, Rustin Parr´s house are here.

That last twenty or twenty five minutes of the movie is just perfect. When James and Lisa arrive to the old Rustin Parr´s house and the rain relentlessly falling which adds to the drama and the inside running like first character horror game with something chasing them and tension is just great until the end which gives some answers but provides more questions for a possible continuation of the series. The attic scenes are great, but what is with that lights, like alien movies? I didn´t get that! Also, in some scenes, at least one we get a possible witch for a few seconds and see at last how she or it looks like. The acting is okay with James Allen McCune(Jimmy from The Walking Dead) as James and awesome Callie Hernandez(Alien Covenant, La La Land) being above all of others from the cast, giving me actual feelings for them in their panic, fear and desperation. The third one is way better than unfortunate Book Of Shadows but is in fact only reboot of the first movie with some interesting moments.

In the end, Blair made me worship found footage horror. My list would be: first and legendary, third one and then the weaker second movie.

Who knows? Maybe one day the fourth movie arrives and we get more answers.

(horror movie) Clinton Road, the horror but not the way it was intended to be!

I love urban legends and stories about abandoned roads, haunted forests and I believe that there are many places on this planet that have some paranormal unexplained events which no one can imagine to exist.

clinton-road-slide

I was very happy when I read about the movie which connects real urban legend stories about Clinton Road in New Jersey which they call one of the most haunted places in the world. When I read that former teenage star Richard Grieco(21 Jump Street tv series, Teen Agent) will direct this movie along with former cop and bodyguard turned movie director Steve Stanulis, I became a bit suspectful. Also, Eric Roberts and Ice-T are only the names for the dvd cover because Ice-T appears in the movie as the owner of the nightclub and I really don´t know what was his purpose for the story or the movie, maybe returning favor to the movie makers. Eric Roberts is even worse appearing as a cameo playing himself. Was that supposed to be funny, or charming? Well, it was not!

The real cast of this movie led by Erin O´Brien and James DeBello are total trash, under every average of decent acting. The story revolves around firefighter widow who needs closure and takes his friends investigating haunted Clinton Road where his wife disappeared. Then real confusion happens, ghost girl. some Rob Halford looking maniac killer living in the house with blue lights, psychic horror, all thrown in without any order or anything like screenwriter Derek Ross Mackay went insane halfway doing his work for this movie.

The characters run and wander around without any real goal, some dying, some staying alive, no real story is clear who, why or what is happening. The ending of the movie is equally sudden and bad and it is a mercy that it is not a long one. This movie is horror, but horror how someone can make such awful flick, not horror the makers intended it to be. Avoid this one!

Time to go old school sci-fi with the 4-D Man(1959.)!

When I was a little boy, I liked to stay up late, when my Dad allowed it and watch with him some old school sf or horror movie. It was another state called Yugoslavia then and there were not many channels on our television sets, so we used to watch almost all such movies on Austrian ORF television. I didn˙t know German at that time, so I used to question my Dad a lot, I always bothered him with questions what someone said, why someone yells or cries and stuff. Now, I think I was a pretty bothersome little anus at that time.

4d_man_1959_half_original_film_art_f_2000x

Aside from horror that was and still is to this time my first love, I love sf movies, especially the old school ones, not loaded with state of the art cgi effects like today modern ones, but that added more weight to the story than to the effects.

I was happy when I put my paws on 4D Man from 1959. Tony Nelson is a failure as scientist that tries to put two objects in one place at the same time so when he burns his laboratory down travels to the scientist Fairview research base where his brother Scott works.

There they enjoy work and company until he falls in love with his brother girl Linda. Things start to complicate when he starts his work there and Linda falls in love with him too. They experiment with metal called cargonite for military purposes and Tony claims he has blended metal with wood only with the power of his will. Scott started to have brain damages due to radiation when working. Linda decides to tell Scott that she is leaving him for Tony, but Scott leaves for laboratory and has a horrible accident that made him the 4 dimension man from the title of the movie. At first he can pass through metal with his hand and steal mail from the mail locker, but afterwards it gets serious to the point of no return…

This movie was not one of the best ones in the genre, far from it, but it is a decent flick from the screenplay by Theodore Simonson(The Blob among others..) and Cy Chermak( Star Trek:The Next Generation among others). Classic sf story of experiments gone wrong and the scientist turning to monster spiced with love triangle story. The acting was decent, Robert Lansing( mainly tv series actor) was good as Scott Nelson and I developed affinity towards his character apart from the opportunist Tony(James Congdon) whose character I disliked from the first minutes of the movie. Lovely Lee Merriwether was the best star of this movie as Linda and her character was nicely written and I liked her character because her love for Tony was real. The deterioration of Scott is nicely layered from the good scientist to the killer and monster he became in the end, due to desperation, bitterness and anger. The effects are good for that time of the movie making. The soundtrack is big band swing time music and fits nicely to the movie and the moments when music plays. If you love your sci fi old school way, see this one!

 

(column)Michael Myers-The phenomena of The Shape

Being avid horror fans, when we were kids we used to argue who is stronger and harder killer, Jason Vorhees, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers. I always somehow went for Myers, him being silent, personification of evil and darkness, character created by the legendary John Carpenter in the first Halloween movie back in 1978.

michaelmasks-blogroll-1528466032009_1280w

That movie and music scared the shit out of me as a little kid and still creeps me till this day. Why? Because of the relentless, merciless nature of Michael˙s pursue for his cause, killing his victims. We all know his history, I don˙t want to go into those later movies in which that cult made him as a killing machine, but in my opinion the true Halloween bloodline made of the first two movies, H:20 and the newest one, maybe including those two Rob Zombie˙s flicks which I love, despite many who don˙t. Michael is pure evil, but sometimes he brings out pity in me, disgust and pity mixing in me in some movie scenes. I never approve and never will his murder work, but I can somewhat understand him, his mask, his lonely darkened path. Being depressive and dark natured geek I am, I love Michael Myers, I love all Halloween movies, event that one, the third without Michael. I have a theory that Michael Myers somehow represents the darkness and evil in all of us, there is a little of Michael Myers˙darkness lurking in each and every one of us, denizens of this pitiful  planet.

 

(movie)SLENDER MAN(2018.)

Being fan of urban legends and myths, also legend of Slender Man, I waited to see what this movie would be like. I didn`t imagine it to be like that, but first things first!

MV5BMjE0MzcwMDAyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzc4ODg0NDM@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_

The movie starts as your typical teenage college highschool horror flick with the group of girls organizing a party at one of their houses. When they heard that the guys at other party plan to summon Slender Man, the girls did it too. They went online and found instant how to summon Slender Man video hahaha, and then they started to have nightmares, felt being followed and started disappearing one by one. Slender Man has come to collect them and take them with him.

Now, the problems started also for me as a viewer I always hated the movies when they summon a ghost/demon/whatever from instant online video. Besides the spooky Ring vhs video which still gives me nightmares, all else was plain stupid. The characters in this movie are like plain white rice, edible but without spice. Acting is below average and the jump and scare tactics made for little kids. The ending of the movie was just as bad and disappointing, like everything else in the movie. Avoid this little fucker!

1/10