PITTSBURGH MADE: Birth of the Living Dead (2012)

Director and writer Rob Kuhns does a great job in this of not only explaining why Night of the Living Dead is so important, but getting fans like Larry Fessenden — who executive produced — to tell why the film is so beloved. Of course George Romero shows up — John Russo declined, so they say — as well as film critics Elvis Mitchell, Jason Zinoman and Mark Harris, as well as industry heavyweight Gale Anne Hurd and Bill Hinzman, the first zombie from Night, as he takes part in a zombie walk.

You probably have heard every story and seen every doc there is on the film that began modern horror as well as gave Pittsburgh its title as the zombie capitol of the world. That said, this has some nice animation and the story directly from the main creator. Maybe there’s even something in here you haven’t seen. I mean, there’s a teacher who shows the film to his kids and explains zombie physics to them as well as some of the children who saw this on a matinee — the same old Roger Ebert wrote about — and gets them to tell how they grew up after seeing zombies chow down on those doomed and barbecued folks back in Evans City.

You can watch this on Tubi.

THANKSGIVING TERROR: Thankskilling 3 (2012)

Somehow, this movie has nearly no humans and the wildest plot possible. In a world where ThanksKilling 2 was actually released, a movie that took Turkie into space, as you’d expect. Yet it failed to a level that anyone watching the movie died viewing it, so the studio destroyed it, all except for one copy that Turkie — now forced to be a normal family-having bird — wants to find, duplicate and destroy the world unless a series of puppets — Flowis the rapping granny, WiseTurkey, Muff, Yomi and Rhonda the bisexual space worm — created by Uncle Donny (Daniel Usaj) can stop him.


Where Thankskilling was a slasher with a puppet demonic turkey as its villain, this movie just decides to throw everything inside the bird and drop it into a deep fryer to see what happens. Directed by Jordan Downey, who wrote this along with Mike Will Downey and Kevin Stewart, this has moments where everyone is turned into a video game, as well as Turkie saying, “Gravy” when he gets a chainsaw wing. If that makes you laugh, then you’ll love this. If you thought that was stupid, well, this movie has about 89 minutes more to attack you with.

I mean, this movie is quite obviously drugs and has a puppet’s anus being used to open a gateway to space. I love that I got to write that sentence.

You can watch this on Tubi.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Directed and written by Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers, the writer of Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist), this starts as Dodge Petersen (Steve Carell) and his wife Linda (Nancy Carell) learn that the asteroid Matilda is going to end all life on Earth. She abandons him and Dodge learns from his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) that the woman he’s always obsessed over, Olivia, wrote to him all the time and she had so much of his mail — over three year’s worth — including evidence that his wife had cheated on him. She’s broken up with her boyfriend Owen (Adam Brody) when he ruins her last chance to get back to London to see her family one last time. Yet Dodge knows someone who can fly her. She just needs to get him back home — along with a dog named Sorry that he wakes up and finds tied to his leg — to his hometown in Delaware.

This is a hard movie for me to watch, as we fall in love with these two characters as they fall in love with one another as they struggle through the end of the world, knowing that they will not survive the end of the world. What helps is the supporting cast, including William Petersen, Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Gillian Jacobs, Amy Schumer and Martin Sheen.

I enjoyed it yet I’m unsure if I could watch it again. It was just too much emotion for me and felt true and honest, unlike other movies that use the end of the world for dramatic effect.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe DilemmaThe Adjustment BureauYour HighnessThe ThingContrabandSafe House and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: Safe House (2012)

The first English language film by director Daniel Espinosa  — who would go on to make Life and Morbius — Safe House stars Ryan Reynolds as CIA agent Matt Weston. Stationed in Cape Town, South Africa, he is placed in charge of the safe house where the CIA is interrogating the traitorous agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington). The safe house isn’t so safe and is soon attacked by a team of mercenaries, allowing Frost to run along with Weston. But who can the young agent trust?

The Macguffin is a device that contains evidence of corruption and bribery within the CIA, MI6, and other intelligence agencies, all put together from a report from Mossad intelligence. Everyone wants it and is willing to die for it.

If you enjoy these types of political thrillers, you’ll probably enjoy it. Critics hated the way the action scenes were shot, but it has plenty of drama at the end, as Reynolds and Washington have good chemistry.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe DilemmaThe Adjustment BureauYour HighnessThe ThingContrabandSeeking a Friend for the End of the World and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2010s Collection: Contraband (2012)

A few years ago, every time I tried to buy Lucio Fulci’s Contraband, Amazon sellers would send me this movie, which means that I own so many copies of it.

Instead of that gory crime film, this is a remake of Reykjavík-Rotterdam, directed by that film’s star Baltasar Kormákur and written by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners). It stars Mark Wahlberg as former smuggler Chris Farraday, who gets mixed up in a smuggling crime thanks to his wife Kate’s (Kate Beckinsale) brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones). This soon spirals into counterfeiting, stealing a Jackson Pollack painting, cocaine and death all around them.

This is one of those movies that proves that crime does pay. It has so much plot and so much happening that by the end of it, you are kind of exhausted by all of it, but then wake up later and wonder why. All of the reviews for it keep saying, “Well, it was a movie made to be released in January,” which gives it an open contract to not be good.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2010s Collection has ten movies for a great price, including The AmericanMacGruberThe DilemmaThe Adjustment BureauYour HighnessThe ThingSafe House, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Black Sea. You can order it from Deep Discount.

SLASHER MONTH: Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012)

Docter Freuhoffer (Oto Brezina) is obsessed with dolls and has been forced by Kommandant Moebius (Scott Anthony King) to learn how to bring the dead back to life or his daughter will be executed. Working with the evil Uschi (Stephanie Sanditz), he tries to reverse engineer the captured Tunneler and ends up making evil puppets Blitzkrieg, Bombshell, Weremacht and Kamikaze who battle the good puppets Blade, Pinhead, Leech Woman, Jester and Six Shooter.

If you look closely enough, you can also see Freakshow’s robotic baby from Killjoy 4, the Zuni doll from Trilogy of Terror and Retro-Tunneler’s head which was last in Retro Puppet Master.

Directed by Charles Band, who wrote the script with Shane Bitterling, this leads into the last film in the triology. Reviewers were not kind to this one, but you know, puppets fighting World War II is a theme that I’m going to watch no matter what. I mean, they did it four times, including the Blade spin-off, and I’ve watched them all.

SLASHER MONTH: Slumber Party Slasherthon (2012)

Dustin Ferguson directed and wrote this assemblage of clips that tell a variety of slasher stories. Well, it’s really a homage — that’s the nice way of saying it — to Slumber Party Massacre, while also using clips from the director’s other movies Silly Scaries 2, Terror at Black Tree Forest and Escape to Black Tree Forest. Then, there are pieces of 7 Down by Tyler L. Schmid followed by big chunks of Abel Ferrera’s The Driller Killer, which is a fantastic movie and makes everything else in here look not that good by comparison.

I mean, yes, you can take public domain footage and make it the meat of your movie but should you?

I guess this was supposed to be a fake trailer for Slumber Party Massacre 4: It Runs In the Family, but I have no idea how all the other already made movies made their way in other than padding. Oh yeah — Devil Times Five also shows up as a trailer.

The audio is all over the place. Film quality varies. And you wonder, how is this on Tubi?

I think Dustin is a talented guy but he’s also the filmmaker whose Rattlers 2 was 70% Rattlers. I’d really like to see him make a great movie instead of ten alright movies in a week. And he should stand on his own instead of taking old footage or trailers. It compares and contrasts to his own films and he’s way too good to do that. I say this with hope and good intention.

SLASHER MONTH: Sin Reaper (2012)

Sam (Helen Mutch) has nightmares of a monastary stalked by a hooded man with weapons from the Crusades killing people left and right. Her therapist Dr. Hoffman (Lance Henriksen) figures out where this places is — a former German monastery called Wallenhausen — so she flies off to explore the place and before you know it, there’s the Sin Reaper murdering people with his Christian-themed mace.

This was directed by Sebastian Bartolitius, somehow was in 3D and got picked up by Fangoria. I have no idea how those last two things happened. This movie also has the slowest killer you’ve ever seen in a slasher. He makes Michael Myers look like Usain Bolt.

I’ve read people say that this seems like a Krimini film or an 80s slasher without the benefit of good kills or the often requisite T&A. I can agree, but those genre usually produce interesting results.

This movie needed better effects, improved blocking for the murder scenes and, well, it needs a lot more than that. It kind of needs to start over again. Imagine if a Full Moon castle-based movie wasn’t good. This is that movie.

You can watch this on Tubi.

2022 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 4: Found (2012)

4. MASKED MANDATE: We’re still wearing them and so shall tonight’s antagonist.

Directed and written by Scott Schirmer, based on the book by Todd Rigney, this is the story of Marty (Gavin Brown) and his brother Steve (Ethan Philbeck). Marty is bullied in school, so he does what so many of us have done. He escapes the real world with comic books and horror movies.

Marty also has something else going on in his life. The day he tried to borrow a bowling ball from his brother, he learned that it had a human head in the bag instead. Every week, there’s another new female head in that bag.

There’s one movie that Marty can never find at the store, Headless, because he soon learns that it’s inside his brother’s room. It’s also marked with time codes to call out the moments in the film that inspired Steve to kill. That knowledge nearly makes Marty physically sick and he shuts off the movie. His friend David makes fun of him, so he grabs the bowling ball bag and pulls out a severed head. It’s Marcus, the bully who has been making his life so horrible.

The end of this movie really shocked me. So much so that I don’t want to give it away, but there’s no wish fulfillment. There’s only annihilation and bleak realitization. I was actually shocked how much I enjoyed this, as it seems like a 2000s slasher from the artwork. It’s anything but.

Headless actually became a movie three years later and from all accounts, it’s even more upsetting than this movie.

You can watch this on Tubi.

FANTASTIC FEST 2022: Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You! (2012)

Tutor and rocker Neil Stuart (co-writer Matt Farley) has returned to the small New England city of Rivertown that he left in disgrace after growing obsessed by a riverbeast. His fiancee is marrying someone else. His enemy, reporter Sparky Watts, is still hounding him to no end. And maybe his new student, the daughter of a noted pro athlete Frank Stone, has way too many questions. But this time, he just might turn his life around. And you know, prove that the creek-living creature is an actual thing.

I’ve been indulging in director Charles Roxburgh and his writing partner Farley’s movies and realizing that so often, I wish that I could see films that I really love again for the first time. This is that chance for me, as I’m absolutely tuned into everything in this movie, which is at once a 50s drive-in film that has talking moments that usually cover for the lack of action but here, the action is in the long conversations and songs and not in the creature rising from the river. Also: I absolutely am stunned by the William Castle-style opening and strobe warning of when the beast comes out to kill.

This movie hits so many topics like rudeness at wedding receptions, longing for lost love, the miracles of cat litter, local conspiracies driven by a hunch and, yes, cryptozoological menace. It also feels like sitting down and hearing a shaggy dog version of a story by your drunk or high best friend instead of actually getting to see the movie, except you totally get to see the movie.

Don’t Let The Riverbeast Get You! is playing as part of the Burnt Ends part of Fantastic Fest. This is part of Molten Media, which has produced independent feature films since the late 1990s. According to Fantastic Fest, “the idiosyncratic cinema of Charles Roxburgh and Matt Farley pay homage to the regional low budget horror films of the late 1970s and early 1980s as they unravel bizarre tales set in and around lightly-fictionalized small New England towns. Akin to the manner in which John Waters and Kevin Smith cultivated their cult universes out of tight-knit communities of vivid personalities, Charlie and Farley’s films imagine a unique portrait of Americana as they recruit an eccentric ensemble of folksy friends and family to endearingly perform the offbeat vernaculars and campy melodrama of their wittily verbose scripts.”

Fantastic Fest Burnt Ends has awarded the filmmakers with the first annual Golden Spatula in recognition of their creative spirit, and a partial retrospective of their inventive catalog which includes Local Legends, Metal Detector Maniac and the world premiere of a special 2k restoration of their autumnal slasher Freaky Farley as well as more contemporary works which pursue a distinct, but just as wonderfully eclectic and wry comic sensibility.

You can get a virtual badge here.

You can also buy this on blu ray from Gold Ninja Video.