Indie films hardly stand a chance against mainstream films and even more so in the horror genre. Indie horror films are getting more popular these days, but big studio films still overrun them. It’s even worse when indie horror is released through a smaller distribution label and is only available to purchase online and not on Netflix or Amazon. Midnight Releasing is one of those companies who seems to have difficulty getting their name out there, but that is why we are here.
Films like Armynel and many others need to be discussed because they never get a good start when you can’t find them in Wal-Mart or other stores or unless you happen upon a used copy. Even the chances of that are slim because hardly anyone buys these films in the first place. That doesn’t mean these movies are bad or anything, it’s just that they don’t have near the amount of coverage as most mainstream horror.
A lot of filmmakers think that they can get away with putting an older horror film actor in their movie for five minutes and then slap them on the front cover as if they are the lead in the film. Trust me, we all know this trick by now and we don’t fall for it. This happens every Tuesday when new films come out and sadly, we quickly dismiss films like this. It seems they rely solely on getting an older horror actor in order to sell the movie because without a name attached to it, it won’t go anywhere.
Dead Of The Nite isn’t a bad film but it is quite uneventful to say the least. Tony Todd is, of course, on the cover but is only in the film for a brief time. He is actually the best part of the movie.
There are a good number of horror icons so it’s extremely difficult to start a new one. Freddy, Jason, Chucky, Michael, Pinhead, Leatherface, Ghostface, The Tall Man, and a few others are some of the most popular. Aside from Scream and Hatchet we don’t have many newcomers to the horror icon family.
Hayride is a slasher that has erupted from the mind of Terron Parsons who is hoping his new horror icon will catch on. Pitchfork is his name and killing is his . . . I’m not going there and I don’t even know why I attempted that. Sorry. Anyway, Hayride takes us on a journey and gives us an explanation of Pitchfork.
Eighties throwback films are getting more and more popular every year. Some of these films are pretty incredible while others fall flat and just don’t hit the notes. You sometimes have a film that falls in between and that is exactly where The Legend Of The Psychotic Forest Ranger ends up.
When I was little, one of the first films that I can remember seeing and buying on VHS was Night Of The Living Dead on the Blockbuster Exclusive label. You know the one; the one with the big red label on the side. . . Night Of The Living Dead is one of the most important and influential films that exists. It has impacted not only the film industry but also the world, inspiring many people along the way. First Run Features recently released a documentary based on the events leading up to the making of this important film. Birth Of The Living Dead sheds a lot of light on the making of Night Of The Living Dead including stories of its successes and mishaps.
The tagline on the DVD for Concussion is the kind of lurid text that implies we’re going to watch a Lifetime movie from the 1990s: Wife. Mother. Escort. When you examine the plot—middle-aged wife and mother gets hit on the head and then creates a secret life as a prostitute—it doesn’t do much to dissuade that notion. Yet Concussion isn’t a cautionary tale and the head injury doesn’t produce dissociative fugues; no one gets blackmailed, kidnapped, or murdered. It’s a frank examination of dissatisfaction and desire that could easily be transposed onto a heterosexual relationship, but in Concussion the married couple are lesbians with two kids.
With more than 300 films screening in a ten-day time period, the Toronto International Film Festival makes time management a challenge. Rumor has it that some film critics will leave a screening after ten minutes if they’re not fully engaged. I’m going to bet that there were quite a few who walked out on Violet & Daisy at TIFF 2011. That would have been a big mistake.
Making a film is hard no matter what subject matter or genre you tackle, but some genres are harder than others. When it comes down to it, I believe most people would rather watch a bad horror film rather than a bad drama or comedy because watching a bad horror film is just easier on certain levels.
Indie horror is something hard to pull off for many reasons. The story and acting have to be solid or you will just bore your audience. If you have special effects in the film—either CGI or practical—they also have to look solid or you have a problem. I’m pleased to say that The Invoking is an indie horror film that gets things right.
When we see the rating X or XXX, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hardcore porn? Or a film that has so much sexual content that it isn’t fit for an R rating? Sometimes neither of these things can be the case. Back in the 1960s and ’70s films that had sexual content were rated X because in that day and age it was considered too much. Those films are nothing compared to what we have today between porn and R-rated films that are deemed “extreme.”
Vinegar Syndrome is probably a name that you aren’t familiar with yet, but take note because these guys are true fans of vintage/art cinema. I was fortunate enough to watch one of their reissues, an X-rated film from 1974 called Bible! directed by Wakefield Poole. Just looking at the synopsis or reading about it you might think it’s a hardcore porno or maybe a sexplotation film. I’m here to tell you that it’s neither.
Reviewing a narrative film based so closely on real-life tragedy is a challenge. If it were a documentary, it might be easier to analyze how the filmmaker’s possible agenda influences the way the events were presented and if the recounting of history was done responsibly.
Blue Caprice opens with what seems like a documentary cliché: a montage of news footage covering the Beltway Sniper attacks from 2002. Immediately, we feel a distance from the subject being addressed. Then, the film cuts to a series of scenes of a teenage boy in Antigua, trying to cope with his mother’s departure to find work in the United States. The visual dichotomy between grainy newsreels and the lushness of the Caribbean is as profound as the tonal one. There is no reporter documenting what we’re seeing so we’re forced to make sense of what’s going on.