Dollar Store Movie Marathon (September 2021)

And, here we are yet again. The wonderfully diverse world of Dollar Store cinema beckons and I’m here, face plastered with a maniacal grin, to answer.

What say we dive right in?


(USA) 2014

Writers – Jerry Corley, Rob Rose and Joe Carnahan

Director- Joe Carnahan

Genre – Action/Dark Comedy

Runtime – 95 minutes

Showcasing the daily antics of a Limo driver and the everyday strangeness of LA “Stretch” delivers both the “funnies” and quirkiness fans of ‘fire in the pants’ cinema (whatever that is?!) demand.

Featuring Patrick Wilson (in a career defining role) and several other surprise actors (one might not expect to find herein) combine to drive the action, situations and predicaments into often bizzarroville but more often the Underworld …”running errands for a madman”. Seeing the phantom of a recently deceased Limo superstar (Ed Helms) makes Stretch (the driver, Wilson, who has the same moniker as the movie itself) only that much closer to caressing the barrel of a .45 with his mouth. But somehow, he resists the temptation and finds himself knee deep in a night steeped in illegal activity, a party (which puts “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to shame) with no real destination/location and the procurement of a multitude of brightly colored buttplugs. Wilson makes friends along the way, raises a few hackles, and even settles the score with a ‘green loving’ ex. But will he somehow, someway, manage to raise enough funds to sate his bookie, or will he find that his height becomes dramatically diminished and his need for shoes no longer an issue? I’m not here to ruin things, or even provide more spoilers than the box art sports. I will however state that “Stretch” has a great deal going for it. A narrative to tickle the funny bone and an attitude which many of us can relate to, but perhaps not the smile which accompanies the handing over of the previously mentioned oddly shaped silicone novelty items.

Stretch trailer courtesy of Movieclips Trailers

Either way you slice it, “Stretch” will cause a few smirks, even a laugh out loud moment or two and there’s quotes a plenty (but only for those who care not for the repercussions of spouting such). But let us not forget the window it provides us to peer into the surreal nature which is the nightlife of LA. Give this a peek, I’ve had it on my shelf for ages, collecting dust, don’t be like me, give this one the respect it deserves!

As if it needs mentioning the director of this is also responsible for “Smokin’ Aces”, “The A-Team” and “Boss Level” (which I’m especially excited to lay eyes upon). This is, I’m pleased to mention, as equally as entertaining as the former two. I’ll have to report on the latter when I finally get around to laying senses upon it.


Original Gangster

(UK) 2020

Writer/Director – Savvas D Michael

Genre – Comedy/Drama/Action

Runtime – 110 minutes

This film chronicles the life of an orphan. Saved by an assassin (Milo, portrayed by Ian Redington of “Highlander” fame) said orphan, Castor played by Alex Mills, finds his way as a homeless criminal within the shadow of night. An abrupt reacquaintance with his savior drags him deeper into the Underworld, a realm fueled by the bizarre antics and generosity of Jean Baptiste-Phillipe (Steve Gutenberg). However, Milo isn’t all that, the grown, Castor had hoped and his world soon changes (again).

With a vibe which brings to mind “Lock Stock…”, “Snatch” and a slew of other (non-Guy Ritchie) London based ‘Gangster’ flicks draped in dark humor this provides the viewer with a window into the city’s seedy underbelly. Although at times this tends to drag, doesn’t offer the action quotient that one might assume and often veers slightly where one might not expect, it still provides snippets of dazzling dialogue (a standout scene bears a video game score and vibe which works rather well) and Mr. Gutenberg in a role which he appears to have a great deal of fun with.

The Original Gangster is well worth a watch, though is especially recommended for those who prefer the ‘slow burn’ and physiological approach as opposed to all-out crimson spraying shoot-em ups.


In the Name of the King: Two Worlds (Germany/Canada) 2011

Writer – Michael Nachoff

Director – Uwe Boll

Genre – Fantasy/Action/Humor

Runtime – 96 minutes

From the mind behind “Seed” and “Postal” (two films bearing controversy and very little similarities) and numerous other rather questionable cinematic efforts (including the 1980 “Nasty” Boogeyman) comes the follow up to the 2007 ‘original’ but who really believed this would turn into a series of films…? “In the Name of the King; A Dungeon Siege Tale” is a huge budget affair bolstered by such names as Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta. Burt Reynolds and Kristianna Løken, and is perhaps the largest bankroll Uwe Boll (yes, I’m surprised he directed the first in this series also) has ever had the pleasure to splash upon a film. The question lingers however; how does this fare?

Well, there’s enough bad acting and horrendous dialogue on offer to turn off most. However, for those who remain this provides enough clashing swords, fisticuffs, treachery and European beauties to hold the attention. The occasional SNAFU (cars sighted around the edges of a medieval castle), hilarious dialogue and bugger all consideration for the way in which even the slightest misstep could affect everything in the future make this an entertaining watch. Then there’s Dolph. My adoration of his talent has recently grown like a fungus. (Seriously, if you’ve yet to see ‘Don’t Kill it” do so at your earliest convenience.) I’m pleased to say he’s having fun with this role and it shows. His handling of a prophecy, in which he is a huge part and of which he cannot fathom many details, is priceless.

Trailer courtesy of Karsten Klabautermann

Did I fail to mention there’s a beast in the ‘haunted forest’? As Mr. Lundgren puts it “…and the bitch; I’m being chased by a dragon”. Then there’s the soundtrack. Befitting of any epic medieval RPG ‘worth its salt’ (whatever that means?) it adds weight to a film which is a damn sight better than I expected. If fantasy is your bag, you have a soft spot for Dolph and want to be pleasantly surprised give this a peek.

I honestly can’t believe this was masterminded by the same person responsible for “Blubberella”, “Bloodrayne” and “House of the Dead” (apparently, he has a penchant for transforming video games into movies?)


Nightshift (aka Killer Night Shift)

(Ireland) 2018

Writer/Director- Stephen Hall

Genre – Horror

Runtime – 81 minutes

Based in Limerick, Ireland, Nightshift chronicles the busy lifestyle of Amy. Raised in the US, Amy somehow finds herself in Ireland as a student starting a new job in a hotel with ‘a past’. As well dealing with a different culture/city, a familiar (yet different) language and all the pleasures a new job brings, Amy has her own idiosyncrasies… and a conscience. An element which might, or might not hinder her first night, her overall progress and her mental state.

Sprinkled with dark comedy (provided courtesy of the dry wit of Adam, Matthew O’Brien) and an ominous nature, which builds as the morning slowly wears on, Nightshift effectively showcases the behind-the-scenes duties of a hotel, the demands of working a graveyard shift and juggling both a job and college studies. Not to mention the wavering anxiety levels of the person in the aforementioned ‘position’.  However, that’s not all this provides. An effective soundtrack, excellently crafted atmosphere, a clever time loop aspect and top-notch performances aided by fantastic direction take this to another level. Plentiful crimson, brutal kills and an applaudable pace make this work. A spiraling descent into WTF depths and the way in which it’s captured is a fantastic touch. Overall a fantastic genre entry with a few qualms, the largest of which being Amy’s (an American visitor) use of the word “Lift” rather than “Elevator”; a moniker she would obviously grasp onto because of familiarity (it being an American term) in a time of heightened stress.

Trailer courtesy of Rapid Trailer

Experience thus at the next given opportunity. With a quality such as this on offer I’m expecting to see the name Stephen Hall discussed a lot more in the near future!


In Order of Disappearance

(Aka Kraftidioten)

(Norway) 2014

Writer – Kim Fupz Aakeson and Finn Gjerdrum

Director – Hans Peter Moland

Genre – Action/Drama/Crime/Dark Humor

Runtime – 116 minutes

I’ve been meaning to check this out for a while. I found it, amazingly, nestled in my local Dollar Store (thus its inclusion here), it’s truly as if its inclusion here was meant to be. The film’s story has been tackled many a time before so this doesn’t garner many points for originality. However, this matters not. From the opening scene it somehow manages to captivate with it’s in the middle of nowheresville, small town, ultra-relateable aura. Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård) is a plow operator. He’s a humble man who literally enables the whole town to function by way of seemingly religious pursuit of clearing the only road in and out. Although he’s been recently celebrated, many take him for granted and pass him off as merely a harmless ‘custodian’. When he hears of his son passing it’s truly as if a long-buried element rises to the surface. Herein lies one of many beautiful facets of this film. I.O.o.D. (a quite obvious abr.) boasts a slow pace and a stylish nature rather than an all-out balls-exploding-upon-the-wall (whatever that means) bullets bouncing into building piles upon the dirt approach. And to say there’s numerous WTF moments is a gross understatement. Typical of my scribbling upon a varied array of celluloid efforts I’ll stray from providing spoilers though I will pleasingly state that this bears a myriad of influence (including works by Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie and most obviously the film “Fargo” which I’m not the first, and most probably not the last, in noticing) in its construction. Back stories are woven delicately and dialogue exchanges are priceless.

Trailer courtesy of Metrodome Film

In short, for a feature which is largely ignored (a great deal more attention needs to be paid to foreign market output) this shines from an unexpected level of brutality, stellar writing which showcases attention to detail, fantastic performances, exquisite directing and plentiful nuance. A combination which undoubtedly demands significantly more attention than it’s currently receiving. As a side note, this comes with both subtitles and English dubbing (as it standard with such expect variations in regards to dialogue exchanges/reconstituted translations.


Alien; Reign of Man

(USA) 2017

Writer/Director – Justin Price

Genre – Sci-fi

Runtime – 85 minutes

This is a low-budget affair. Of that there’s little doubt. However, the sets and effects on offer lead one to believe there’s great things in store for the creative team responsible. And although this suffers from significantly more ‘talky bits’ than action it still manages to deliver for those viewers who have little trouble in concentrating, those who find odd satisfaction in piecing together puzzles.

Trailer courtesy of New Trailer Buzz

Creativity and passion rule supreme in this celluloid effort, the acting isn’t horrid and the soundtrack adds nicely to the ambience. Admittedly this isn’t for those whose penchants include the newest Marvel opuses or those who greedily devour the most recent high-budget actioneers sporting the hottest stars, but rather an audience whose retinas frequently consume science fiction and fantasy serials which boast an on-air lifespan which is often fleeting at best.


And that’s about it, folks. One might have noticed this is a little more detailed than most other Dollar Store entries, I’ll attribute this to ‘finding my feet’ following a cross country relocation and the slow adaption to a brand spanking new, foreign work, schedule.

Feel free to send me your thoughts, comments or suggestions.

Your Slave to cinema obscure, odd, and often forgotten,


Abrasive Audio – Turbo Edition – August 2021

Hi Folks, I endeavor to keep this short. A quick run down on notable releases from a single listen standpoint.
New headings, which are self explanatory- less inane chat.

Here’s a quick explanation;
Brutality – well that’s obvious!
Groove – how much does this make you wanna ‘move’, even if you’re trying hard not to.
Melody – is it consumable to those who abhor noise?
Abrasiveness – could you use this audio to keep an invading horde of door thumping Bible bashers at bay?
Progressive Nature – does it twist and turn incorporating any number of diverse elements for any prolonged periods of time?
Technicality – Among the albums many elements does it proudly sport its members abilities to play stunning compositions, often at warp speed and in a manner so tight that a ducks arse would be jelly?
Ominous Nature – Does this make you want to grab your comfort blanket and head for the light switch?
Replayability – does it offer nuance enough to make one want to come back for more?
And finally a Score and a mention of the track which really did it for me to represent my ultimate thoughts to top things off.

Pray you Prey (UK) – The Omega Kill

Release – August 2021
Genre – Grindcore/Crust/Brutal/OSDM
Brutality – 8
Groove – 8
Melody – 7
Abrasiveness – 6
Progressive Nature – 3
Technicality – 6
Ominous Nature – 5
Replayability – 8
Fave Track – Hidden in Plain Sight
I wanted this one to be great as it originates a few miles from where I originally hail. And, I’m glad to state, it didn’t disappoint. A little punk, a lot Grindcore with plenty of vicious intent driving riffs topped with a fantastic drum presence and Old School vocals draped in pleasing nostalgia. Fans of early Barney headed Napalm Death will eagerly lap this up! Give it a chance.
Score – 78

Nightpröwler (Equador) – Rock n Roll Uproarious Blasphemy

Release – August 2021
Genre – Blackened Speed/Heavy Metal/D-Beat
Brutality – 5
Groove – 8
Melody – 7
Abrasiveness – 4
Progressive Nature – 2
Technicality – 4
Ominous Nature – 4
Replayability – 8
Fave Track- The Man Who Holds the Ace
More than obvious influence here, especially in the opening tracks. Think Venom and Motorhead (it’s not hard) add a splash of South American flavor, a dash of vintage Bathory and a huge helping of don’t give an F about trends attitude. This is timeless speed metal which could very well have been plucked from the 80’s boasting the same damnable infectious appeal.
Score – 83

Mother of All (Denmark) – Age of the Solipsist

Release- June 2021
Genre – Melodic Death/Thrash/Hardcore
Brutality – 6
Groove – 6
Melody – 7
Abrasiveness – 5
Progressive Nature – 5
Technicality – 4
Ominous Nature – 4
Replayability – 5
Fave Track – Blood Still Owed
Plentiful hooks and rhythms in this album, along with abrasive all-out vocals. The drum sound in the mix is a fantastic plus, providing oomph and the undeniable added impetus to get the listener up and on their feet. The final track lends the album a Progressive edge, nodding to their ability to mix things up with perhaps offer more of the same in the future?
Score – 76

Disembodiment (Canada) – Mutated Chaos

Release – May 2021
Genre – Old School Death/DeathDoom/Crust
Brutality – 8
Groove – 8.5
Melody – 5.5
Abrasiveness – 6
Progressive Nature – 4
Technicality – 5
Ominous Nature  – 7.5
Replayability – 7.5
Fave Track – Transcendent Upheaval of Unholy Graves
Seemingly yanked from the finest Subterranean depths of the 90’s (death scene) this somewhat appears to be a hybrid of vintage Obituary and vintage Master though slathered in a delectable primordial filth which will delight those stuck in an ‘everything seems to sound similar’ rutt.
Score – 83

Drawn and Quartered (USA) – Congregation Pestilence

Release – July 2021
Genre – Brutal/Tech Death
Brutality – 8
Groove – 6
Melody – 6
Abrasiveness – 6
Progressive Nature – 6
Technicality – 8
Ominous Nature – 9
Replayability – 8
Fave Track – Dispensation (Rise of the Antichrist)
Just when you thought DnQ could not get any better along comes their latest twisted opus. Incorporating brutal salvos, hellish atmosphere and fretboard manipulations with the ability to invoke the most ferocious demonic entity one could imagine this winds its way through the winding, wonderous waterparks of the underworld bringing to mind a slew of possible influence including the most deranged Morbid Angel compositions, the unpredictable qualities Incantation frequently boast and yet a slew of other elements wholly incomprehensible to those whose listening habits rarely touch upon the darkest of extreme audio arena. More surprising yet is that this is far removed from their last effort though still definitely compositions bearing DnQ trademarked qualities. And as chaotic and diabolic and it is I’m glad to report this refrains from diving deep into wizardry realms which might serve to alienate those whose tastes cling to the melodic as opposed to the ultra technical wherein one might require several experiences to even slightly comprehend. In short, this is great. In fact it’s bloody brilliant. I’m left pondering however, how tbis might be topped, will it be conquered? Is this DnQ’s finest hour? Or will the next in serve to also amaze?
Shove this in your audio orifices!
Score – 92

Fell Harvest (USA) – Pale Light in a Dying World

Release – July 2021
Genre – DeathDoom/Funeral Doom/Traditional Doom/Folk
Brutality- 6
Groove – 7
Melody – 8
Abrasiveness – 3
Progressive Nature – 6
Technicality – 5
Ominous Nature – 7
Replayability – 8
Fave Track – Thy Barren Fields
Somewhere between My Dying Bride, “Shades of God”/”Icon” era Paradise Lost and grandiose Novembers Doom audio is where the style of this resides. Huge sweeping riffs, buckets of melody, epic tracks and crushing rhythms. Surprising moments bursting with varied genre influences keep this lively and serve to perk the attention. Experience this with a ‘leafy’ accompaniment to ease the pain of everyday existence.
Score – 87

1000 Bone Cylinder Explosion (USA) – Bind

Release – October 2021
Genre – Black/Death/Thrash/Grindcore/Sludge/Industrial
Brutality – 8
Groove – 6
Melody – 5
Abrasiveness- 7
Progressive Nature – 6
Technicality – 6
Ominous Nature – 5
Replayability – 8
Fave Track – Continue
Unfiltered, primal and more often than not raw. There’s no arguing that this is an outlet for an avalanche of emotion. Another facet of this is that the creator(s) held nothing back when it came to creativity, there’s a huge F-you to genre conformity but it works; think Strapping Young Lad, a dash of Faith no More, slathered across a minefield laid, much like a blanket of destruction, upon a smorgasbord, a veritable cornucopia, of extreme audio (for example “Ice Cream” has a riff which will please fans of Cheech and Chong whereas other tracks offer tranquil acoustic instances which often build to wicked crescendos). Unpredictable, but yet wholly consumable. The cover doesn’t offer any hints as to the audio proving the obvious adage; Don’t judge a book (in this case an albu.) by its cover. Take this for a spin and be prepared for like a spurned typhon it will whip you one way and in the next instant fold your twitching torso into a completely opposite direction. This might well be the sleeper of the year. Expect a multitude of praise leading up to this albums release.
Score – 88

Vaelmyst (USA) – Secrypts of the Egochasm

Release – August 2021
Genre – Black/Speed/Thrash/Heavy Metal
Brutality – 6
Groove – 7
Melody – 8
Abrasiveness  – 5
Progressive Nature  – 6
Technicality – 6
Ominous Nature – 6
Replayability  – 8
Face Track – Spineless Throne
Sporting a glorious array of styles and passionate flow this excites throughout whilst offering influence spanning the Metal spectrum in instances as far afield as Dissection and Dokken and often in the same track! This album will be stuck on repeat!
Score – 92

Amnessia Eterna (Chile) – Malditos

Release – July 2021
Genre – Speed/Heavy Metal/Thrash
Brutality – 6
Groove – 7
Melody – 8
Abrasiveness – 5
Progressive Nature – 4
Technicality – 5
Ominous Nature – 4
Replayability – 8
Fave Track – Falso Predicador
Packed with a style (and tone) which will toss listeners back to the vintage days of Metallica, Megadeth and Annihilator with plentiful passages akin to Testament, Overkill and swifter paced Iron Maiden and occasion audio nodding toward prominent Proto-Rock outfits. Added to with a healthy dose of Latin flavor this is sure to delight a wide swath of fans, both journeymen and newbies alike. This album showcases the polishing of several years hard work with a smorgasbord of influence loud and crystal clear. Recommended for traditional Thrash fans this will hit the spot and satisfy, just don’t expect audio of the variety to break any unexplored territories within the genre.
Score – 83

Headshrinker (USA) – Callous Indifference

Release – August 2021
Genre – Grindcore/Tech/Grinding/Dissonant/Death
Brutality – 8
Groove – 8
Melody – 6
Abrasiveness – 5
Progressive Nature – 5
Technicality  – 7
Ominous Nature  – 6
Replayability  – 8
Fave Track(s) – Wretched Soul/Haunted by Your Reflection
Crunchy yet groove-laden, with a surprising offering of pace and emotion and carved out by a ‘supergroup’ of sorts, this album hits hard, smothers the senses and in record time. Much like being pummeled by a bag of broken concrete the imprint this causes lasts, though unlike being caressed by a not too loving hand by said flexible yet sturdy container of refurbished solid sand this is an experience one will want to sit through again and again. 
Score – 89

Virial (Italy) – Transhumanism

Release – September 2021
Genre – Brutal/Tech/Progressive/Melodic Death
Brutality – 7
Groove – 7
Melody – 8
Abrasiveness – 6
Progressive Nature – 6
Technicality – 7
Ominous Nature – 6
Replayability – 9
Fave Track – Aurelia III – Realignment
This is the first I’ve laid ears upon Virial and I’m more than pleasantly surprised. Technical passages weave amidst Progressive salvos, but it gets better; spurts of unexpected melody softens the brutality some. And no one element overstays its welcome to alienate any newcomers. It’s truly as if vintage Cannibal Corpse (vocal style) has collided with Black Dahlia Murder (wicked melodies), Inferi (Technical prowess) and Abysmal Dawn (ominous cosmic qualities) and for that I’m thankful, even more so for the fact that this audio example delivers throughout and works… so damn well! An instant like. Yell your pleasure with this album from the rooftops.
Score – 92

General Surgery (Sweden) – Lay Down and Be Counted

Release – June 2021
Genre – Grindcore/Grinding Death/Dirge/Goregrind/Old School DM
Brutality – 8
Groove – 7
Melody – 6
Abrasiveness  – 7
Progressive Nature – 4
Technicality – 6
Ominous Nature – 6
Replayability- 8
Fave Track – At Cut Throat Speed
Although this act have been around awhile they’ve always seemed to be passed over for the more wider known acts, in the same vein, such as Incantation and Carcass. Bearing that in mind this is my first experience of their output ( I didn’t even know they are Swedish) and to state I’m both impressed and utterly disgusted with myself (for only just discovering their brilliance) is a gross understatement. Utilizing a fantastic tone and a style which evokes a myriad of genres but most notably the nostalgic factor to alight sky rocketing interest for those, like myself, whose penchants lie rooted in the extreme, gore drenched  90’s scene. Dirge laden melodies, a dual vocal approach, sickening lyrics and plentiful blast beats and in just the perfect-sized amounts. This is honestly a release one cannot ignore.
Score – 91


Ænigmatum (USA) – Deconsecrate

Release – August 2021
Genre – Tech/Progressive/Black/Death
Brutality – 7
Groove – 7
Melody – 7
Abrasiveness  – 4
Progressive Nature – 7
Technicality – 8
Ominous Nature – 6
Replayability – 9
Fave Track – I honestly cannot choose one single track.
Every once in a while there’s an album which grabs ahold instantly and doesn’t let go. Many have hype, many get rave reviews but this. This. Is. Special. Tight, complex and showcasing drumming which likely would transport even the ultra talented H. Grossman to a heightened state of excitement. Rhythms to widen the eyes (to the extent they might slip from their orbital residences) and compositions to lift even the most doldrum of spirits. Then there’s the production; a quality that only elevates the overall experience. Part Necrophagist, part Pestilence (technical era), part Obscura and part Inanimate Existence, yet so much more. This is most certainly up there with my favorites of the year (so far). The bar is set. I think Twitter for the Recc. Pass it on.
Score – 96

Now Back 2 Normal Programming

Wanderer (USA) – Liberation from a Brutalist Existence

Release- June 2021
Genre – Grindcore/Power Violence/Sludge
Brutality – 8
Groove – 6
Melody – 5
Abrasiveness  – 8
Progressive Nature – 5
Technicality  – 6
Ominous Nature – 6
Replayability – 7
Fave Track – Decay
Imagine being placed in a spacious crate. Then image a couple of boxes of assorted formidable hammers, a myriad of broken porcelain, a rabid lynx and a doped up rattlesnake tossed in the same domicile for the hell of it. The ponder upon said crate manhandled to the edge of a mountaintop shrouded in the clouds. And then unceremoniously pushed over. Listening to this album is likely close to that experience. Bludgeoning, scathing, unpredictable (in the sense that one might think it’s slowing to a more tranquil pace only to pummel twice as hard in the next instant) and sure to leave a mark. This audio will leave you dazed and battered. Recc for fans of Dillinger Escape Plan and the like.
Score – 76

Alustrium (USA) – A Moment to Silence

Release – June 2021
Genre – Deathcore/Brutal/Tech/Progressive Death
Brutality – 7
Groove – 7
Melody – 9
Abrasiveness – 4
Progressive Nature – 8
Technicality – 8
Ominous Nature – 7
Replayability – 9
Fave Track – Join the Dead

This is another album I’ve heard a great deal about recently. Is there a good reason why? I’m pleased to report there’s a great reason why this might in fact be the case. The hype is warranted! This release flows with ungodly flow and melody as well its fair share of ferociousness. But let us not forget the Progressive mastery (elements) which fit right in, never once seeming foreign or out of place. Rhythms akin to The Black Dahlia Murder are sure to initially perk the ears while the Tech factor will serve to hook the listener for the long term. Other parts of the intricate puzzle only propel the experience to stratospheric heights. To state that this is acquisitively composed is like mentioning that a Lego brick will cause pain if you step upon it without footwear. Neither element takes but a moment to register. However, one will want to return to the sensation and emotions caused by what this incites.

Score – 93

Plucked Screamin’ From Metal Past

Benediction (UK) – Scriptures

Release – October 2020
Nuclear Blast
Genre – Death/Dirge/Old School Death
Brutality – 7
Groove – 7
Melody – 8
Abrasiveness  – 4
Progressive Nature – 4
Technicality – 5
Ominous Nature – 7
Replayability – 8
Fave Track – Rabid Carnality
It’s been a while but the guys are back! And with a caliber which rivals the bands finest hour, in my opinion, Transcend the Rubicon. Mid tempo madness, the guttural superiority of Ingram and rhythms to whisk the listener from their static stance. There’s even a smattering of Dirge. Befitting the bands return the production is top-notch showcasing an act revitalized and ready for a return to the front of the DM pack.
Score – 87

Thrashist Regime (UK) – Carnival of Monsters

Release – April 2018
Fat Hippo Records
Genre – Old School Thrash/Crossover/Heavy Metal
Brutality – 4
Groove – 6
Melody – 8
Abrasiveness  – 3
Progressive Nature  – 4
Technicality  – 4
Ominous Nature  – 3
Replayability  – 8
Fave Track – Metalcidal Massacre
Initially I believed this to be a side project of Pete (LawnmowerDeth) as the vocals carry the same tone and cadence, there are even instances to evoke the aforementioned act (to be honest, in the briefest of instance, I was half expecting lyrics mentioning [bouncing up and down on “Satan’s [big old] Trampoline”) . Though, as I buried myself deep within the album I picked up upon a number of other interesting details. The style is as if Acid Reign (for this has humorous moments) Toranaga (“God’s Gift” era) and Annihilator (fantastic rhythms in offer and also hooks aplenty) merged with a splash of Exodus (for this bears gang vocals giving it an late eighties Crossover aura). Overall, this could well be one of the finer Thrash moments of 18′ which somehow passed me by. Strange as I’m quite the sucker for Repka-esque art (in this instance courtesy of Dan Goldsworthy). Give this a few spins following a rigorous loosening up of the upper vertebrae.
Score – 84

Axegrinder (UK) The Rise of the Serpent Men

Release – January 1989
Placerville Records
Genre – Atmospheric Crust
Brutality – 7
Groove – 5
Melody – 6
Abrasiveness – 6
Progressive Nature- 6
Technicality – 5
Ominous Nature- 5
Replayability – 7
Fave Track – Rise of the Serpent Men
Years ahead of the curve, creating many a precarious track for many to follow, Axegrinder have not only carved an angst ridden but have also shown that one can utilize quite the diverse approach whilst still delivering an album that still packs quite the formidable wallop. Traditional Crust this is not! A rough production adds to the appeal. Keel an ear out for various influences, intended or not there’s a great amount of homage on offer here and all in an album which demands attention and a great deal of respect. Am I the only one thinking upon this being possible influence to The Prodigy? (…”I am the Firestarter!… sorry I couldn’t resist)
Score – 76

Weregoat (US) – Pestilential Rites of Infernal Fornication

Vault of Dry Bones
Release- May 2017
Genre –  Blackened Death/Blackened Speed Metal
Brutality – 7
Groove – 4
Melody – 4
Abrasiveness – 5
Progressive Nature – 4
Technicality – 5
Ominous Nature  – 8
Replayability  – 7
Fave Track –  At Full Moon She Bleeds
There are several reasons why I’ve decided to tackle this release; the noise on Twitter, and the album’s art. Admittedly it was this releases art which sealed the deal. A wicked depiction of a beast having his way with a nubile participant with the whole tableau being witnessed by a collective of robed forms (with their hands oddly hidden from sight!?) A rite of some kind captured with stunning detail and a myriad of elements to incite the creative part of the brain into  chaotic overload. OK, But what about the music?
Infernal, archaic and any other number of terms which might describe this don’t even come close. At times I hear Vader, in other instances Gravehill, in others still Morbid Angel at their diabolically finest, but that’s not to forget moments which conjure “Hell Awaits” era Slayer. All this wrapped in an unmercifully thunderous cacophony package with sordid lyrical content to make the Mother Superior blush. Sans ambient passages and Progressive detours. In short, Weregoat bring it, a veritable cornucopia of studs, chains, corpsepaint and riffs to rip your face off. As if the cover doesn’t suggest such? Prepare to have your senses raped by the Horned One.
Score – 88

Spread that green around to ensure creativity can flow unencumbered by lack of funds

And that’s it.

I’ve kept this short. I’ve amazed even myself.

Enjoy the ear candy! As always feel free to comment, suggest an act I should scribble upon, share but most of all support the acts herein, Keep the scene alive and thriving!

“Don’t fear that which is normally foreign to the senses”

Tackling the Bookmarks (June/July 2021)

Well shit, this one took a while.

My apologies to those who might have been waiting. Knee deep in boxes, moving trucks, curses and a quest to find a new career (which edges, won’t drive me insane) I’ve been, understandably, busy. Though with the light at the end of the (proverbial) tunnel in sight I’ve decided once again to endeavor upon this thing I refer to as “scribbling”, or in this instance my attempt to lay words (usually in nonsensical order) upon that which I’ve greedily devoured.

What say we begin? In no particular order here are a few releases (scattered across the extreme audio realm) I’ve enjoyed in recent weeks/months.

Shun (USA) – S/T

Release – June 2021

Small Stone Records

Genre – Alternative/Hard Rock

A determined and confident mash up of Tool, Helmet, Alice in Chains and Therapy. Surprisingly addictive and a welcome break for those whose usual audio habits consist of Bludgeoning, Gloom, Doom, Eviscerations and Dismemberments.

Fave Track – Heese

Score – 83

Reality Grey (Italy) – Beneath This Crown

Release- May 2021

Blood Blast/Nuclear Blast

Genre – Deathcore/Melodic Death/Djent

The introduction gives off a rebellious vibe making one perhaps think audio of a Hardcore  leaning, whereas the studio itself delivers melody and movement aplenty. In short, a wicked mix of Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Linkin Park, Meshuggah and As I Lay Dying. The album offers a great deal to enjoy especially for those whose penchants lie a little short of grunting/growling/brutality arenas.

Fave Track – Multidimensional Hollow

Score – 81

Deathfucker (Italy) – Firespawn

Release- July 2021

Cavernous Records

Forget the name, actually don’t. It grabs the attention! Then it doesn’t take long for the hooks. Fast, furious, melodic (yet not in a ‘melodic mellow kind of everyone is gonna love this’ way) and groove laden. This hits the spot. With vocal which veer towards the Crust side of things the infectious nature transforms into dangerous addiction, and fast. This is not a release you should ignore, obviously the moniker is one you can’t forget. I’m only left pondering is it consensual copulation with the Grim Reaper or acts of a slightly more nefarious and messy nature?

Genre – DeathThrash/Crust

Fave Track – Sacrificial Slaughter

Score- 85

Nervosa (Brazil) – Perpetual Chaos

Release – January 2021

Napalm Records

Genre – Thrash/Death/Old School Thrash

An energized new line up, a reinvigorated sound and a driving energy which is hard to deny. These four ‘ladies’ have somehow managed to deliver fluid rhythms, enough hooks to make a fleet of fishermen jelly, drum salvos to incite torso tiring spastic movement and a vocal assault which is a wickedly delicious snarl I just cannot get enough of.  Oddly, the style herein reminds me of vintage Witchery (which isn’t horrid in the slightest) showcasing galloping riffs and aggressive melodies draped in malevolent evil barely this side of the BM fence. If you have yet to discover Nervosa this is a fantastic jumping on point! But also, a stunning surprise for those already ‘in the know’.

Fave Track – Guided by Evil (Rebel Soul in the deluxe, expanded, version)

Score – 83

Moral Collapse (India) – s/t

Release- April 2021

Subcontinent Records

Genre – Tech/Brutal/Old School/Progressive Death

What happens when a label top dog (in this case the ‘head’ of Subcontinent Records), Sudarshan Mankad (an Indian guitarist with notable chops), Hannes Grossmann (he who needs no introduction) and a few guests, draped in pedigree, put together an album? Well in this instance, ten tracks (the tenth being an exclusive CD track) of extreme audio to delight the senses of both long-time fan of the genre and those who only occasionally dip their senses though know all too well quality when they hear it. Comprised part Old School, part Progressive showcasing occasional nods to a variety of other genres this doesn’t take long to leave an impression. And all this with a surprising addition; that of a saxophone (the violin inclusion is admittedly easier to comprehend). There’s little to worry about however as the nostalgic elements on offer will soothe the senses leaving one open for a little composition experimentation. Obviously, Hanne’s involvement and skill is a level above mesmeric, a factor which heightens the enjoyment of a virgin listen, but that’s not to say that’s all which is on offer, it most certainly isn’t. The guitar work is exemplary (be it from the skilled fingers of a guest musician, Arun Natarajan or Sudarshan Mankad, there are rhythms to spare, amorphic passages to make the senses spin and moments which evoke both the Old and the New School Tech approach. Even intervals which effectively conjure a swirling descent into chaos. The bass is springy enough to sate those with such penchants and the vocal accompaniment… well, it doesn’t disappoint. I understand I’m not the only listener who demand the quality be on the same level as the percussion, hoping with fingers crossed before the element kicks in that it hits the mark and doesn’t ruin an otherwise remarkable listening experience.

In short, for I’ve near-completed the exact opposite, this is exactly that which an album that contains the genius of Mr. Grossmann is assumed to be, it provides diverse qualities, hypnotic arrangements, tornado brutality and an exquisite cavalcade of riffs to keep the listener on their toes. Sure, this isn’t Necrophagist Mk II or even that which could be deemed traditional Tech death, but its good enough to yank the attention away from whatever else is on the multi-tasking to do list. I’m more than intrigued as to what might follow, I’ve found this to grown on me with an appetite more ferocious than a soul-devouring lichen (yes, this sounds like something plucked from the ‘Rick and Morty’ universe. Would you rather me insert another “Bad Taste” reference? I thought not)   

Fave Track – Abandoned Rooms of Misspelled Agony

Score – 93

Gastric Phantasm (USA) – 4 track Demo (Cassette)

Release- May 2021

Blood Harvest

Genre – OSDM/Grind

Fast, chaotic, furious riffs with rhythms packed with filthy groove to incite bodily harm and all accompanied with vocals you can’t understand? It’s all here! Only four tracks on offer though at this quality I demand more. This is the type of extreme audio fans of the old school DM will eagerly lap up. Forget the 42 score on E.M (those in the know will be able to decipher the abbreviations) this is top-notch ear candy guaranteed to get those appendages flailing.

Side note; I’m curious if the band’s moniker is in some way decipherable as an act of horrific flatulence?

Fave Track – Grave Desecration

Score – 91

Vorus (Romania) – Traversing the Non-Existence

Release May 2021

Detonation Records

Genre – OSDM/Death/Doom

Raw and seething with a primitive nature this provides a style drenched in Old School values. With diabolical essence sprinkled throughout this lies somewhere between cavernous DM and DeathDoom providing slightly more movement than one might expect given those parameters. No frills or experimentation here, this sees a band stick to their guns and the genres roots.

Fave Track – Mephitic Agony

Score – 78

Stortregn (Switzerland) – Impermanence

Release – March 2021

The Artisan Era

Genre – Melodic/Tech/Progressive/Black/Death Metal

Seamless, flawless and multifaceted. Stortregn have again proven they’re the most deserved yet not-so-much talked about act in current rotation. With a style influenced by a slew of genres, and talent to back up the ingenious creativity and stunning composition the act has proven their past releases to be far from one-off flukes. They can deliver and have done so, yet again. Another amazing signing by The Artisan Era.

Fave Track – Multilayered Chaos

Score – 93

Grave Miasma (United Kingdom) – Abyss of Wrathful Deities

Release- May 2021

Sepulchral Voice Records

Genre – Dissonant Death/DeathDoom/OSDM

I’m not sure what it is about this act? It’s taken me a few listens to become accustomed to their style. Unpredictable melodies accompanied by a vocal style leaning toward Grindcore sensibilities (mid Napalm Death era comes to mind) with an echo edge.

However, now that I’m comfortable, I’m pleased to say that the album only makes a larger impression each and every time I visit. One might say it has “blossomed”. Cavernesque qualities are front and center followed by a swirling technicality in the composition department, this is in no way ‘meat and potatoes’ or even ‘paint by numbers’ DM. A style drenched in dissonant qualities with veins of groove throughout. This deserves further exploration over and above a solitary listen and demands such.

Fave Track – Under the Megalith

Score – 86

Subterranean Masquerade (Israel) – Mountain Fever

Release- May 2021

Sensory Records

Genre – Progressive/Hard Rock

Hitting play on this I honestly didn’t know what to expect. It certainly wasn’t an audio experience which borders on religious. It’s truly as if an entity (I’d say human, though with the skill shown here I’m of the mind this is superhuman) took the finest parts of Amorphis, Opeth, Devin Townsend and David Bowie and lovingly curated them in a seamless manner. Nostalgia is sparked by way of the exquisite vocal stylings (this is where the Bowie [RIP] element comes in). However, this isn’t all this offers. Rhythms are fluid and amorphous yet don’t appear at all out of place. In certain instances, the audio’s presence reaches an ecstatic plateau, a location whereupon gooseflesh is raised and everything but the audio falls to the wayside. Amazingly enough the album is wonderfully diverse yet somehow manages to corral the interest throughout. Better yet this isn’t of a ‘heaviness’ to turn likely interested parties away (in other words spouses who normally don’t dwell within HM realms might like this). In short, go into this with an open mind and leave satisfied. This has #EOY written all over it (I say this without reservation).

Fave Track – The whole album is of the highest quality, it’s difficult to pick a single standout.

Score – 98

Vrykolakas (Singapore) – And Vrykolakas Brings Chaos and Destruction

Release – June 2021

Dark Blasphemies Records, Sadist Records, Evil Damnation Records

Genre – DeathThrash/Death/Brutal Death

Pulverizing audio! Think Vomitory ramped up to 11, add maniacal qualities and steer the vehicle on a collision course with Brutal Death arenas. The tone here is fantastic, think Bolt Thrower mid-era dirge, as well the movement of the rhythm overall, there’s a lack of instrumental interludes and slowing down which depending on the mood is a great thing. Be warned though, if you’re thinking of taking this to the gym be prepared to burst a blood vessel or three.

Fave Track – Yajuj Majuj versus the World

Score – 84

Frozen Soul (USA) Crypts of Ice

Release- January 2021

Century Media

Genre – OSDM/Dirge

As the music and the influence hits the listener. There’s no secret (and I’m sure upwards of 90% of reviewers have noted the obvious) that Frozen Soul have captured the tone, style and nostalgia related of an act I will refrain from mentioning. However, there’s more than enough movement and groove on offer here to sate those with a lust for the Old School with a decidedly European slant accompanied by Dirge sensibilities which bear Grindcore teasing qualities.

Fave Track – Beaten to Dust

Score – 91

The Day of the Beast (USA) – Indisputably Carnivorous

Release – June 2021

Prosthetic Records

Genre – Blackened Death/Death Metal

Sporting sharp riffage alongside whirling tight speed passages this bears unquestionable Carcass (mid- era) qualities. The vocal style, inflection even the tone, compounds this belief. Add an ominous vein of darkness and you have an album which is especially easy to appreciate. It doesn’t hurt that the compositions boast a flow which lean toward frenetic Thrash territories albeit soaked in Arch Enemy/Amott melodies. Overall if, like me, the wait for the new release from the British God’s of Grind/Death has extended past comfortable realms you’ll want to give this a listen. Familiar enough to be easily consumed yet not so much as to labeled clones. The Day of the Beast (the band and this album) is a surprisingly entertaining discovery amidst a market oversaturated, as of late, with entries burdened with the Blackened Death moniker.

Recc for fans of early Arch Enemy, Arsis but especially later era Carcass.

Fave Track – Indisputably Carnivorous

Score – 92

Exorcizphobia (Czech Republic) – Friend of Lunacy EP

Release – July 2021

Genre – Old School Thrash/Thrash/Crossover

If Nuclear Assaults “Handle with Care”, Anthrax’s “Spreading the Disease” and Metallica’s “Kill em’ All” had an illegitimate offspring this would likely be the result! Energetic, infectious and dangerously addictive. I need use no other words, just jump on this pronto, it’s damn impressive. Why aren’t Exorcizphobia better known? After this they should be!

Fave Track – Friend of Lunacy

Score – 92

Djevel (Norway) Tanker Som Rir Natten

Release- May 2021

Aftermath Music

Genre – Atmospheric/Melodic/Old School Black Metal

If you can get over the stupendously long track titles (which isn’t at all difficult) this is a criminally easy album to enjoy. Beauty cavorts with frigid riffs and suitably chilling vocals and there’s atmosphere to spare. To keep this short (unlike… yea I’ve mentioned it before) this is mesmerizing BM with just the right amount of that which might be considered traditional (all depending upon the “wave” naturally) to keep the purists as well the newcomers sated. Epic track lengths and rhythms which enthrall throughout. I’ll be surprised if I don’t hear mention of this come Year’s End.

Fave Track – …Vinger Og Torniglorier (the track titles here are infuriatingly long, so I shortened this to the last three words)

Score – 93

Prayers of Sanity (Portugal) – Doctrine of Misanthropy

Release – June 2021

Rastilho Records

Genre – Old School/Aggressive Thrash/Speed Metal

Just Damn-!

When the music starts the fingers are crossed that the vocals are as good and that they fit, making the sound complete. And boy, do they!

Hyper-addictive rhythms, riffs which will make your joints scream in agony and a flow that’ll make you wish your house had no walls, and your vehicle no ceiling. Prepare to headbang like one possessed, this is the type of Thrash your parents warned you about! Score one for Portugal, zero ballads, unfiltered aggression and a feeling that rhus might well live out the remainder of its life stuck in the stereo. Fans of aggressive Exodus, Overkill and early Anthrax are likely to sweat copiously as these tracks ravage the senses.

Fave Track – Destination Hell

Score – 95

Unendlich (USA) – Paradox of a Broken World

Release – July 2021


Genre – Post/Old School/Melodic/Progressive/Black/Death/Doom

Apocalyptic, yet melodious and bearing a drum style which pulls this slightly from traditional Black realms this is an album which is wholly not entirely ‘anything’ yet is so utterly consumable as to be praised from on high. Vicious vocals and galloping rhythms serve to make the head spin, as well enough diversity (prog passages, atmosphere and melody to aggression in the blink of an eye) to please those who demand it.

Fave Track – Wisdom of Suffering

Score – 87

Mortuary Spawn (UK) – Spawned from the Mortuary EP

Release- June 2021

Brutal Cave Productions

Genre – Grind/Death/OSDM

And this came outta nowhere! Sporting a myriad of wicked rhythms to send a Pit into a rabid frenzy and enough nods to the Old School to alight grins aplenty the fifteen minutes on offer here are more than enough to spark both fan and major label interest. Criminally infectious in instances with a vocal style which fits like a glove (designed especially for arcane rituals) this is an EP which deserves attention.

Fave Track – Thorax and Abdomen

Score – 86

Graveripper (USA) -Radiated Remains EP

Release – June 2021

Wise Blood Records

Genre – Blackened/Aggressive Thrash/Crust

It’s always pleasing to see an act slowly rise from their earliest stance. Such was the case here. I was lucky enough to state this is a huge step up. It appears the bands style has matured somewhat and has begun to find its niche. The EP showcases varied compositions displaying wicked movement and rhythms which are more than likely to stick after this release is through ranging from aggressive Thrash through Tuetonic and a style basted in Blackened tar. The production is raw, but it works and serves to bolster the vocal style; drenched in Crust sensibilities. If all that isn’t enough, Joel Grind has a hand in this, which is an obvious indication that it’s worth a listen, and it is! I’ll gladly state that Corey and the gang are on the right track. If this doesn’t turn the same heads which listen to Wraith, Hellripper, Midnight and Bastardizer I don’t know what to say. Give this a chance and keep the ears to the ground for future developments within the Graveripper camp.

Fave Track – All Life Decays

Score – 85

Plucked Screamin’ from Metal Past

Hideous Divinity (Italy) – Sinful Star Necrolatry (Demo)

Release- September 2007


Genre – Tech/Brutal/Blackened Death

Insert “melting your flesh”, “raping your ears” cliches here. Only two tracks on here, a whopping nine minutes. But it’s enough, in fact the first five seconds trip the brain into OMFG this is impressive audio delight. Admittedly this is one of the finest Demos I’ve heard, period, and there’s little wonder the bands moniker is known the world over. Discover that which started it all! For this truly is a fantastic milestone, an entry point from which the act only, somehow, got better.

Fave Track – As Flesh Godspelled Pure Hate

Score – 94

Something a little Different

Musk Ox (Canada) – Inheritance

Release – July 2021


Genre – Chamber Music/Doom

A refreshing change from the usual this sees a collection of stoopidly active musicians getting together to release an album which is quite simply stunning. Various elements bring me to this conclusion; the musical talent on offer, the composition; which conjures a wide variety of strong emotions and the album’s overall ability to remove the listener from their normal environment into another which is cinematically themed. A landscape which is startlingly vivid, and rife with scenarios which run the gamut of grief, joy and reflective reminiscence. Remove yourself from the everyday by allowing the senses to explore this.

Fave Track – Inheritance (Part One)

Score – 92

Rogga’s Corner

(For his unwavering dedication to the scene deserves more than a mere mention, right?)

Revolting (Sweden) – The Shadow at the Worlds End

Release- November 2020

Transcending Obscurity Records

Genre – OSDM/Hm2/Dirge/DeathDoom

Surprise, surprise. Rogga is at it again! And many might ponder – does this gent ever sleep?

This is Revolting’s seventh full-length (this is obviously one of Rogga’s main acts alongside Pagaizer) and shows the band (a three-piece currently) in top form blending a Hm2 Buzzsaw approach with Dirge and just enough brutality to set it slightly apart from those plainly visible when one mentions the same arena. Hypnotic in its groove and addictive in its overall demeanor this is an album which warrants discovery (and purchase, especially since Transcending Obscurity does such an amazing job of making the finished product look so damn appealing) and stands tall as a fantastic example of why Rogga is such a relevant ever- evolving (though thankfully not to the extreme) presence within the extreme audio spectrum.

Fave Track – Carnage Will Come

Score – 91

And…I’m done!

And that’s it, my apologies again for those who might have been waiting (all two of you). Feel free to comment, suggest, share, and it goes without mentioning support the scene.

Don’t fear discovery of that which is normally foreign to the sense (unless it’s Brussel Sprouts, those little green bastids can go to hell).

I’ll try to get one out faster next time. I blame moving (but doesn’t everyone?)


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.



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


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.


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.


(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’.


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.


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


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.


MirageMan (Chile) 2007


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.


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.


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”.


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.


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.


The Frozen Front (France) – 2017


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.


Dog Bite Dog (Hong Kong/Japan) 2006


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.


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!


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,


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.