Tackling the Wrong Turn FranchiseWrong Turn 3; Left for Dead

Wrong Turn 3 (USA, Germany, Bulgaria) 2009

Writers – Connor James Delaney, Alan B McElroy

Director – Declan O’Brien

Run Time – 93 minutes

20th Century Fox

Summit Entertainment

Constantin Film

Well, Cults away, So I’ll tackle this (another) entry in the W.T. franchise (is it too early to start abbreviating?). With parts One and Two out of the way what does this, the tertiary entry in the series, offer the viewer? Honestly, one would hope more of the same. Honestly, the franchise’s first two films were fascinating entries in the “learning more about backwoods folks” educational series. What, prey, might we discover in this entry?

Questions, queries, and perplexing notions. It’s a damn sight easier to hit play. What say we do just that?

“Left for Dead” (I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s at least half a dozen bands within the Heavy Metal arena using the same moniker. I just checked. In fact, there’s only one. Well, there was. Someplace in Germany. Before they split in 2016) commences with a handful of friends pissing around in kayaks. Sure, it looks like fun, that is until one of those nasty looking rocks takes a shine to any number of areas which comprise your soft skull.

I digress. However, it must be stated these guys are kitted out for the activities at hand, helmets, life preservers and tight-fitting wet suits. And wouldn’t you know it, a pair of titties are unleashed (that’s more boobs than the first two films combined for those with a notebook at the ready). It isn’t long however until one (boob, that is) catches the fancy of the business end of a sharpened tipped length of wood (not that kind, get the mind outta the gutter). Not even five minutes in and we have exhibitionism, penetration, and wicked FX to boot.

We’re on to a winner here folks!

A few scenes later, more bloodshed, a scene to make an optometrist cry and the real reason why lil’ Johnny has always come last in the yearly county fair hot dog eating contests. “Slow down Johnny. Oh… That’s not gonna fit!”

The viewer has already gotten an intimate panorama view of one of the films heroes (if you clap for these unfortunate looking fellows donning hand me downs, pungent odor, and an appetite for meat so fresh it’s not through begging for its life) and an appreciation for weaponry most decline in favor of shotguns, rifles and, in rare cases, slingshots.

All this without a single mention of a piece of apparatus which is likely to raise spectacular funding if it were to ever be presented in a Shark Tank episode. Silliness and CGI make a dramatic entrance, but not to worry. At this juncture who can take another rich kid, rednecks, and a Cabin in the Woods tale seriously? It’s a paint by numbers story, nevertheless… I’m hooked.

“Did you know we were going to be in a movie? A Wrong Turn entry of all things. Hey… wait a minute!”

Surprisingly, this entry is a little different than the last and even the one before that. The creators decided the inclusion of a prison, a handful of choice inmates, an undercover agent and a rerouted ‘transfer’ would spark the interest some. At this point if you can’t predict how the film is going to proceed, odds are you suffer from a youth spent nose deep in tutorial texts with hopes of attaining a dream career rather than knee deep in jaded celluloid companioned by reading material likely to send the neighborhood pastor in spittle-flying seizures.

Add an abandoned truckload of money to the mix, a dismemberment, opposing gang stereotypes and a head on a spike and the film delivers that which a handful of action movies could only hope to. With a rapid flow rivaling that of something not quite as well versed in the speed department “Left for Dead” doesn’t dwell on character backstories, other than labeling them unfortunate individuals who have picked Hillbilly ‘Slaughterville’ as their getaway destination spot. This is an undeniably Slasher flick , not a tear-jerking drama. And boy. Does it deliver!

But is this the last decent entry in the franchise? (I’m sure we’ll get to answer that question soon enough) How is it the films antagonist can seemingly survive anything (might he (?) be related in some way to Jason, perhaps Michael Myers?) and just how is it that Nate, Tom Frédéric, looks like Ash in certain lighting? (Is this just me?)

Many of these will remain unanswered, undoubtedly there’s a great many more which might crop up as the film progresses. My suggestion, clear the mind, don’t take this literally, enjoy the silliness. Perhaps create a drinking game whereupon one slams a beverage every time El Creepo giggles maniacally, alternatively down a shot every time ‘Sir Nazi’ confronts ‘El Hefe’. There’s plenty here to enjoy regardless of your level of inebriation. This honestly isn’t quite as good as either entry before yet still manages to leave an impression be it through cheesy character interaction, the inventiveness of the kill scenes, the sheer audacity of the film’s villain or the quality and grisliness of the FX.

Is Part Four where it all starts to fall apart? Only time (and a view) will tell, until then, enjoy this. Odds are, it isn’t as bad as you might be “led” to believe.

8.5

B

Bring on parts four, five, six, and the remake. I’m ready for em’ all!

Scorching the Retinas – Dollar Store Movie Marathon (May 2021)

And it’s that time again. I’ve managed to grab the reins before another mysterious contributor could. Without further ramblings may I present my thoughts on several films which have recently flashed across my retinas.

The First King (Italy, Belgium) 2019

(Subtitled)

Writers – Fillipo Gravino, Francesca Marieri, Matteo Rovere

Director – Matteo Rovere

Genre – Drama, History, Thriller

Run Time – 128 minutes

Set in ancient times this tale tells of two brothers, initially shepherds, and their struggles as they evade both the wrath of nature, the God’s, and those who they recently escaped servitude to.

Boasting a soundtrack which evokes strong emotions, camera work which is top-notch and direction which is excellent, this rolls at a pace which is engrossing. “The First King” depicts its characters and movements in a light which makes want to dive deep into the history section of the local library.

Trailer courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment

Strong performances, brutal action scenes and a gritty believability result in a film which, though epic in length, delivers throughout. Recc for fans of Apocalypto.

9

Rust Creek (USA) 2018

Writers – Stu Pollard, Joe Lipson

Director – Jen McGowan

Genre – Thriller/

Run Time – 109 minutes

Stranger in a strange land. No. This isn’t an Iron Maiden documentary but rather the relateable way in which this feature starts. Sporting GPS directions toward a road that doesn’t exist within an area far from that which is familiar results in understandable and quite palpable frustration, menace, and dread, in essence a fantastic approach to start any film. Couple this with the sudden appearance of a sinister-looking pair intent on ‘partying’ and the film is set. Without ruining anything I’ll add that the film is set deep in the wilderness, no one can trusted, and this isn’t the typical run of the mill backwoods cinematic romp.

Trailer courtesy of IFC Films

Surprisingly well-written and directed, this shatters assumptions throughout, and delivers characters which evoke strong emotions. A fitting ominous soundtrack adds to the film’s tension making for a viewing experience which is a damn sight better than the cover art might suggest.

9

(The) Toolbox Murders 2 (USA) 2013

Writers – Josh Edwards. Dean Jones

Director – Dean Jones

Genre – Horror

Run Time – 85 minutes

Having laid down a few words on this I was intrigued as to this, a sequel Tope Hooper has absolutely zero connection with.

The film’s introduction boasts an industrialized driven soundtrack against a montage of brutality; power tools, battered torsos and dismembered body parts. “Hardware” (a futuristic thriller by Richard Stanley) in tone it serves to rev the adrenaline for what’s to follow. Digits crossed that what comes next is even close to that which has just flickered across the retinas.

Well, the killer from the last film has returned. However, this time he’s managed to secure himself a warehouse. Not just any warehouse, this one has a huge table saw, electric and several (would ya believe it?) large cages. In one of these is the sister of one of his latest victims. From said vantage point she witnesses one atrocity after another. And therein lies this movies premise. Add a heaping helping of madness (the mind will tend to slant in this direction after witnessing ones loved one hacked to pieces), a few ‘choice’ cuts fried to perfection, sequences blanketed in hallucinogenic properties and scenes depicting brutality to the point where many will want the services of the nearest bucket and the film is complete.

Trailer courtesy of ScreamFactory TV

As far as sequels go, this isn’t the worst though it’s far from being the best or even, quite honestly, praiseworthy. Sure, it has grisly effects aplenty, enough corpses to send a veritable legion of morticians scampering for lube and crimson enough to send Vlad into orgasmic seizure, but it’s lacking. It suffers from a made for TV vibe, lack of story (as if most other Slasher affairs sport much more than this?) and an array of characters one couldn’t care to root for. But if mindless torture, chains, and celluloid nonsense is your thing, go ahead and give this a shot. It’s watchable (barely), boasts a decent cast (who probably to this day praise this as their ‘why’ film) and delivers the body count. It even sports most of the other ingredients on hand which are required for success. Is it the recipe, the cook, the instructions (are they even in a decipherable language)? It’s hard to pin it down, suffice it to say there’s something here which is definitely ‘missing’.

4.5

The Domestics (USA) 2018

Writer/Director – Mike P Nelson

Genre – Dystopian Thriller

Run Time – 96 minutes

Those immune to the ‘Black Smoke’, in this case a married couple with issues, struggle to survive that which remains of humanity; gangs, vigilantes and those taking advantage of what the current situation affords them.

Different than most within the same arena, this depicts a handful of gangs each with a unique motif and trademark (often slightly outlandish, Mad Max in tone). “The Domestics” also showcases the complexities of married life (it doesn’t appear to have changed much following an apocalyptic event, for all those hoping perhaps it might) as well the idiosyncrasies often associated with long- time residents of established housing communities. Strong performances from Kate Bosworth (“Homefront”) and Tyler Hoechlin (“TeenWolf” “Supergirl” and “The Flash TV series) make the film as well a stunning performance from Lance Reddick (but just what is it he’s hiding). A darkly humorous how the world fares narration courtesy of Crazy Al, voiced by Allyn M. Schmitz, (a radio personality who is still somehow on the air) adds levity to balance out the features excellently crafted tension. The action is fast and furious (I can’t believe I just said that!), with so much crimson being scattered that it soon becomes a primary color within the feature.

Trailer courtesy of Orion Pictures

Not the greatest within the scene, obvious similarities to “The Purge” demand mention, though certainly not the worst, this is a delightfully and rather mindless way to spend the afternoon if you can’t get enough of the sound of gunfire blasting through the surround system.

8

Fun fact (for those who appreciate such); Mike L Nelson also directed the most recent “Wrong Turn” movie (reboot/rehash call it what you will).

Paradox (China, Hong Kong) 2017

(Subtitled)

Writers – Nick Cheuk, Lai-Yin Leung

Director – Wilson Yip

Genre – Action/Crime/Thriller/Martial Arts

Run Time – 100 minutes

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A troubled father travels out of country to find his missing daughter, in the process he encounters a trafficking ring, corruption, and an incorruptible few brave enough to dare to help him.

Combining palpable emotions (emphasized by a stunning soundtrack), powerful performances and even more formidable action this film flows at an alarming rate. The stunts are jaw-dropping, the choreography alarmingly impressive and the action lightning paced and liquid fluid. Better yet the story isn’t difficult to follow, the Subs easy to read and the interactions utterly relateable. In short, although I can find any reason to scribble upon this at length, this is a film any Martial Arts aficionado or even the casual fan of the scene should seek out.

Trailer courtesy of ONE Media

“Paradox” doesn’t bog itself down in useless scenes but is instead a stunning example of a film which enthralls from start to finish, be it in the form of bone-breaking action or the way in which it tackles the realm of Cop Drama. Catch this at your earliest convenience.

10

MirageMan (Chile) 2007

(Subtitled/Dubbed)

Writer/Director – Ernesto Diaz Espinoza

Genre – Humor/Action/Martial Arts

Run Time – 88 minutes

A superhero on the streets of Chile. A vigilante who’s first foray into crime fighting was to stop three armed robbers from raping a famous newscaster. Naturally, thus is quite the endorsement, though most still think if him as a joke, others are rabid fans. One even goes so far as to offer support. When his activities cease, many start to wonder what might have happened. A mysterious email, however, brings him back into the vigilante fold. He has ten hours to rescue the newscaster whom he originally helped. Will he? Is he done? Is this too silly to watch?

Surprisingly, this is just silly enough. It isn’t over the top to the point that one might imagine either Troma or The Asylum being distributors. This boasts humor, also believable emotion and a relateable backstory (the origins of Batman come to mind). It also showcases the evolution of the character and chronicles several the missions much like a Detectives case file book.

Trailer courtesy of FestivalesBA

For those whose viewing habits exist largely in low budget arenas this will hit the spot, but for those whose tastes lay in bigger budget, in this case Avenger/X-Men, realms this will sorely fall short of expectations.

8

The Thompson (USA) – 2012

Writers – Adam Weis, Cory Kaufman and The Butcher Brothers

Directors – The Butcher Brothers

Genre – Horror/Vampires

Run Time – 83 minutes

A follow up to “The Hamiltons” this offers an introduction to heighten the senses. A scene to excite even Leatherface, complete with a VW breaking down. Whoops. I nearly forgot the English accent (I’m a sucker for a lady with an accent from whence I hail) sported by a face to brighten even the darkest of day.

The film continues with a darkly humorous narrative which explains the backstory, the characters, and the progress of the story itself (up to a certain point). With a few twists on traditional Vampiric mythos this offers everything a fan would expect; nubile naked flesh, eroticism, bucketloads of crimson and even a heaping helping of effective gore.

Trailer courtesy of Snowfort Pictures

Cheese is somehow an ingredient which also finds itself on the menu though thankfully it doesn’t deter from a film which is a surprisingly well-constructed and worthy addition to any blood-sucking aficionados’ collection. Fans of this will also enjoy the above-mentioned prequel. Fingers crossed there’s another in the works.

9

Wolvesbane (USA) 2009

Writer – Leigh Scott

Director – Griff Furst

Genre – Horror

Run Time- 93 minutes

Mark Dacascos steps away from “The Iron Chef” duties as well a genre he’s known for (martial arts/action) to star in this.

With a surprisingly adequate cast and story this follows along similar lines which Underworld gallops though with the infusion of Van Helsing and Dracula, more a ‘safe’ and not quite so detailed made-for-Cinemax approach. With a screen bursting with eye candy, plenty of crimson and a pace which is both swift and requires little thought this offers a great deal to enjoy, especially if like me you enjoy your celluloid with a heaping helping of over-the-top theatrics, cheese, and titillating female on female violence.

Trailer courtesy of movie Predictor

Fun fact, for those into such trivial details, Griff Furst also directed “Trailer Park Shark”, “Lake Placid 3” and another starring Mr. Dacascos “I Am Omega”.

7

Nazi Overlord (USA) 2018

Writer – Scott Mullen

Director- Rob Pallatina

Genre – War, Horror

Run Time – 89 minutes

A secret mission takes a squadron of WWII soldiers behind enemy lines in search of a Bio scientist. An obvious low budget ‘take’ on “Overlord” this exhibits horrid CGI effects, bad acting and an impressive castle structure in the middle of nowhere.

Nevertheless, I found myself glued.

Rifles, grenades, and viper bites. Some elements are predictable here, some not so much. Blanketed by a sense of menace this strangely holds the attention even though the dialogue is at times laughable.

Trailer courtesy of Hot Movie Trailers

Most definitely not for everyone this boasts that certain undefinable quality B movie lovers will appreciate.

4

Terra Willy – Unexplored Planet (France) 2019

Writers – David Alaux, Eric Tosti, Jean-François Tosti

Director – Eric Tosti

Genre – Children’s Animation/Adventure/Sci-fi

Run Time – 90 minutes

When a child gets separated from his parents, he gets stranded on an alien planet, he must learn to survive by his own ingenuity.

Yes, it’s easy to laugh at the connotations that (part of) the film’s title offers. With that silliness through and having hit Play the film immediately captures the senses. Vibrant, bright, animation sporting fluid movement, composition and exquisite textures are only some of the many elements this feature offers. The joys of companionship, the grief of loss, the exhilaration of seeing a project come to fruition, dealing with frustration, determination and discovery are all covered as well cautionary exploration of an alien surrounding. Humor is a large part here and it works well for both the younger and mature audience.

Trailer courtesy of JoBlo Animated Videos

In short this is a film which could well be bypassed in favor of a familiar larger animation title, I’m here to state it shouldn’t be, as this has a great deal to offer.

10

The Frozen Front (France) – 2017

(Dubbed)

Writer/Director – David Aboucaya

Genre – War/Drama

Run Time – 142 minutes

The dubbing might be slightly off at times, however that’s merely a tiny qualm. This (film) provides a gritty, realistic, and exquisitely portrayed insight into the horrors of war both on a physical and mental level. The hopelessness, the uncertainty, loss and dealing with grief, the futility, and the rising tensions between comrades as faith in ‘the cause’ and a higher power dwindles.

Trailer courtesy of ITN Movies

Among this film’s standout elements are its locations, the ferocity of the elements themselves, the camaraderie of the company and the palpable emotions displayed throughout.

7.5

Dog Bite Dog (Hong Kong/Japan) 2006

(Subtitled/Dubbed)

Writers – Matt Chow, Melvin Li, Kam-Yuen Szeto

Director – Soi Cheang

Genre – Crime/Thriller/Martial Arts

Run Time – 109 minutes

Ferocious and merciless this film dares go when most others dare not. An assassin raised like a unloved mutt is cornered by the authorities. He manages to escape. A single cop takes it upon himself to find him and bring him to justice. Pitting an emotionless killer against a cop with zero regard for the rules this film takes the viewer to where they might expect and then past that point. The action is brutal, over the top, with several instances set to make the audience jump. Backstories make the main characters pop and alliances are set to shift as the film progresses.

Trailer courtesy of HK Movie Extras

Excellently shot with zero filler this holds the retinas in rapture for the entire duration and tops the experience off with a stunning climax. Keep the eyes peeled for this title.

9.5

And, introducing a Bonus ‘Bargain Priced’ Feature

Wax (Spain) 2014

Writers – Hugo Stuven, Victor Matellano

Director – Victor Matellano

Genre – Horror

Run Time – 83 minutes

Waxworks, wax museums, tableaus of atrocities in wax. These have all been extensively covered throughout the history of horror. Shit, even Paris Hilton met her untimely demise in a film with a title which pretty much gave the whole feature away (but everyone loved it anyway, and most especially that one scene). So, what gives? Well, in this instance, Mike has agreed to spend the night in one such location, in Barcelona. He has cameras to keep him company as well a myriad of crafted caricatures and even animatronic. As the night wanes and the cameras batteries drain Mike waxes poetic on the many attractions found within the museum. One character is of special interest: Dct. Knox is a murderer and a cannibal (and he’s still alive quite unlike the vast majority of the museums other crafted celebrities).

With cameras secreted in specific locations Mike hopes to capture something, anything to spark excitement and controversy. As apparently the museum has quite the history complete with unexplained occurrences.

Trailer courtesy of North of Main
Wax is also somewhat a “Found Footage” film

Wrapped within Mike’s wanderings and diatribes slathered in boredom are passages/scenes pertaining to Dct. Knox (and what he likes to refer to as his “science experiments”). As well snippets from Mike’s past in which he appears to be happily married. Are the two somehow connected? The viewer might believe so as the film nears its halfway point, and the Doctors (often gruesome) narrative plays out over our intrepid explorer’s wanderings.

The introduction of a red ball and its mysterious movements serve to skyrocket Mike’s blood pressure. An abrupt phone call with some rather predictable news sends him into hysterics.

Will he survive the night? Just who or what is moving the red ball and the attractions around? Was this movie originally released in Spanish? These and many more questions will remain unanswered (unless you choose to seek out this film and watch it in its entirety) at least as far as my review and the spoilers therein stretch.

A Wax Gothic themed “Lobbycard”

As far as suspense and tension goes, this film sets up a premise, sets the scene, then delivers the payoff (that is if you can get over the “Tales from the Crypt” esque twist). With its use of found footage, security cams and POV angles the viewer is brought closer into the action, and with only the interior of the museum on display a definite claustrophobia grabs ahold and is captured beautifully. Obviously, the whole notion of spending the night within walls such as those depicted here in similar company is terrifying enough without the added weight of… (whoops, nearly spoilt it there).

A standout performance from Jack Taylor (his last credited performance, although much like Dct. Knox he is still wandering the mortal realm) makes this film all the creepier. The way in which he delivers his lines so matter-of-factly, when his actions are anything, but every day ordinary is sinister. It’s stated (early on in a news piece dedicated to the antics of cannibalistic killer) that the Dct. wished to homage Vincent Price (more specifically his role of Henry Jarrod in 1953’s “House of Wax”) and general does it wonderfully both in mannerism and delivery.

Are you sure that you aren’t hungry? I do so hate eating alone.

The films ‘money shot’ scene is a grisly set piece reminiscent of a number of chunk-blowing works by Herschell Gordon Lewis and (the Japanese shocker) “Grotesque” complete with its eerie surgical atmosphere.

As well displaying plentiful torture, cannibalism, and carnage the film also touches upon sensationalism (much like Deodato’s “Cannibal Holocaust”) and ratings and the sheer shocking depths one will go to gain notoriety. “Wax” even goes so far as to feature a line which I believe would have ended the movie on a ‘high note’ (rather than the attempted stylish nonsense it concluded with); “We’ve just revolutionized the history of reality tv” (followed, seconds later by “… Lunch?”).

A good a place to start as any

In conclusion, this is probably not what one might expect, given the films cover art and description. And although it does contain exquisite Gothic elements, they aren’t utilized in a manner one might assume but rather the imagery conjured by a mind plummeting rapidly into inescapable chaotic darkness. The film offers sublime sequences which are riveting (watch this alone with the lights off) and a character portrayal which is chilling. Unfortunately, most will be able to predict a major twist, though perhaps not the films ending(?) resulting in an experience which will most definitely divide the viewers revulsion; in essence a balancing of scales pitting one brutal atrocity against another of arguably equal weight though fashioned with drastically different substance.

Although parts of this could have been handled better for maximum effect, and others left out completely, this will still leave an impression albeit not as deep and long-lasting as it could have been.

All in all Wax is a valiant effort which opens the door to both Paul Naschy films and the European genre market of the late seventies/early eighties. Have fun exploring!

7

That brings this to its close, another Dollar Store Movie Marathon piece in the books and with it, I hope, more awareness raised to cinematic gems which most others leave behind. As this reaches its final stanza I’d like to remind everyone to continue to support the scene and those within it; for escapism is an important part of keeping one’s sanity in troubled times such as these.

Your slave to often ignored cinematic realms,

Cult

Scorching the Retinas – Tackling the Wrong Turn Franchise. The Original “Wrong Turn”.

Yes, I hear ya. It’s been a while since I’ve scribbled upon one if the films within this franchise. In fact, the only one I’ve covered (this far) has been the quite excellent part two. However, I made a promise to myself and even made a ‘header’ for the review series. Without further ado what say we dive into the film which spawned a number of sequels (six, at last count) and even, recently, a reboot/respawning/rehashing of sorts.

Wrong Turn (Canada, Germany, USA) 2003

Writer – Alan B McElroy

Director – Rob Schmidt

Run Time – 85 minutes

Summit Entertainment

Constantin Film

Admittedly the whole teens in the woods encountering ‘something’ in the middle of nowhere is not a new premise (and it wasn’t even when this was released).

So, what gives?

Well, seems as this incited another six in the series there must be something going for it, right? I intend to find out.

The guy from Dexter, Desmond Harrington, the one who always tried to thwart Dexter’s extra- curricular activities, is the first character to be introduced. Apparently, he’s in somewhat of a hurry to get to Richmond. So much of a hurry in fact that he chooses to not wait in traffic but rather traverse roads with an unknown destination. Several minutes later a blind corner, distracted fumbling with various CDs and the fascination a dead dear with a gaping asshole evokes results in an abrupt introduction; “Hello Jeep, I’m a classic Mustang. It’s a pleasure to make your acquainta-!”

So, there’s now six individuals and two vehicles in various states of fucked up. What better way than to make a bad situation worse than by a bit of pre-marital sex and a spot of trespassing.

Now we have a movie.

Trailer courtesy of Trailer Chan

Obviously. a film which has suddenly pounced upon rails laid out within the genre many years before the idea if this even came about.

But just what is a “Garage sale from Hell”?

The trespassing leads to an ominous discovery, as one intrepid explorer’s puts it: “The garage sale from hell”. But it gets more intriguing still. The residence has a room full of freezers. And let’s just say they aren’t stocked with Banquet microwave dinners and an array of popsicles in various shapes and sizes.

Cue the entrance of the supposed owners of said residence. The film now transforms into a wicked cat n mouse affair. Darkness falls (as it so often tends to) as it does so the films ominous nature builds, exchanging insurance information is no longer on the agenda but acting like an acrobat to avoid immolation most certainly is.

All tied up with a Reboot in the works

The chase continues, crimson is spilled, and bodies fall. Will Desmond and his friends, chief among them the beauty Eliza Dushku, get to live another day, will this become a tale to ward off potential visitors to the wilds of Virginia (told around firepits between mouthfuls of Chardonnay)? Or will the strangers, in turn, become romantically entangled with the lining of the native’s intestines?

Hey. I’m not here to ruin this experience. I’m present to remark upon its qualities or lack thereof. So, is this any good? Does it warrant a remake? Or even as many sequels as have been produced for that matter.

I’m happy to report that this is most probably that one great backwoods movie you’ve probably never seen (unless, you have).

“Wrong Turn” bears many a great quality, not least among them a sense of direction which derives from experience, knowledge of the genre and undeniable talent. The film flows at a fantastic pace, boasting dark humor, menace and an ominous nature which is often palpable. The story trots along familiar lines, there’s little secret here, though still manages, somehow, to hold the audience enraptured. A sense of predictability comes and goes though is frequently thrust to the far reaches of the critical mind as unrelenting brutality (captured somewhat artistically in most instances) clears the viewers thoughts.

Peek a boo. Who asked for the “House Special”?

Characters are excellently portrayed, both antagonist and protagonist, to the point where emotions and strong feelings (about their ultimate survival) blossoms. And the inevitable happens, as often is the case in stalk/slash affair such as this, making one want to pound on the screen in frustration whilst yelling; “Why? And how is it that you’re so stoopid?”

We don’t need SFX where we’re going baby!

The location is an uncelebrated co-star of the show. The desolation showcased, while also a sense of claustrophobia (on account of all the trees), is chilling, making one ponder upon the many niggling complexities being stranded in a location like this would present. Not to mention (on top of this) that the characters here are being chased/stalked by those familiar with their surroundings. And then there’s the soundtrack; a well-executed companion which aids in the propulsion of suspense, tension, and accelerated blood pressure.

Last, but certainly not least, is the films exquisite utilization of (practical) effects. Classy yet brutal the film spares no expense in this arena offering an audience that which they might have expected yet in a somewhat refined demeanor. Standout scenes are plentiful but the scene in which Carlos eyes dilate as her body plummets (I’m not offering too many spoilers here, I hope?) is truly spectacular and shows a certain ingenuity where even the smallest amount, based on previous viewing habits within the genre, might not have been expected.

It’s lunch time!!

In short, and to get to the point, I’ll take a stab at bringing this to a bloody conclusion (can I cram any more puns in here without being too glaringly-neon obvious?), this film is a damn sight better than I expected. Not surprisingly many tout the second installment as their favorite (I’ve seen it, and I can see why) within the franchise and tend to disregard this. I can honestly relate to part of their opinion. However, thus in no way should be passed off as garbage, it’s far from it in sporting as much ingenuity and creativity within its length. There’s truthfully little to complain about here, in fact it’s easy to comprehend why a part two, three, four (perhaps five and six?) were produced as this has the unmistakable aura of a feature which isn’t going to be forgotten in a hurry.

9

Cult

Abrasive Audio – Special Edition; White Crone

And here we are, yet again. Another month has passed, and Metal continues to flow like flesh searing magma from the blistering orifice of an angry volcano. Apart from the melt-me-to-the-spot-as-I-scream-in -agony factor I have no issue with the flow, I only wish I had more time to explore what the fascinating Extreme Audio universe has to offer.

In other news, mandates pertaining to wearing masks have dropped in several places. This makes me happy if only for the fact that the beard I’m attempting to cultivate has a chance to breath. But enough about me, what say we start exploring? However, before I begin, I must say a huge thanks to everyone who has perused my scribbles, those who have sent promotional material in my direction, those who have supported me, and those who continue to do so with kind words of encouragement. This marks the sites two hundred and fiftieth posting.

Plucked Screamin’ from Metal Past

White Crone (USA) – The Poisoner

Release – February 2020

https://whitecrone.bandcamp.com/album/the-poisoner

Independent

Genre – Heavy Metal/Doom/NWOBHM

From the very first, one registers an understanding that what the senses is about to explore is going to be special. A slow cheeky grin takes dominion over the face as an aura of nostalgia wraps one in a warmth which only fantastic memories can provide.

As the album plays, questions arise as to why this is in fact be the case. Is the cause due to the melodies, the rhythms, the voice, the tone, or the uncanny vintage aura the album offers? If I were to chip in my ‘two cents’ (as I’m often known to) I’d state, it’s the combination of all the aforementioned (elements). Soothing, yet ominous the album provides that which fans of Candlemass, Dio and a slew of other traditional acts within much the same genre are known for. Though what makes this truly special is the fact that Lisa Mann (Splintered Throne, Dead Conspiracy) handles all the percussion duties (bar drums).

Don’t make me swing these at you!

Her vocal abilities are quite honestly mesmeric in instances putting one in mind of celebrated efforts by Heart, Candlemass and Dio (Rainbow era) both confident. Vibrato and powerful. To think that she also handles the guitar and bass duties here is truly incredible, each meet and exceed standards to sate the desires of any traditional HM fan, however combined the feat is truly outstanding. However, the surprises don’t end there. Apart from remaining ‘unsigned’ (what, I’m literally stunned) the album also sports a cover (of a track) which a great many of us hold in high regard. “The Seven Gates of Hell” is, obviously, a track which many have tackled, though none (to my understanding) quite like how it’s represented here. Lisa’s vocals accentuate the lyrics originally penned by Cronos (which I’ve never fully appreciated the brilliance of until now, if I’m to be honest) and take the track to new heights to an audience who would be otherwise ignorant of its existence.

Venom… duh!

The album is of an exceedingly high quality and boasts a handful of standouts. “Broken” bears a wicked middle Eastern vibe and intriguing lyrical content. The album’s title track, “The Poisoner”, puts one in mind of Medieval themed, Dio fronted, Rainbow with both its vintage HM style and lyrical leanings. “Under Hag Stones” sports archaic ritualistic magick leanings. A track which could well serve as a Candlemass (complete with Messiah) crowd pleaser (if only they had penned it first). With this style in mind, I’ve curious as to how Lisa might tackle a cover (possibly “Bewitched” although others come to mind) by the aforementioned. Diversity breaks up the release, tracks such as “Edge of Gone” and “New Planet Earth” display a myriad of possibly influence ranging from Progressive through Rock, David Bowie, Rush and the more melodic stylings of HM (in some instances Girlschool come to mind, but it’s fleeting).

“The Poisoner” also comes complete with instrumentals; “Interment” and “Melancholia”. I’m pleased to state both serve as testament to Lisa’s composition, talent, and arrangements prowess.

In short, if you’ve yet to lay ears upon this and easy rhythms, bordering on gentle galloping, are your thing you need to point your eyes, ears, and wallet in this direction. This is seriously. a must own! A recent entry which fits comfortably in a genre responsible for starting it all.

And a huge thanks goes out to White Crone for sending the album in my direction. Approachability (which is most probably not even a word?), modesty and treating fans on a level plane is a sure-fire way to make a lasting impact.

Score – 94

Cult

 

Abrasive Audio – Turbo Edition (May 2021)

Hey, It’s B again. This time I’ll be attempting a roundup of releases which have recently caught my attention. One might notice the “Turbo” in the above header. The reason is simple; Cult is currently enjoying a respite from work, poor bugga has blown out his other knee (keep track, will ya. Please) but is still bouncing around the house at a small pace doing the wife’s bidding whilst also picking up after his sweet little, seemingly tornado driven, child. Without further ado a few words on that which has recently carved a smirk on my visage as it has graced my fleshy audio knubs.

Night Resident (Greece) Darkness is my Home.

Release – May 2021

https://nightresident.bandcamp.com/

Independent

Genre – Post Rock/Doom/Rock

This immediately sinks its hooks in, and deep. Somehow an album from a genre I don’t usually frequent has garnered my attention. How? Well… the audio here flows with an aura which screams “sit down relax, forget your woes” while this envelopes the listener in a cocoon of familiarity, be it the melancholic tones of standout Doom acts or the tempo which bears a mellow Rock yet slight HM edge though not quite to an Avante’ Garde or even alternative leaning. This is heavy, yet not, in an Old Man Wizard way. Hard to explain, easier to gush over. This is surprisingly consumable audio which has the eerie power to make one stop and take note.

92

Heavy Chains (Costa Rica) – Red Reaper

Release- May 2021

https://heavychainscr.bandcamp.com/

Independent

Genre – Thrash/Old School/Crossover/Heavy Metal

Rather than speed for the sake of speed this bears more a bounce and slightly technical motif with traditional Heavy Metal melodic leanings. Another surprise comes in the form of a singer who sings rather than choosing to incorporate grunts, growls or any other number of issuances which are typically heard within the genre.

Fans of Sacred Reich, Iron Maiden, older Flotsam and Jetsam and even vintage Anthrax will enjoy this.

79

Amammoth (Australia) – The Fire Above

Release – March 2021

https://evrecords.bandcamp.com/album/amammoth-the-fire-above

Electric Valley Records

Genre – Sludge/Stoner/Doom

What appears as though it might be an instrumental release soon transpires in a distortion-laden epic effort with a Neanderthal vocal accompaniment. What separates this from the hordes however is the albums use of an organ (a traditional one! Not the one the gutter mind might be thinking of) and Synth passages. Epic, lumbering and strangely quite soothing in instances this goes nowhere fast much like what one might expect given the term “Sludge” though does offer a listening experience which fans of the genre will enjoy.

Score – 74

Wolf King (USA) – The Path of Wrath

Release – March 2021

https://wolfking.bandcamp.com/album/the-path-of-wrath

Prosthetic Records

Genre – Black Metal/Hardcore/Sludge/OSDM

I’m not usually into Hardcore (a few acts perhaps) but the mixture of styles on offer here is stunning. There’s limb- tapping groove as well as darkness not usually associated with (traditional) Hardcore. There are even occasional dips into DM vocal growl-ville. A slight dirge tone adds to the appeal of the chuggery while Progressive passages with dissonant values give this depth and a diverse nature one might not expect. The drum assault, variety in overall feel track by track, the willingness to meld genres and the addition of vocal accompaniments (one might not be ready for) give this a definite edge over the competition. Packed full of tracks to incite uncontrollable flailing and visage splitting Joker esque smirks this is an act and album one should keep close tabs upon.

91

Solus Ex Inferis (International) – Daemones Ceramici

Release- June 2021

https://solusexinferis.bandcamp.com/

Independent

Genre – Brutal Death/DM

This is what a likely mash up of Morbid Angel. Vital Remains, Kataklysm and Nile might sound like. Insanely fast, intricate, drums, maniacal guitar leads and rhythms which incite flocks of sinners wandering aimlessly the circles of Dante’s Hell. Grandiose and powerful yet also delicate and intricate, there’s a myriad of forces at work here. An archaic backbone aided by a multitude of ribs, in this instance various splintered melodies and a mastery of the fretboard manipulating dense atmospheres. If you can sit still as this audio thunders through the senses, I applaud you. A fantastic effort pooling talent from across the world and the Extreme Audio spectrum. And that art! Anyone else thinking John Carpenters “The Thing” to the Nth degree?

81

Gateway (Belgium) – Flesh Reborn EP

Release- May 2021

https://gatewaydeathdoom.bandcamp.com/album/flesh-reborn

Chaos Records

Genre – Death/Funeral Doom/Sludge

Like a malevolent wall of darkness this smothers the instant it connects. Unhurried, dense and wholly engulfing this offers nuance, diabolical twisting melodies, unforgiving bludgeoning qualities and conjures an overall feeling of hopelessness mired by an ever-approaching ominous threat. Carved by a single soul this is testament to the fact that one doesn’t need an entourage to fully animate a vision, no matter how overwhelmingly terrifying its nature.

85

Desolate Realm (Finland) – s/t

Release- April 2021

https://desolaterealm.bandcamp.com/album/desolate-realm

Independent

Genre – Traditional/Epic Doom/Heavy Metal

What separates this from typically Traditional Doom is (IMO) the vocal approach. Fitting more of a Viking (metal) style; the style is gruff, heavily accented though still bears elements which one would associate with the genre as well occasional issuances to perk the interest of fans of Kim Bendix Petersen (Google this folks!) In short, it’s a style you’ll either like, in time, instantly, or not in the slightest. Rhythms herein boast a remarkable fluidity, decidedly HM in tone with more than enough nods to Candlemass and Trouble to keep the flame of interest roaring. In short, difficult not to appreciate this is hooks in, familiar, melodious Doom with an ‘edge’. Admittedly this is growing on me much like a new puppy who occasionally pisses on the carpet.

85

Reaper (Sweden) – The Atonality of Flesh

Release- March 2021

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/reaper-the-atonality-of-flesh

Iron Bonehead Productions

Genre – Blackened Speed/Crust/D-beat/HM-2

Simply put this is South American styled Speed metal tainted by Heavy Metal sensibilities with a raw production edge accompanied by spittle flying Black Metal vocals. And. I’m. Loving. Every. Note. Damnable infectious, not wholly original but it doesn’t matter in the slightest as this hits that lust for raunchy riffs and d-beat and gets the limbs moving as if one’s tongue has been placed into an electrical socket. But let’s not forget the chilling this no festival is going to compete with this one/execution Introduction.

92

Void Vator (USA) Great Fear Rising

Release- April 2021

https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/great-fear-rising

Ripple Music

Genre – Hard Rock/Heavy Metal

A wicked hybrid of vintage Wolfsbane and Armored Saint. Don’t agree? I don’t care.

In essence there’s attitude, melody and more than enough infectious riffs here to fill that Void when (brutal) Metal just doesn’t cut it/fit the mood.

85

Eclipser (Canada) -Pages

Release – May 2021

https://eclipser.bandcamp.com/releases

Independent

Genre – Black/Death/Doom/Post Metal

Dissonant guitars clash against a dense accompaniment forming a sound that’s neither this, nor fully that; chaotic rhythms slathered in menace and boasting undeniable vicious intent, there’s no doubt this is perilously close to the boundaries of several realms and thus holds the appeal for a large audience. The vocals, again belonging to specifically no particular genre, add weight and cement the audios enjoyment. Don’t let the genre description turn you away this is a fantastic introduction to Eclipser. Here’s hoping for another release in the near future.

84

Human Vestige (Chile) – Sanguine Fringe

Release- May 2021

Independent

Genre – OSDM/DM

Mid-tempo with Thrash leanings and plentiful groove this is slightly reminiscent of Vomitory, Benediction, Unleashed and the like. Frenetic pace changes, driving drums, melodious passages and a vicious accented vocal approach make this extremely easy to “get into” (no “your mama” jokes please).

Nostalgic in part, with influence likely plucked from a slew of highly recognizable acts (boasting their ‘heyday’ a few decades in the past) this is a pleasing slab of metal sure to enlist those who are familiar to the style and those who merely enjoy quality DM with flow.

86

Destroyed in Seconds (USA) – Divide and Devour

Re-release (for Vinyl) – May 2021

https://destroyedinseconds.bandcamp.com/album/divide-and-devour

Deep Six Records

Genre – Hardcore/Crust/Dirge/D-beat

If the art doesn’t do it for ya, I’m not sure what to say. However, if it does and you’re intrigued upon the audio I’ve got a few words to share/help steer you in the right direction. Galloping rhythms, a driving drum tattoo accompanied by a twin pronged (gruff) vocal assault dripping in angst. If groove is your thing, it’s here in spades. Seriously, this sports criminally infectious melodies with the ability to turn any docile pit into a devastating cyclone. Recc for fans of WolfBrigade, Phobia, Discharge and Disrupt. This is workout music for those wishing to push themselves far beyond ‘the limit’, one could easily burst a myriad of blood vessels listening to this.

91

Demiser (USA) – Through the Gate Eternal

Release – March 2021

https://borisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/through-the-gate-eternal

Boris Records

Genre – Blackened Speed/Thrash/Heavy Metal

Once in a great while the mention of an album pops up, constantly. be it for one reason or another. In this case it’s the newest by Demiser (this album) and after roughly five seconds (some releases grab you immediately) I can tell why that’s the case. Melody, riffs, a style which seethes with an utter hatred for the safety of one’s vertebrae and the ability to meld the Old with the New school and traditional HM with an arena which is decidedly darker. In all honesty, I go into Reccs with a dubious nature, this dissipated after a few notes, as the album progressed the quality on offer only served to deepen my admiration and shorten the distance between my digit and the purchase button. If this doesn’t get mentioned enmass as the years climax approaches heads are gonna roll.

Score – 93

Craven Idol (United Kingdom) – Forked Tongues

Release – July 2021

https://cravenidol.bandcamp.com/music

(as of this posting the new album wasn’t represented)

Dark Descent Records

Genre – Death/Black/Speed Metal

Primitive production shrouds a style which is draped in Old School Blackened values. Diabolical riffage and a tone which puts one in mind of ritualistic, archaic, midnight shenanigans places the listener back twenty years or so to a time when melody, though usually apparent, wasn’t quite as important as the message and the attitude the band wished to convey. In this case Craven Idol’s style, though harkening to that which has gone before, is shot through with a grandiose nature paired with a straightforward approach as well boisterous veins of melody making for a listening experience which is bathed in evil, a raunchiness which is hard to ignore and an aura which in part is both retro nostalgic resurgence and new age Blackened Thrash/Speed.

Score – 81

Disadaptive (Russia) – With Worms to Feast

Release- Jan 2021

https://svanrenne.bandcamp.com/album/with-worms-to-feast

Svanrenne Music

Genre – OSDM/HM2/Dirge/Thrash

Some might deem this ‘meat and potatoes’ DM. It’s honestly not far off, with that being mentioned however there’s little doubt this has huge appeal for those with groove penchants. Vocals hint at an adoration for mid era Gorefest (lyrics are more decipherable than not) whilst the audio displays definite Thrash tendencies as well both leanings towards American and European DM stylings. Either way, this is a winner for those who prefer their DM a tad more traditional than experimental. Recc for fans of Vomitory, Jungle Rot, Asphyx, Unleashed, Bolt Thrower and Hail of Bullets.

82

Mephitic Grave (Hungary) – Into the Atrium of Inhuman Morbidity

Release- May 2021

https://carbonizedrecords.bandcamp.com/album/into-the-atrium-of-inhuman-morbidity

Carbonized Records

Genre – OSDM/DM/DeathDoom

As if the cover and album’s title doesn’t give this away, this bears a tone ripped straight from the 90’s. An aura drenched through in primeval sensibilities and menace. Complemented by everyone’s favorite type of vocals, the indecipherable kind, this showcases mid-tempo rhythms, dirge leanings and groove (a staggering amount, if truth be told, that which would make a Vinyl manufacturing plant envious). The result is a slab of audio which is remarkably good, even though the initial vocal introduction might not point towards such. This crawls along dragging nostalgia, and most everything any fan of the infancy of the scene adores, in tow. Admittedly, this doesn’t rely on originality to get its point across but rather familiarity. Mephitic Grave have given listeners a reason to delve back into the genre’s past (or for newbies to the scene a porthole, a snapshot, into which they should explore) whilst adding an element, a freshness of sorts, which packages their style (draped in undeniable homage) in utter consumability. Do not allow this to slip into obscurity!

91

Plucked Screamin’ from Metal Past

There’s a theme to the first two here. Based on my enjoyment of the newest Shadowkiller album I’ve decided to investigate, another by the band and another act with “ties”. The other is a Recc I’ve decided demands exploration (before I pounce upon the newest from the same act). And the last an album from 99′ which has caught my attention recently.

Shadowkiller (USA) – Slaves of Egypt

Release- September 2013

https://shadowkiller.bandcamp.com/album/slaves-of-egypt

Stormspell Records

Genre – Heavy/Epi/Speed/Thrash Metal

It took me a little while to get into this release if I’m to be honest. The rhythms are here, the, leads and solos show expert level musicianship. I’m led to believe it might be the vocalist, the drums in the mix, or the production overall? Has the vocalists style matured over time (it’s been seven years in between this and the album I fell ass over tits for), has the mix been tightened somewhat, has the style changed, the production and/or mastering been handled by someone else? I’m not entirely sure. Either way this didn’t grab me as much as their newer ‘style’.

Not at all horrid, or shabby, or even second rate, this just isn’t for me.

74

Ancient Empire (USA) – Eternal Soldier

Release- July 2018

https://ancientempire.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-soldier

Independent

Genre – Power/Heavy/Thrash Metal

Now, this grabbed me from the first note. Melodic, fluid and it appears the vocal style has “matured” some. Each and every track is killer (there’s no filler here folks). The production gives the music the required oomph and this is far from traditional ‘singing/falsetto realms. This is HM I don’t have to be in a certain mood to consume/fully appreciate. And to think there’s a more recent effort in their discography makes me smile all the more wickedly.

93

(RECC by LFCMFighter on Twitter)

Temple of Dread (Germany) – World Sacrifice

Release – July 2020

https://testimonyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/temple-of-dread-world-sacrifice

Testimony Records

Genre – OSDM/Thrash/DeathMetal

It’s takes but a full minute to decipher this bands influences. And they wear them openly, on their sleeve. The vocal style and a great deal of the rhythms are guaranteed to excite those who prefer early Schuldiner/Death output (before the Progressive elements took ahold) and although Obituary and Morgoth influence creeps in (there’s a brilliant Morgoth cover here) there’s little doubt these guys worship at the altar of Death although thankfully not to the point of outright plagiarism. Riffs are often intricate, swift and amazingly stray from “I’ve heard that before” realms. And there’s an undeniable fluidity here which is rare in the genre and oh so easy to instantly appreciate. In short, if the aforementioned acts are on constant repeat (as well Gruesome. Duh!) on your audio equipment this demands the VIP treatment/an invitation to join in on the party. As an introduction to what the band offer this is stellar audio, and it leaves one more than intrigued as to the new release dropping very soon (July) via Testimony Records.

92

Cirith Gorgor (The Netherlands) – Onwards to the Spectral Defile

Release – July 1999

https://cirithgorgor.bandcamp.com/album/onwards-to-the-spectral-defile

Osmose Productions

Genre – Black/Thrash Metal

Vicious vocals and hellfire rhythms. In short that’s about it. But let’s not forget the staggering atmosphere this album provides, a diverse vocal accompaniment, as well the infectious ‘ripping the God’s from their lofty perches in the heavens’ swift melodies. A style which is somewhat akin in style to The Abyss (The BM side project of Hypocrisy) and Totenwache (both of which are BM titans in my book). Intriguingly there are also smattering of (tuetonic) Thrash on offer here, rhythms which are melting flesh quick though basted in menace and nuance. In conclusion, this is a BM album which demands attention and to think it’s over twenty years old now. Have no fear though, it still stands strong amidst the current cavalcade of output within the same arena.

Score – 91

Bang the Fn’ drum like an Animal

And that brings another Abrasive Audio installment to a close. And perhaps it wasn’t quite as ‘Turbo’ as I intended, but I tried! Is it that obvious that I got carried away? And why wouldn’t I? The universe of Metal is a fascinating place to explore. I do so hope you’ve enjoyed our short time together as we’ve plummeted down yet another extreme audio rabbit hole.

Until next time (to use Cults words) “Don’t fear that which is normally foreign to the senses”.

I’m out,

B

Hold the Presses. Here’s a Last-minute addition…

Plucked from Metal Past

Conceived by Hate (El Salvador) – Putrid Realms of the Occult

Release – May 2020

https://morbidskull.bandcamp.com/album/putrid-realms-of-the-occult-2020

Satanath Records/Morbid Skull Records

Genre – OSDM/Crust/D-beat/Black/Death Metal

All packed up and ready to go? Not quite.

I happened to slap this in my ear holes, within seconds my hands started to twitch. It was demanded that I scribble a little something upon this; and not only because the act is from a location where extreme audio output is unheard of. Well, that’s about to change!

If it’s not the filth fuzz distortion styled tone, it’s the vicious all-out rabid vox attack. If not that then the rhythms, so damnably infectious that I dare your limbs not to move. This about has it all; a variety of pace, enough groove to send a vinyl warehouse into fits of the ‘jelly’, an attitude which dares one to place this under either ‘Death’ or ‘Black’ without regret an aura which worships at the altar of the Old School and a fluidity and composition that seethes with utter confidence. Questions remain however, how did I miss this (last year), why wasn’t this atop a multitude of year end lists? Why has no one Reccd this recently? Honestly, I have zero clue. This demands respect, praise, but more importantly with a single release the act have managed to shine a blinding light upon a region which warrants attention. Support the group, purchase this, praise it and let’s hope another is released bearing similar stellar quality.

Score – 94

Another Dollar Store Movie Marathon

Another Dollar Store Movie Marathon

April 2021 – hey, it’s late again!)

 Yes, it’s about that time again. There’s little doubt the wonderful world of dollar store movies is a glorious place to explore. Naturally much like any celluloid arena there’s the bad, the atrocious, the bearable and in this instance the I-can’t-believe-I-just-bought-that-for-a-single-dollar. What say we dive into the diverse cinematic realms on offer?

Abduction (China) 2019

Writer – Mike MacLean

Director – Ernie Barbarash

Running Time – (two versions on same disc)

(Producers Cut) 98 minutes

(Directors Cut) 106 minutes

Genre – Humor/Crime/Martial Arts/Thriller/Sci-fi

The following thoughts are based on the longer cut*

Arachnid implants, confusion, kicks to the face, diamonds, aliens, the essence of Chi and otherworldly dimensions. It really isn’t all that confusing, this is rather mindless entertainment. Sure, this isn’t going to win any Oscars; based on its story, acting or direction, but it more than suffices for a perfectly good waste of close to two hours.

Trailer courtesy of Scott Adkins

Did I mention it has plenty of green glowing thingies, Scott Adkins, and inter- dimensional portals? It has more to offer but bear in mind that it’s mindless entertainment and you’ll have fun.

7.5

Rise of the Zombies (USA) 2012

Writer – Keith Allen, Delondra Mesa

Director – Nick Lyon

Running Time – 90 minutes

Genre – Horror/Dark Humor/Zombies

Danny Trejo and the Undead. How can I resist? It’s understandably quite difficult, I can assure you. Under closer inspection however one spies “The Asylum” label and their excitement understandably drops. But, what the hey, I’ll take-over for the team.

Onward…

Less than a minute in and there’s a Royal Rumble featuring horrid acting, deplorable green screen utilization and atrocious CGI all battling for the coveted king of the hill title. On the plus side there’s plenty of flesh hungry “gut munchers” on hand who meet particularly nasty ends (even this early on). Then there’s La Var (Georgi La Forge; Star Trek) Burton and Mariel Hemmingway (Superman IV; The Quest for Peace). In fact, there’s a few familiar faces and plenty of guts. Perhaps this film isn’t too bad after all? I guess it all depends on your tolerance levels.

Trailer courtesy of A Little Dead Podcast

Can Zombies smile, fight, surf, swim, do taxes, act, write a film with dialogue better than this? Probably, though perhaps one or two of the somewhat passably? Well, there’s a ton of elements within this film which could be better, you don’t need a list, do you? Though surprisingly it’s fun, fast paced and considerably better than I thought it was going to be. Not the finest the genre has to offer by any means but for those who prefer the genre above all others it’s a movie which should be featured on the ‘to be watched’ list.

6.5

The Peacekeeper (USA) 1997

Writers – Stewart Harding, Robert Geoffrion, Kevin Bernhardt,  Dan Mirvish

Director- Frédéric Forestier

Running Time- 99 minutes

Genre – Thriller/Action/Crime

Dolph delights from the opening scene. This is an instance where the writing, his humor, the films characters, interactions and the films pace ‘clicks. Naturally, a few of the scenarios are ‘slightly off’ but when you accept that this is mindless celluloid enjoyment, chock full of baddies, one-liners, and the all too classic terrorist’s intent on running everyone’s breakfast plans, you can rest a little easier in the rush to scribble any complaints. As far as 90’s movies go this is up there with “Die Hard” (in my opinion anyway), it’s easy to enjoy, full of action, has a plot even my youngest can comprehend and boasts directorial abilities which warrant preaching to any fan of action classics from a bygone era.

Trailer courtesy of Max Blade

Fun fact, this features Roy Schieder (apparently on the sharks chowing on fishermen off season) and Montel Williams (The Talk Show host) as a gun-toting US officer with a penchant for crawling around in air ducts that even Bruce Willis could appreciate.

8

Indigenous (USA) 2014

Writer – Max Roberts

Director – Alastair Orr

Runtime – 86 minutes

Genre – Horror/Adventure

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Five (youthful, well-to-do, good-looking) friends meet up at an exotic locale for sand, booze and various other activities to take their mind from their otherwise mundane existence. Blah, blah, blah… they become friendly with some locals and decide, against numerous indications to do otherwise, to venture deep into the wilderness, in this instance the Panamanian Jungle.

So, is this set to be a cross between “Ruins” and “Descent” or more like “Touristas” (mixed with “Wrong Turn”)? Or even “Cannibal Holocaust” mashed up with “Lord of the Rings”? As if.

Trailer courtesy of Movieclips indie

I’m not gonna ruin it. Suffice it to mention that not all of the cast will be missed, and it’s undoubtable that a large portion of the audience will be yelling at the screen in frustration several times during the movie’s duration.

There’s a moral to this story, but I’m not about to spell it out for those unable to see it clear as day.

Watch this in the dark, alone, for maximum effect.

7

Hostage X (Croatia) 2017

Director – Paul Ruven

Writer -Marc Gaspercic

Running Time – 78 minutes

Genre – Thriller

A man is held hostage. Suffering from amnesia he does not know the reason why. When he manages to secure a phone from one of his captors his survival depends on his convincing the agent on the other line that he is in fact American.

This one is a little slow and with 95% of its running length spend inside a barn there’s little to get excited about. In fact, the films finest scenes include a sandwich, a shotgun and a goat’s arsehole. You can make of that what you can though I’m sure your version is infinity more exciting than what’s on offer here. Croatian hip hop in the background mutes most of the important audio and the twists, when they do arrive, are rather unexciting.

Trailer courtesy of Stephanie Joosten

This in no way lives up to the hype the cover art promises. Nevertheless, if you wish to dust up on your European kidnapper etiquette, language skills and a few choice curses this might be a decent enough place to start.

3.5

The Connection (France) 2014

Writers – Audrey Diwan, Cèdric Jimenez

Director – Cedric Jimenez

Running Time- 136 minutes

Genre – (Subtitled) Crime/Gangster/Drama

Set in the seventies this depicts Crime Lords in Marseille and the teams assigned to stop them. Brutal and merciful there’s really nothing the criminal elite won’t stoop to to keep the cash flowing.

Effectively showcasing corruption, political agendas, and the stranglehold of procedures the ‘good guys’ must abide by in order to bring down organized crime this puts one in mind of Casino, Scarface and the better-known cinematic epics within the same genre. Overflowing with strong portrayals, suspense, relatable writing and picturesque scenery this is a feature which is difficult to tear oneself away from. Classic in its aura and seething with believability this benefits immensely from its excellent utilization of attention to detail, nostalgic sets, equipment, attitudes, and ‘costume’.

Trailer courtesy of FilmisNow movie Trailers

For all who are willing to read whilst watching (or those who can comprehend French), those who enjoy cinema with ‘build’, human interaction/camaraderie, a feature with a story which isn’t too far-fetched and a spot of barbarity this is a fantastic place to set the eyes.

8

Bill (UK) 2015

Writers – Laurence Richard, Ben Willbond

Director – Richard Bracewell

Running Time – 94 minutes

Genre – Humor/Period Drama

Puns, pubs, funny wigs, dresses, and dry humor. Fans of Blackadder and Monty Python will enjoy this.

King Phillip II and Queen Elizabeth are at each other’s throats and William Shakespeare isn’t even a name (quite yet).

British customs, Catholics as well as a myriad of other things most people don’t think about are explored, made fun of and roasted. Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea or fish and chips but for those who enjoy the occasional bum joke and conversational silliness this will most probably make you dirty your britches perhaps even split your corset?

Trailer courtesy of Koch Media Films

“…Strapping lads, like my sons would have been (if it not for the plague)”.

“…enter our hero. Blah, blah, blah… Writing is hard!”

8.5

Deadsight (Canada) 2018

Writer – Liv Collins, Kevin Revie

Director – Jesse Thomas Cook

Running Time – 82 minutes

Genre – Horror/Zombies

Imagine being sight impaired (to the point of being completely blind). Add to this the possibility of waking up in an abandoned ambulance in the middle of nowhere. Then compound the premise with the addition of various shambling types intent of rendering your limbs from your torso and the flesh from your bones.

This sounds terrifying. But how does this film tackle the premise? Well, the tension is certainly present throughout with fantastic builds. Admittedly the undead are few and far between and they’re an assorted bunch ranging from the athletic “28 Days Later” type to the more relaxed Romero variety. Attention to detail is pristine with applaudable acting aiding the viewers experience, a descent into a small community ravaged by an outbreak of unknown origins.

Trailer courtesy of Movie Trailers Source

Better than most this is a surprisingly entertaining, though in instances a rather slow, entry into a genre which by all rights should be thoroughly exhausted and utterly lifeless at this juncture.

7.5

Scorched Earth (Canada/USA) 2016

Writers – Bobby Mort, Kevin Leeson

Director – Peter Howitt

Running Time – 96 minutes

Genre – Dystopian/Thriller/Western

An end of times thriller featuring a different take from the norm. And it’s refreshing. Silver and water purifying tabs over gasoline; genius. And need I mention Gina Carano? Beautiful and an underrated actress (former MMA combatant) who isn’t afraid to speak her mind even if it doesn’t conform to that which people prefer to hear (gotta love that).

And in ‘Scorched Earth” there are… no zombies. With that in mind however, the premise is one which isn’t entirely ground-breaking, a return to the Old West ways featuring outlaws, bounty hunters and vigilante justice (but why does everyone look like Bane).

Trailer courtesy of new Trailer Buzz

This offers a view which is different than what the cover might suggest (depending on the audience) and a viewing experience which was hugely entertaining based on a blind purchase (aka zero recommendations).

8

Truth or Dare (USA) 2017

Writers – Thommy Hutson and Ethan Lawrence

Director – Nick Simon

Running Time – 89 minutes

Genre – Horror

And… here’s another film with the “Truth or Dare” moniker. Eight teenagers decide to spend the night in a ‘haunted house’ with a lurid history. One has an idea to start a business but first he requires to see for himself that the house in question is in fact ‘haunted ‘.

Eight teens, a mansion, alcohol, a clock with an alarmingly loud chime, a pissed off spirit and you guessed it… a little game of ‘Truth or Dare’ (“…but keep it clean, ok boys?”)

Trailer coirtesy of cinetel Films

Ten minutes in and I’m to the point where I’m just waiting for the ‘contestants’ to perish in horrific ways. Annoying teens, bad acting and an aura which requires a gathering, alcohol and merriment to fully appreciate. This isn’t a totally horrid movie; it has a few moments (the tooth- pulling scene and the bloody living body part chopping climax is memorable) but is largely predictable and in part reminiscent of the Final Destination films.

6

No One Lives (USA/UK) 2012

Writer – David Cohen

Director – Ryûhei Kitamura

Running Time – 87 minutes

Genre – Horror/Thriller/Grindhouse

And this one ‘switches tracks’ damn quick. Right from the get- go this seethes with a palpable, ominous, atmosphere and a collective of entrepreneurs (the leader of which looks like a love child spawned from the loins of Phil Collins and that fellow from “SVU” and “Happy!”) who are definitely up to no good. When the two cross paths… well I’m not the spoiler giving type. Suffice it to say blood will be spilled (a handful of early scenes have me sold with zero reservations) and ferociously wicked dormant physches unleashed.

Trailer courtesy of @Hollywood

Need a film to leave a scar and leave you eager to praise its brilliance? This has Cult Classic written all over it! Fun fact the director us also responsible for “Versus”, “Azumi” and “The Midnight Meat Train”. Seriously, do you need any more reason to lay eyes upon this? Do it at your earliest convenience.

10

Headshot (Indonesia) – 2016

Writer – Timo Tjahjanto

Directors – Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel

Running Time – 119 minutes

Genre – (Subtitled) Thriller/Martial Arts.

Just Fkn wow!

Iko Uwais (Raid, Raid Redemption, Skyline 2) awakens on a beach with a head wound. He is determined to find out why and who he is, but there are those determined to stop his memories from resurfacing at all costs. For those who like their action celluloid brutal this fits the bill; be it bullet showers, feet to the face or swinging machetes. This is splattered in crimson and broken bones. To top it off this is surprisingly well-constructed, sports excellent choreography, unpredictable (often dizzying) camera approaches and bears a certain panache one might not expect.

Trailer courtesy of New trailer Buzz

Be prepared for the heart rate to spike, for this delivers! In short, a view worth every one of the hundred pennies I spent. I honestly cannot scribble enough praise for this and to think I only spent a single dollar in order to add this to my collection.

10

And that’s it, lest I get carried away and take this into even deeper diatribe waters.

Feel free to leave a comment, like, share or laugh hysterically at my grammar.

Until next my words flash across your retinas,

Cult