You know that moment when you first start getting a hangnail? You know you should get the clippers and cut it off before it becomes a real hassle, but instead, you play with it. You twist it around, push it back into the already ruptured skin, or pull on it. Sometimes, you can make it bleed. It hurts. You know you should stop. You don’t even understand why you’re putting yourself through that pain. But you keep doing it because part of you, a dark nameless section of your psyche, enjoys it. It loves the pain. It needs the humiliation.
If you’re a fan of that level of masochism, you’ll have a great time with The Scared Stiff Collection, Vol. 1. Low-budget horror can be a wonderful thing. Even some zero-budget stuff can be all right. But there are some movies that are not watched as much as they are gawked at, where wretched ineptitude is the real star of the show and it hurts.
By Less Lee Moore
From the lurid Frank Frazetta-style cover art to its evocative title, The Witch Who Came From The Sea seems like it might be a female-fronted version of The Beastmaster. As intriguing as that possibility sounds, the film is something altogether different and much more profound. Directed by Matt Cimber (Butterfly, Hundra) in 1971, The Witch Who Came From The Sea wasn’t released until 1976, and even then, ran afoul of the MPAA for what they considered gratuitous violence, nudity, and rather dark subject matter.
One of the fascinating things about Christianity is you can do anything and call it a ministry. Hand puppets. Being a clown. Fixing cars. Shaving. Do it in the name of Jesus Christ, and it is a fully sanctioned activity done for the benefit of the Church Universal.
It makes sense, therefore, that there could be a professional wrestling ministry. The documentary Wrestling with Satan spotlights a six-year period in the history of the Christian Wrestling Federation (CWF). Led by the charismatic Rob Vaughn, who performs under the name “Jesus Freak,” the CWF is an actual independent wrestling company. His stable of wrestlers is highly trained and works well in the ring. Wrestling fans will appreciate the fact that the only special feature on the disc is comprised of seven bonus matches.
Watching filmmakers and writers grow is a beautiful thing. Through the past couple of years I’ve kept my eye on a few filmmakers like Adam Wingard, Ti West, Adrián Garcia Bogliano, Eric England, and many more. As far as more recent filmmakers, I’ve been following Jeremy Berg and John Portanova. A little while ago I reviewed their directorial feature debut, The Invoking (review). I was highly impressed with the direction they took with The Invoking and it falls into my category of “story horror” which I’ve described in detail in the past. So when I got word of them doing another horror film, and one involving aliens, I was down.
Remember PC games in the ‘90s that were very story based with a ton of cinematics and limited gameplay? For the most part, the cut scenes were actual actors and not animation and they were poorly acted. I was always a big FPS fan and I disliked the type of games that included just a lot of walking around, pushing buttons, and someone who popped up in your HUD and told you what you were doing wrong or right. I’m guessing this is why I disliked Day Of The Mummy.
As a cinephile I’m often asked the question, “what is the scariest film you have ever seen”? I have a list of scary films but not too many actually scare me. I’ve been watching horror films since I was 4, so I’m a little desensitized at this point in my life. I get creeped out of course, but it takes a little bit more for me to look over my shoulder at the end of the film.
Movies push the limits constantly. Sometimes I go into a film knowing that it is going to hit me hard, but every once in a while a film comes out of nowhere to punch me right in the face. A few years ago the controversial A Serbian Film screened at South By Southwest and word spread quickly on social media that it was “the most fucked up movie ever made.” I agree A Serbian Film pushes the envelope a number of times and I mostly agree that it’s fucked up. However, there isn’t any realism in for it me and I believe it’s realism that’s scarier and sticks with you more. Films like A Serbian Film, Martyrs, and The Human Centipede are brutal but I have to give up a big portion of my suspension of disbelief because there is no realism to these films at all.
Some people are born to be rock stars. Jerry McGill was one of them. He was talented, devilishly handsome, and had the kind of charisma that can’t be faked. He recorded a single for Sun Records, and it was a minor hit in 1959.
It seems that throwback horror is becoming the next big thing, but it’s a delight when the film doesn’t recognize it’s a throwback. Unless it is done with finesse and skill, movies like these can fall flat quickly. On the other hand, we have films that are made in the same vein as those weird classics. They take us back to being little and staying up watching movies on VHS in our living room after our parents have gone to bed. That’s how I felt while watching Swamphead, a new title from Wild Eye Releasing.
Mardi Rustam directed Evil Town, a film that I’ve loved since I was little. Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know this director did anything else. Then Gorgon Video decided to lay down the law with their new release Evils Of The Night.
I knew something in my life wasn’t right. I knew I was missing some weird, key component to happiness. I now know that Evils Of The Night is the one thing that completes me.