Friday, 24 October 2014

Ouija, Horns and, Mr Babadook - Horror Film Trailers October 2014

When I watched Annabelle recently there were three different horror film trailers shown before hand. Now Cineworld Northampton has a cruel habit of showing trailers for films that it has no intention of showing, horror films in general get ignored there (recent zombie romantic comedy Life After Beth being a prime example).

Ouija looks to be a teen based take on the demonic force haunting a house genre. The trailer annoys me with all it's 'drooooooomm' noises that seem to pop up in all trailers nowadays. A bunch of teens use a Ouija board to try and contact their dead friend but instead appear to have accidentally made contact with an evil force. Ouija is due out on 31st October in the UK.

Next up is Horns which is a film about a young man (Daniel Radcliffe) whose girlfriend is killed by an unknown assailant. Not only do the whole town think that he is responsible but also demonic horns have started growing out of his head! With the towns people going crazy around him and with him discovering new powers he sets out to find out who really killed the love of his life. This looks real weird but hopefully with a big a draw as Radcliffe (who I just can't see as anyone other than Harry Potter) this will get shown at my Cinema. Horns is out on 29th October in the UK.

Last up is Mr Babadook which looked the most interesting. A boy discovers a creepy pop up book in his bedroom about a sinister figure named Mr Babadook. It seems by reading the book this creature has come into being and starts to haunt the house. This film is out on 24th October here in the UK but is not being shown at my Cinema so again I ask; why show a damn trailer for a film that it is not being shown?

So there you have it; three trailers for horror films that I am probably not even going to get to see, hopefully you will get to. Good cheer and big fears for it is Halloween a week today!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Zombie by Jaime T - Zombie Music Video

When a song called Zombie came out I couldn't help but be interested to hear what it sounds like. As it is I cannot stand the song at all and have taken to muting the radio at work when it appears (which it does about twenty times a day it seems). The only good thing to come out of this song is that I hoped against hope the video would feature zombies and thankfully it did.

In the video Jaime T and his band are playing a gig at an empty pub and slowly throughout the video change into undead ghouls. At one point after losing a drum stick the drummer pulls the arm off the bassist and uses that instead while it all ends with a decapitation. Glad the video had zombies as made for a nice easy blog post, it is just a shame the song is irritating to the extreme (though it does talk about zombies in the lyrics). Anyway check out the song below...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Limited Edition 'Spooky' Shreddies - Cereal Review

This time of year you find many food items re-branding themselves to cash in on the best holiday of the year. I wish shops displayed horror items in their windows all year round. A selection of cakes was what I reviewed last year but this time is the turn of cereal.

Spooky Shreddies promise to dazzle me with a wicked cinnamon flavour but first up the box. A traditional spooky albeit cartoon style pumpkin which in a nice touch has individual Shreddies for teeth. The side of the box says 'For your wicked side', I guess by that it means the side that thinks it is a great idea to eat sugary food rather than fruit and or vegetables.

Onto the food itself. I expected razor blades, I expected satanic pendants and I expected pure fear but instead there was just the usual deal; a sealed bag that contains Shreddies. The Shreddies themselves are ok, they taste as described but I have to confess a lack of horror from eating them though the milk was a bit sweet and sickly from all the sugar.

Once again I have been lied to. There is nothing here whatsoever that could be considered spooky about this cereal apart from a slight incident when the packet was first opened and I got whisked around my house by some unseen malevolent force, but I'm sure the timing was just coincidental.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mutantis (2014) - Horror Film Review

Mutantis is a comedy horror from Dire Wit Films that seeks to parody the B-Movies of old paying homage to the eccentricities of that genre. Obviously an indie film this does not even attempt to take itself or the subject matter it covers seriously. Written by Mark Leake who also wrote for the interesting 7th Day.

Set in the 70's during the age of free love Mutantis follows a scientist called Father Joy who goes on a field trip with his step children in search of the legendary Bigfoot. He believes the creature resides in a wood filled valley that happens to be both near a nuclear power plant and an Indian burial ground. However what is discovered in that cursed place is not a Bigfoot but something altogether more horrific - a sex crazed monster named...Mutantis!

Wow is the first word that comes to mind, this really is something quite different to what I was expecting and something created for a specific mood. The whole style of the film is just wonderful. Grain is used on the camera work and over exposed colours to create the effect of an old film, I cannot fault the camera work and camera effects at all, it is consistently effective.

The acting in Mutantis is utterly terrible but it is meant to so I guess that means it is really good? Pretty much every character is dubbed over and the actors themselves are a bizarre collection where you have males playing female roles while one of the main male characters is played by a female. Pretty much all the characters are blatantly wearing wigs while the facial hair looks like it was sellotaped on. This all works in the films favour and coupled with a script that is near faultless in it's stupidity and po faced nature on the relationship between man and nature makes for a strong sense of the unhinged and works well within the low budget.

Mutantis itself looks like it was created out of paper mache and cardboard but has such freaky eyes and disturbing attention to its bisexual genitalia  that it actually became kinda scary. The special effects are purposely terrible and there is a high body count due to the creatures pincer claws that lops of heads, arms, penises and even someones breasts at some point all with large dashings of spurting bright red blood.

That is kind of where the film fell down for me though, the creature is obsessed with mating to try and create offspring and so there is far too many bad taste rape scenes in which the creature forces itself on people. Sure it is not done serious in the slightest and wasn't that it made me uncomfortable but more that it was icky and disgusting for my tastes. Mutantis is a film made for people to watch while drunk with friends and I can imagine I would have enjoyed it far more if I had done that, but as it was I watched it while tired after a long days work in my day job and so a lot of the appeal was lost on me. Being a homage to B-Movies the plot was wafer thin which I was fine with but there was just too much of random characters running around aimless in woodland which at times reminded me of a Scooby-Doo cartoon.

Peter Joyce did the music for this film and it may be the best film soundtrack I have heard all year. The music is simply perfect for the subject matter, it summoned the right vibe for me, sounds like I imagined the 70's to sound like, This review has been written with the title screen music on repeat, just cannot get enough of it!

Maybe if I had viewed this in the right circumstances I would feel more love for Mutantis but as it is the many gross creature/human sex sequences and nasty characters were not appealing though I could well see this becoming a cult classic. Mutantis is available to purchase from Amazon USA and also from Dire Wit Films website (here).


Monday, 20 October 2014

Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber (2009) - Zombie Horror Book Review

A zombie book set in the Star Wars universe? An interesting prospect for sure, while I am not the biggest Star Wars fan (the original trilogy of films are of course stone cold classics) I was curious as to how this book would be. Would it be zombie-lite with the undead menace being muted versions of their violent predecessors to appeal to the kid friendly Star Wars crowd or would the graphic violence associated with rotting ghouls still be there?

The Imperial prison barge 'Purge' is en route to a prison planet when it breaks down in remote space. Coincidentally or so it seems an abandoned Star Destroyer is also in the area. A small boarding crew enter the gigantic ship in hopes of finding spare parts needed to fix the Purge's engines. However when they return they unknowingly bring with them a strange virus that spreads like wildfire throughout Purge killing all but six of the one thousand officers and prisoners on the ship. Things go from bad to worse for the survivors as the dead suddenly return to life with only death and destruction on their minds...

A few thing made me wary of how good a zombie story Death Troopers would be. First off is that two of the primary characters are teenage boys; Kale and his younger brother Trig. I expected that these two being featured so heavily would mean that my fears were founded and this would be relatively peril free.
The second and far bigger worry was the sudden appearance of two characters from the original Star Wars trilogy, Is a mild spoiler but pretty early on Han Solo and Chewbacca appear, they just happen to be prisoners on the Purge. I had to stop reading with the ridiculous appearance of these two. First of all them fighting zombies is a weird thing to get my head around, but even worse is that with Death Troopers being canon in the Star Wars universe (at least up until Disney brought the brand) there is literally no way these two were going to have any zombie related harm come to them. A big part of the fun of zombie novels is that in general anyone can become a victim, all it takes is one bite so to then have 33% of your main cast automatically zombie proof puts a slight dampener on things.

The zombies of Death Troopers are certainly dead and there are good reasons for how they come to be though not really surprising what with the Imperials being basically Space Nazis and so evil as they come. These ghouls work together, attacking together for the most part and get more intelligent as time goes on. It is a good transition with them slowly start to use blasters to attack at around the half way point and more after that. There is a lot of violence here with limbs removed, heads splattered and a pleasing number of character deaths. One sequence in which a character has to climb a mountain of corpse was really quite well done.

For the most part Schreiber's story telling is functional, making this a pretty straight forward zombie story but there are some highlights and his short snappy chapters work really well making it hard to put down. Some of the motivations and back story for his main characters are pretty cheesy but zombified Storm Troopers and Wookies (!) make up for this. There are not too many zombie stories set in space either, so another plus point as at times this feels like the plot of Dead Space.

I actually enjoyed Death Troopers a lot more than I expected to, if you even have a passing interest in both Star Wars and zombies then this book is for you.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

American Horror Story: Season 1 (2011) - Horror TV Show Review

This was recommended to me well over a year ago but it has taken me this long to get around to watching it. American Horror Story has been described as an anthology series with each season having it's own self contained story in a different location. Season 1 also known as American Horror Story: Murder House takes place in a haunted house.

Psychiatrist Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), his wife Vivian (Connie Britton), and teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga) move to Los Angeles to make a new start after Vivian had a miscarriage and Ben cheated on her with one of his students. Unfortunately they choose a place locally known as 'murder house' due to the high number of violent deaths that have occurred there. It seems there is some sort of curse upon the house and that anyone who dies within the property are to forever be trapped there.

At first I fully expected American Horror Story to be a scary horror show and this was backed up by the introduction to episode one in which two boys in the 1980's are brutally killed in the basement while exploring the (at the time) abandoned property. However it soon turns into something all of its own, albeit something with strong horror tendencies on the side. There are twelve episodes and while there is an over lying story set in present day many of the episodes start with a flashback to a previous occupant of the house; from a gay couple on the verge of breaking up in the 2000's to some student nurses living there in the 1970's there are many time periods covered, all ending in tragedy which comes to have some effect on the present day storyline.

The show looks fantastic and really appears to have had a strong budget with it being almost film quality with fantastic acting, a great soundtrack and expert editing that made it a joy to watch. It doesn't shy on violence either and there is plenty of blood and gore with people getting killed in a large number of ways (such as a graphic dream a women is describing of her being sliced in half by an elevator being played out).

The main angle of season one appears to be infidelity with this theme cropping up time and time again. The plot itself is really interesting and leads you to slowly being given the clues to work out what is going on. With so many visitors to the Harmon household, many just appearing out of nowhere it at times seems like pretty much every character they meet may already be dead. The side characters are interesting in their own right such as troubled teen Tate who seems obsessed with going on a school based killing spree, and horrifically disfigured Larry who seems to know that the house is a bad place.

American Horror Story is not a scary show (though the intro credits are always freaky) but this doesn't takeaway from the experience when it is so polished and interesting as this. Some of the plot twists really blew my mind and the feel as a whole borders on a David Lynch style at times with lots of surreal-ness portrayed as normal and a heady mix of sex and violence (and just who is the killer wearing the gimp suit?). A lot of the characters may be ambiguous and morally grey but even the ones I did not like were still well developed. Well worth watching.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Horror Alcohol - Zombie and Pumpking Beer

I am over halfway into my quest to do a blog post for every month of October, today is a smaller post as it has gotten quite late at night and I have yet to provide for the day. Today I will be talking about horror themed alcohol.

First up is the cocktail named Zombie. I first had Zombie many years ago at a student bar. The barman did not seem sure what constituted a Zombie and so just made up a drink that was green in colour. He also did not seem to know what price it should be or how much in quantity it should be. Sometimes I would be given a pint glass of Zombie for £5 on other occasions I was charged around £9 for the same drink but in a half pint glass. 
Anyway the official Zombie cocktail is actually orange/yellow in colour. My friend Lucinda ordered one yesterday and always on the look out for easy blog posts I took a picture. The menu describes it as having rum, apricot, grenadine, pineapple and lime. A bit too sweet a taste and I like to imagine it rots your stomach.

Next up is Pumpking described as an 'evil pumpkin beer' that is brewed with pumpkin and mace. It wasn't bad, only 3.8% but tastes quite deep and was super cheap. I watched the last episode of season 1 of American Horror Story, it went well with that palate.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Horror Energy Drinks

I love energy drinks but unfortunately I am quite sensitive to caffeine and so drinking them leads me to crash, more likely to fall asleep then feel full of beans. A few years back I got some horror themed ones as gifts.

The first one titled 'Zombie Blood' as you can see above is green and of course zombie themed while the second one 'Blood' looks like blood and seems more vampire themed. What I like about them both is that they claim to have similar nutrients to real blood, while the red one has instructions on the back for how to heat it up to the same temperature as real blood.

One day I hope to get some tubing so I can hang them from something like plasma bags you get in hospitals, until that day they reside on my book shelf in my bedroom to drink for when zombie apocalypse happens and I need a quick four hour boost to go on a scavenging mission.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Zombie Skape (2012) - Zombie Videogame Review (DSiWare)

Zombie Skape is a downloadable game from the Nintendo store and it is terrible. It seems to borrow a lot of its assets from Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ.Where that game was a run and gun this is instead a skateboard based one.

The bare bones story has a teenage boy named Ethan skate boarding in his local skate park when zombie Armageddon unexpectedly happens. With just his skateboard for transportation he sets off to escape the horror.

There are a lot of things wrong with this game so let's go through them all. First off the graphics are pretty terrible, as I said the assets seem to have been ripped right out of a different game, the zombies and levels are all cohesive but Ethan himself is cel shaded and stands out like a sore thumb. The zombies are quite bad looking but even worse is if you accidentally skate into them they vanish in a burst of red that looks terrible. You get lone zombies, packs of them and hands rising up out of the ground that must all be avoided, while identical looking girls sit on the ground asking for help so you must skate over them.

The controls are abysmal and making either a turn to the left or right feels like a herculean task as your skateboard has the turning circle of the biggest ocean liner, it takes an eternity to turn so it is unavoidable to hit things. You can brake and you can jump and that is it for controls. The controls mean the game is near impossible to play, I could not get off the first level, it is just too hard to avoid ploughing into zombies or fires. Not fun at all.

The one thing going for Zombie Skape is its music which is the only passable thing out of the whole miserable experiance. A cheap game knocked out to ride (skate?) on the trails of the zombie genre. Ugly with broken controls and must be avoided at all costs!


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Camp Blood (2014) - Horror themed music

Camp Blood is a horror themed track by Videogram that is a homage to the Friday 13th films. Videogram describes it as a mix of the disco theme of Friday 13th Part III and Michael Jackson's Thriller.

The video can be seen below and features clips from the Friday 13th knock off Srigala. The editing of the video is really well done with it seeming in time with the music beats and pretty much shows the best clips from the film with all the various twists and turns making it obvious that it is a carbon copy of the original Friday 13th. Anyway check it out, is a catchy little three minutes. Camp Blood is available to download from a number of sources including iTunes.