When I first heard about this film I thought it was a sequel to The Slumber Party Massacre (1982). When I finally watched the rebooted Slumber Party Massacre, I was quite surprised but ultimately disappointed in this production. The film initially opens with a retro flashback of what happened 25 years earlier. A group of teenage girls travel to a cabin in the woods for a slumber party. They are having the time of their lives eating pizza, guzzling beers, you know, just the usual stuff! Unknowingly, driller killer Russ Thorn lurks outside, attacking and killing the girls one by one!
Kasper Juhl’s Your Flesh, Your Curse fits neatly into the extreme category – but on the level of something approaching or trying to attain a more respectable degree of cinema, and one that doesn’t necessarily use the term extreme and underground as an excuse to display as much depravity and degradation normally associated with this area of film. The story follows the troubled character of Juliet, a young woman who loves to spend most of her time with her friends getting drunk and high – which seems to have been founded on a troubled and sexually abused past.
“Embrace the suffering.”
After last year’s ‘Virtual Edition’ of The Dead of Night Film Festival, we finally got a traditional DoNFF in 2021, returning with a weird and wonderful selection of horror films.
“6 horrific feature films, 18 terrifying short movies, 2 insightful Q&As.”
Who doesn’t adore Mexican sci-fi/horror cinema? Whilst consuming everything from 1968’s The Batwoman to 1970’s Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters, I stumbled upon the poster for Harry Essex’s Octaman and I knew I had to track down a copy of this 1971 creature feature! There was something reminiscent about the humanoid octopus… As it turns out, I was already quite familiar with Essex’s monstrous creation! Even if you haven’t seen this movie, you’ve likely seen the titular creature.
“Horror heap from the nuclear trash!”
Ladies and gentlemen start your engines and prepare to burn rubber for contemporary comedy-horror Spree. Honk, Honk! Spree stars Joe Keery as Kurt Kunkle, an obsessed boy who wishes to be a popular social media influencer like his idols Bobby Basecamp and Jesse Adams. The only problem is he has a limited audience watching his channel as he is an excruciatingly dull person. He has tried everything to get noticed on YouTube, like playing video games, promoting shoes, and doing tutorials. But none of those are helping him in getting his foot through the social media door.
“Murder is trending…”
If you’ve ever wanted to break into indie filmmaking, read on because you’ll find what I’m about to say uplifting. Strip Club Massacre, co-written and directed by Bob Clark, proves that anyone, regardless of skill, equipment, money, or talent, can make an independent film and find a distributor for it. So grab a camera, get on out there, and start filming: the light is green.
The best thing about Strip Club Massacre is the title, because it perfectly sets up exploitative expectations. Where things sort of fell apart was in all aspects of the execution…
“She has a killer body.”
Special effects in the style of 1990s TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are what attracted me to PG: Psycho Goreman. Within the first few minutes, and throughout PG, I had spotted several tributes to Power Rangers, from the soundtrack to the concept of a villain trapped underground, freed unwittingly, to the Planetary Alliance. That’s not to say PG wasn’t an original film, as Mimi’s family, and Mimi in general, are unusual characters.
Mimi is a spoilt brat who obtains a gemstone that can control the ultimate intergalactic supervillain, Psycho Goreman.
“I do not care for hunky boys. Or do I?”
Benny Loves You is an original comedy horror about a possessed, jealous toy that will kill anyone who gets too close to his grown-up owner. This film has it all! Comedy, horror, gore aplenty, and a sympathetic main character in Jack. The dialogue in Benny Loves You is frequently funny; the awkwardness of Jack as he sneaks around the office to avoid his boss or to dodge Dawn’s advances isn’t laugh-out-loud, but more the quaint British humour you see in films like Extra Ordinary. There’s also plenty of black humour surrounding Benny and his murders, not least with the dog, Precious!
“Don’t throw him out.”
At the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia (otherwise known as PZYK) I was introduced to Zamrock – a musical subgenre that combined African rhythm and sound with psychedelic rock – and arguably the most successful Zambian band of the 1970s: WITCH (an acronym for “We Intend To Cause Havoc“). Under the leadership of charismatic lead vocalist Emanuel “Jagari” Chanda, WITCH dominated the PZYK stage from the moment the band re-introduced themselves during ‘Introduction’.
“I had no idea where Zambia was, or how such incredible music could be recorded there, by what looked like a bunch of misfits.”
In 2016, Spring Break Zombie Massacre was unleashed upon audiences across the United States; the DIY brainchild of both Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt. Sam and Mattie have been best friends since they were 10 years old, forging an unbreakable bond fueled by their passion for movies, so it was inevitable that they would eventually make their own. Jesse Suchmann and Robert Carnevale’s documentary, Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie, captures this inspiring story and the end result; Sam and Mattie’s punk rock spirited, horror extravaganza!
“Rock on, go wild!”
Remastered onto BD-R/DVD-R, Carnie Features have released the definitive edition of Thomas Lee Rutter’s Bella in the Wych Elm; a West Midlands phantasmagoria based on the world-famous unsolved Hagley Wood mystery. Part documentary, part experimental horror, Bella in the Wych Elm is a delight to watch and never comes across as exploitative.
“Mysterious, terrifying, and true.”
Kingdom, in a nutshell, is about a group of people surviving Korean fast-moving zombies in medieval times, with court intrigue thrown in for good measure. The setting – including locations, costumes and values – is what immediately sets this apart from other zombie media. Being set over 500 years ago makes the Netflix series all the more terrifying, as the rural communities try to survive against zombies when they lack food, weapons, and live in squalid overcrowded villages. In several episodes the zombies catch fire and because everything is built on wood, it doesn’t end well.