Four struggling band members stop at a lonely roadside cafe — blame low blood sugar — to grab some dinner and a slice of pie. However, they soon discover themselves trapped within the diner owner’s art collection and must now fight for their very souls.
Honey Lauren plays Ellinore in this. You may remember her from Vice Academy 5 and 6 or Wives of the Skies, the incredibly interesting film that she wrote and directed last year. She’s the one behind all of this mayhem, running “Elle’s Kountry Kitchen” in the town of Angel Falls, trapping the kids and planning even worse for her.
In fact, every photo in her restaurant contains the living souls of those who have dined there before. But Death itself is coming.
Directed by Terry Ross from a script by F. Scott Mudgett, my favorite part of this movie was the absolutely out there song that started off the film. It’s worth the price of this movie all by itself.
I don’t share a political affiliation or views with Bo Copley, but I left his documentary feeling that he’s someone who I could see trusting and listening to.
At a town hall in Ohio, Hillary Clinton spoke of replacing fossil-fuel energy with renewable sources, saying that she wanted to create “economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country.” Yet in a major mistake, she seemingly finished by saying, “Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
Of course, that’s where the quote stopped in the media, but she did continue to state, “We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories. Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”
Copley was invited to join a roundtable discussion with Clinton, who was campaigning in West Virginia before the state’s presidential primary. He showed Hillary a photo of his three children and with raw emotion, he broke through the political spin cycles and reached the hearts of many across the country.
Now, two years later, he’s struggling to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in his home state. Sure, he has peoples’ best interests at heart and so much emotion, but he lacks experience, a traditional campaign and most importantly, money. That’s because Bo has been unemployed for two years and is facing the taxes mounting from cashing in his 401K.
Again, Bo, I can relate to you.
A lifelong resident of Mingo County, WV — I’ve wrestled there — Copley worked in the coal industry for 11 years before the industry got rough. But even tougher was the campaign trail, where he was attacked for everything in his life, despite being the type of outsider that other candidates can only dream of being.
The trouble is, the state of West Virginia desperately wants coal to come back in a world where natural gas and other cleaner energy resources are more efficient and inexpensive. The past truly can’t return, but who can help those that depended on it? There are no easy answers — and while I like Bo, I don’t think he had any other than a great media appearance and the belief that God told him to run.
World Channel will screen this movie on October 19 at 4 PM PT and 9 PM PT and October 20 at 5 AM PT. It will also screen in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, Houston, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, San Diego and many more markets. You can learn more on the official site.
DAY 17. VIDEO STORE DAY: (10th anniversary!!) This is the big one. Watch something physically rented or bought from an actual video store. If you don’t have access to one of these sacred archival treasures then watch a movie with a video store scene in at least. #vivaphysicalmedia
The last Family Video in our area closed this year. Both of the spaces have been filled with new stores, as if someone you love had been replaced by someone you never want to meet.
I try not to dwell on it, but honestly, life hasn’t gotten better once we lost video stores.
That’s why the Scarecrow Challenge is so important to me. It’s a chance to celebrate physical media, as well as genre films, in all their wonder and glory. 2020’s Scare Package may have been a movie that I caught on the Shudder streaming service, but it feels like it was made by people who know more than a little about the feeling of having a stack of rented movies on top of your VCR and a cold beer in your hand.
Written and directed by Aaron B. Koontz, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Emily Hagins, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan and Baron Vaughn, it revolves around Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, a store stacked with horror tropes that we expect and that subvert those expectations. This framing sequence allows the employees and the video tapes of the store to tell several stories, along with bringing Chad into the orbit of the Devil’s Lake Impaler (Dustin Rhodes!) and even Joe Bob Briggs.
Here are some of the other stories.
“Cold Open” tells the story of a man named Mike Myers, who yearns to be the main character in the many movies he walks into. Instead, he is the one that moves the characters through their stories. Pay attention to Mike, as he makes another appearance.
“One Time in the Woods” takes the slasher trope and body horror and goes wild, with more gore than in twenty modern films.
“M.I.S.T.E.R. (Men In Serious Turmoil Establishing Rights)” is about werewolves and the occult and men’s help groups, while “Girls Night Out Of Body” concerns sugar skull lollipops and “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” is concerned with the multiple ways that slashers are dispatched and yet come back, again and again, ruining lives.
Finally, “So Much to Do” features plenty to do all amidst the worries of having one’s favorite show get spoiled.
While not every segment hits perfectly, many of them do, making one remember the feeling of getting to the third or fourth video in a stack of weekend movies, knowing that you still have a few more hours left in a Saturday night, an entire Sunday to sleep in and plenty time to watch teh rest before they’re due back at the store.
You can watch this on Shudder with and without commentary by Joe Bob Briggs. You can also get this on blu ray from Diabolik DVD, which lives up to the demands of video store day. And hey — if you live near a video store, take advantage of it! You never know when the things you love will go away.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We watched this one all the way back on May 10, 2020. Wild Eye was kind enough to send us a DVD of this, so we thought that we should share it again with our readers.
Florida filmmakers Sam and Cheryl Siragusa (2017’s Carnival Chronicles, 2018’s E.V.I.E; both sci-fi tales) take on horror in their third feature film with this tale steeped in Scottish folklore . . . about a creepy doll.
A family of the Amityville variety comes to discover they’re the victims of a centuries-old curse when a rare doll starts wreaking havoc. They’ve obviously never read the handbook: never, ever go into any antique stores or second-hand shops and buy old trucks. And that those dolls were wrapped up in black plastic for a reason.
As you can tell by the trailer, the production values on this low-budget indie are pretty high. If you’re into creepy doll movies — and who isn’t — there’s something for you to stream on a Friday night.
What’s exciting is the Siragusa’s have contracted Caroline Munro and ’80s B-Movie scream queen Linnea Quigley for their fourth feature, the currently-in-production 1315 Wickey Way. Considering Munro was in the ’80s VHS classic Maniac and Quigley was recently in Clownado, you know what that film is shooting for: and we love it.
You can learn more about An Evil Tale on its Facebook page and watch it courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing across all VOD and PPV platforms, as well as DVD.
Disclaimer: This was sent to us by the film’s PR company.
Back on November 22, 2019, we told you about the short version of this film. Now, the full film is ready for release and we got a chance to see it. It’s the tale of a young woman dealing with the death of her sister, which opens herself up to see that her family has always been cursed and that if she does nothing to stop it, it will take her soon enough.
Written, directed, edited and cinematographed — that’s not a word, sorry — by Altoona, PA’s Don Swanson (who also made A Wish for Giantsthat we reviewed here), this movie took more than two years to complete. It stars Betsy Lynn George, who famously danced in the David Fincher directed music video for Billy Idol’s “Cradle of Love,” and Lynda Marnoni from Romero’s Season of the Witchand The Crazies. George’s daughter Ava Psoras is also in this movie as the lead, Clara.
Faced with the loss of her sister Cassandra and mother — as well as a father that was never there for her youth — Clara is trying to stay alive and get past her suicidal past.
This has a great look — closer to the 70’s atmospheric horror that we love more than current direct-to-streaming titles — and has an interesting take on family dynamics and dealing with loss in relation to horror. It’s slow-moving, so if you’re expecting an action-oriented film, this isn’t it. But that’s fine — it takes it’s time to get where it needs to go, but for his experience, Swanson puts together a fine piece of work.
Editor’s Note: We reviewed this Wild Eye release on May 26, 2020. We’re bringing it back, not only for “Slasher Month,” but to let you know it’s now available as a free-with-ads-stream debut on TubiTv.
When Jessica, a wayward trailer park teen with a drunk n’ abusive momma, is accepted by a trio of “party all night” female vamps, she enters a nocturnal world of murder and mayhem. As they stalk clubs and bars for victims—and avoid a notorious vampire hunter—Jessica comes find her inner “girl power.”
Based on its original title of Teenage Bloodsuckin’ Bimbos, and the John Carpenter-esque keyboard noodling, Z-grade ‘80s-styled metal, and its VHS-styled opening titles and end credits sequence, you know what you’re getting into: a campy send-up of ‘80s Troma-style gore films. And there’s bonus points for dredging up our vinyl memories of the Canadian joke-metal band Piledriver by including “Metal Inquisition” on the soundtrack.
Girls Just Want to Have Blood made its world premiere at last year’s New Jersey Film Festival and found distribution with Wild Eye Releasing with a DVD and VOD release on May 26th.
Disclaimer: This was sent to us by the film’s PR company.
Kenta Osaka and Hirohito Takimoto have teamed up to direct this tale of three Americans who escape to Japan to have fun, but end up trapped in the home of a crazy family who wish to sacrifice them to their gods.
You have to give it to the sales team for the tagline: “You’re not in Texas anymore. Welcome to Japan.”
Once when I was staying in Japan, our friend’s mother spent all this time cutting up fruit for us and it was a tremendous gesture, as it wasn’t inexpensive to put this together for us. As she came upstairs to bring this gift to us, she noticed that one of our group still had on shows and even worse, was standing on her son’s bed. She let out a shriek of pure terror and ran crying from the room at the foulness of the gaijin who had infiltrated her humble home.
Therefore, this family going nuts can be explained by how baka baka Americans can be.
Of course, my friend Macky’s mom didn’t want to murder us all in the ancient Japanese tradition of Hitobashira (The Human Pilar), which was when ancient Japanese people cemented living people into walls to keep their homes safe from the disasters the gods would send their way.
If you’re in the mood for a strange comedy with lots of gore, as well as a fight between hammers and swords, well…I can’t stop you from wanting to see this. It’s available on DVD and on demand from CultureSHOCK JAPAN and Leomark Studios, who were kind enough to send us a copy to review.
Danny Trejo has a pretty solid gig these days. Show up for a few minutes in a direct to streaming movie, get the check and keep on being cool. He’s a dependable name above the credits even if he’s only in your movie for a little while.
Joan Campbell (Rachele Brooke Smith) must battle a demon from her past that has already destroyed her family and now has taken possession of the only relative she has left, her sister. She can be a priest in this alternate reality where the Catholic Church embraces women, so this movie has that going for it.
Writer and director Robin Bain has put together a film that hits all of the moments that you want from an exorcism film while also being smart enough to dress Trejo in holy vestments and put him up against the Left Hand Path. He and Joan are all that’s left, because a suicide bomber has taken out every exorcist that the Catholic Church has trained, which is a tremendous blow to them, one imagines.
This isn’t the best exorcism movie you’ll ever see — Lord knows I’ve seen so many that I’ve made a Letterboxd list to catalogue them all — or the worst. There are a bit too many flashbacks, but just enough Catholic songs to let me know that it’s heart is in the right place.
The Last Exorcist is available on demand and on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment, who were nice enough to send us a review copy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally shared this review on April 15, 2020. This movie surprised us with how much we enjoyed it.
While not wholly original, this micro-budgeted, meta pseudo-sequel ended up being an entertaining work that led me to reminisce of the VHS home video days of Charles Band’s Full Moon universe when he’d converge the timelines of his oeuvre (e.g, Dollman from Dollman shows up Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, Dollgirl from Bad Channels shows up in Dollman, etc.).
In addition to Mr. Band, this second indie film from writer-director John R. Walker (who debuted with 2015’s fun-to-watch The Amityville Playhouse) also harkens Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm. Now don’t get worked up. I’m not saying Ouijageist is as good as Phantasm: I speak of Walker eschewing the awful CGI effects of today’s low budget horror films for budgetary-but-effective practical (in camera) effects and homage touches. (And Ouijageist’s sometimes too loud to-the-point-of-distraction synth-piano track is no Fred Myrow or Pino Donaggio masterpiece by any means. But Argento always cranked the music on his films, so maybe it’s a Goblin homage?)
And if that celluloid reminiscing doesn’t hook you, perhaps the meta aspect will: John R. Walker returns as “Peter Sommers,” who also appeared in Ghoul (2020), Meathook Massacre 4 (2018), and Amityville: Evil Never Dies (2015) alongside Lesley Scoble, aka Karen Harper, from Walker’s The Amityville Playhouse (2015). And if the meta aspects of the film don’t entice you to hit the big red streaming button, perhaps ye curiosity seekers of classic sci-fi and horror will recognize the name of Lesley Scoble as one of the creepy village children in 1960’s Village of the Damned.
Now, if you haven’t “geist,” this is a tale of an errant witchboard, aka Ouija board, and the malicious spirits it conjures from the beyond via the stupidity of the curious (that’s not an insult to Walker’s writing; all characters in horror films are too curious and dumb for their own good, natch). Like Eddie Murphy pointed out: Why don’t white people just get the fuck out of the house? And why didn’t Tom Selleck burn the painting in Daughters of Satan? Why do Paul Naschy’s warriors of evil in Horror Rises from the Tomb wait until the third act to pull out the ancient amulet? So let’s cut young India a break, okay?
Single mum India (Lois Wilkenson, affable in her acting debut) and her baby daughter Emily have moved out of their cramped apartment into a rental home owned by a friend of her mom Karen (Lesley Scoble). And during the course of moving in, her mischievous dog digs up the ubiquitous box in the backyard (now where have I seen that before?).
Oh, before I forget: Did you know that the board was responsible for a Swiss banker killing six people . . . then disappearing? Well, that’s what you get for not paying attention to the expositional news report. Eh, that’s okay. Neither did India’s friend Becca who, regardless of the word “Witchboard” wood burned into the box’s lid, decides it would be fun to play with the board inside.
Well, that didn’t take long. . . .
Becca’s pushed down the stairs, Emily’s blocks are spelling words, Mungo the dog (Pixie) is seeing things others don’t, Emily’s boiling in the bathtub, Mungo’s been decapitated, a garden hose takes on a serpent-like quality and kills a handyman, a Phantasm-styled creature jumps out of the sink drain, and Emily’s ex Paul does a Bruce Campbell with some pentagram body boils and scares the tea bags off of some coffee house patrons. Yep, the poltershites hittin’ the fan. Nope, Emily’s isn’t swallowed by the TV. But still . . . we better call Rod Steiger. Uh, we can’t. He’s dead. Eh, Father West and Bishop Chapman will have to do. Shite, that didn’t work. Here comes The Evil Dead siege. Does anyone pull a Linda Blair spiderwalk? Nope. (That’s too expensive a homage for the budget.) Does that six-armed Kâli from the cover show up? Nope. (But since when does anything from a horror box’s cover art actually appear in the film? Case in point: there’s no ponytailed, plaid skirted schoolgirl—complete with ax and skull mask—in the frames of One Night in October, either.) Is India accused of three murders? Does she vanish like the Swiss banker? Does her landlord play his cards close to the chest? Check, check, and check (just like a Paul Naschy movie).
Writer-director John R. Walker started out as a background and day player in the late ‘90s on several top-rated British programmes (Hollyoaks, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Doctor Who) and made what we here at B&S About Movies think is a pretty decent writing and directing debut with one of the better Amityville mocksequels, with the aforementioned The Amityville Playhouse.
While Ouijageist certainly doesn’t live up to its press release claim as a “frightening new supernatural spooker in the tradition of The Conjuring,” it presents genre homages that an Argento and Coscarelli fan like myself appreciates. Walker does a commendable job with his slight budgets and unknown actors, so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with on his currently in-development/productions Blood Bride and the Demons from Hell(great exploitive title), The Great British Massacre, and the oh-so-Italian retro zombie romp, Hell of the Screaming Dead (it’s all about the poster!).
Ouijageist made its U.S debut on DVD and VOD on April 14 via Wide Eye Releasing. You can stream it on Amazon Prime and learn more about the film at its official Facebook page. Thanks to Wide Eye for sending us the DVD.
Disclaimer: This movie was sent to us by its PR department. As always: you know that has nothing to do with our feelings on the movie.
And you have me, R.D Francis, to thank for it . . . no, really . . . I think this one is Sam’s fault, since he came up with a “Rock ‘n’ Roll Week II” . . . but, well, I did pick Dennis Devine’s second direct-to-video feature, Dead Girls(1989), to review during that theme week. So that brings us to his newest, 30th directing effort, Camp Blood 8: Revelations.
Yes, you heard me right: that’s not a parody title. There actually were seven Camp Blood films prior. So, strap on the popcorn bucket, as there’s lots to unpack.
It all starts with a then budding, fifteen-year-old writer and director by the name of Brad Sykes who started capturing his Virginia Beach, Virginia, Kayo syrup n’ red food coloring romps on a Hi-8 camera. Then he went off to Boston University where he graduated cum laude and double-timed with Paramount and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. He eventually ended up in Los Angeles and incorporated Nightfall Pictures which, to date, has built a twenty-six film resume.
And it all began with his 1999 feature film debut, Camp Blood.
Now, if you know your ’80s slasher flicks, you know we have a maniac in the woods and — based on the legends about a boiler suit n’ clown mask-adorned killer stalking the woods — the smart ass teens christened the kiddie vacay spot Camp Blackwood as you-know-what. And, with that, let slip the clowns of war with a soon-to-be twenty-two year run of sequels. And the shenanigans at ol’ Camp Blackwood are so off the rails that it’s also dragged shot on digital video-PowerPoint purveyor Mark Polonia (Amityville Deathhouse, Amityville Exorcism, Empire of the Apes) into its twistyverse.
So, the rundown:
Camp Blood 2 (2000) — directed by Brad Skyes (Plot: A meta film-within-a-film romp as a film is made about the murders of the first film.)
Within the Woods, aka Camp Blood 3 (2005) — directed by Brad Sykes (Plot: A sidequal; Is the clown really back, or is it a prank?)
Camp Blood 3, aka Camp Blood First Slaughter (2014) — directed by Mark Polina (Plot: Actually 4th in the series; a prequel about dopey college students going into the woods on a class assignment to debunk the legend.)
Camp Blood 4 (2016) — directed by Dustin Ferguson (Plot: Dopey college kids camp out in the infamous woods on their way to a rock concert; Raven survives.)
Camp Blood 5 (2016) — directed by Dustin Ferguson, who is back in the AmityvilleVerse with 2021’s Amityville in the Hood and working on 5G Zombies with John R. Walker of Ouijageist. (Plot: Raven, the lone survivor of Part 4, returns to the woods to destroy the Camp Blood Killer.)
Camp Blood 666 (2016) — directed by Ted Moehring, of the 2010 backyard Giallo Bloodbath in the House of Knives. (Plot: A girl heads into the woods to search for her brother who joined a Satanic Clown Cult; meanwhile, the dead Camp Blood Killer is back from hell for revenge.)
Camp Blood 7, aka It Kills (2017) — directed by Mark Polonia (Plot: Dopey fall breakers break down in the woods.)
The Ghost of Camp Blood (2018) — directed by Mark Polonia (Plot: While 9th in the series, it’s actually a sidequel/spin-off; the spirit of the Camp Blood Killer is on the loose from beyond the grave.)
Camp Blood 8: Revelations (2020) — directed by Dennis Devine (Actually film #10, got that?)
Camp Blood 9: The Fall of Camp Blood (2021) — a fan film directed by short film purveyor Riley Lorden, who gained notice for his fan shorts of Halloweenand Friday the 13th, in his feature-length film debut (Plot: From the looks of the theatrical one-sheet, its a Jason vs. Clown, Jr. romp.)
So, to recap: Camp Blood was followed by seven official sequels, one official spin-off, aka Ghost of Camp Blood, and one unofficial film, aka Within the Woods. But 4, 5, 6, 7, Ghost, Revelations, and the upcoming Fall to do not follow the timeline from Within the Woods. Got that? Are you as confused as you were with James Cullen Bressack’s JenniferVerse, which recently released its latest sequel-sidequal For Jennifer (2020), ’cause that ain’t headlice or dandruff yer scratchin’, son. That be films rattlin’ ’round the cranium.
But seriously, folks: As with Demons and Amityville, and House (remember how House II: The Second Story became La Casa 6 in Europe), aren’t we just slapping “Camp Blood” on any summer camp slasher that flows down the digital gateways? And now, the Mexican folklore of La Llorona* — absconded by The Conjuring series of films as its sixth installment, aka, The Curse of La Llorona, is heading into ubiquitous sequels territory.
Anyway, back to Camp Blood.
Now, according to the “legend” set forth in The Ghost of Camp Blood, the infamous Blackwood Forest was haunted by the vengeful spirit of the Camp Blood Killer . . . from beyond the grave. But the clown-masked killer was vanquished when the haunted mask was destroyed. But the original clown from Camp Blood 5, who died, actually has a son who took up the mask and machete from ol’ pop. And Clown, Jr. has an overbearing and sexually-twisted mommy. (Remember now: in 6, it was Clown, Sr.’s ghost and not a “real” clown killer.)
And that gets us up to speed for Double D’s contribution with four bikini-clad volley ball players and their coach (as only Dennis Devine can film them) on the way to a VB tornament in Utah. Of course they take the usual they-shouldn’t-have shortcut (Duh!) and, wouldn’t ya’ know, their brand spankin’ new, red Mercedes Benz breaks down. And they go looking for help. And they find a cabin where there’s some mommy n’ son incest of the Charles Kaufman’s Mother’s Day variety goin’ on. Yep. The girls go head-to-head and limb-to-limb with Clown, Jr. and crazy mommy.
Oh, the twist: Helping the girls is a friendly ghost of the Casper variety that — of course! — has a psychic link with one of the girls. And if you’re a regular visitor to the Blackwood Forest, you notice You Tube star and now indie horror regular Shawn C. Phillips, who appeared in Camp Blood 4 and 5, is back as a hermit-survivalist, and the Thatcher character from Brad Sykes’s Camp Blood 1 (Joe Haggerty of Dennis Devine’s go-to writer Steve Jarvis’s 1993 film Flesh Merchant) is back as his crazy-ass, usual self spewin’ doom ‘n gloom to the cast.
Everything — as is the case with direct-to-video homage to slashers of future past — is played for the cheeky camp; however, unlike those Carpenter knock-offs of future past, Devine has forgone practical, in-camera kills n’ splatter for CGI effects that comes in the form of a throat slice and three chest stabs-by-machete, a decap-by-axe, a mad mommy strangulation, and a good ol’ fashioned head-to-the-tree bashing. And while we are reasonable watchers and take into account we are in the ultra-low-budget backwoods of Carpenterville — less about $340,000 of Carp’s reported 350 k budget for his 1978 game changer — its looks pretty weak. A digital Tom Savini this is not.
But you know what? I don’t care. It’s a Dennis Devine picture and he’s been giving me quality entertainment since I purchased Dead Girls via mail order all those years ago. And it feels like the ol’ SOV-VHS ’80s all over again. And it’s good to be home.
Speaking of out-of-control and off-the-rails franchises: Dennis Devine has entered the La LloronaVerse as well, with The Haunting of La Llorona (2019). And again: the mysteries of the Blackwood Forest ain’t done yet: Camp Blood 9: The Fall of Camp Blood is currently in production. You can learn more about CB 9 at their official Facebook page.
Camp Blood 8: Revelations recently made its free-with-ads stream debut on TubiTv. We’re pretty much booked up with slasher flicks for October, so we probably won’t get to review it in time, but you can check out Devine’s The Haunting of La Llorona on TubiTv.
You can also catch up with last October’s “Slasher Month” with a complete list of all the reviewed films, Top Ten Lists, and feature articles about the genre.
We also get into the history and birth of the Slashers of the ’80s with our “Exploring: Giallo” featurette, which also features links to all of the films we reviewed last June as part of our “Giallo Month.”