Japanese wannabe actress Mayumi is abducted by an absolute nut-job called Vendenski and his hysterically seedy cult – Capital Messiah. They’re feared throughout the criminal community for reasons that are beyond me, but nobody seems to be able to touch them, until Mayumi’s brother, Kenji, travels over in search of his missing sister. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Kenji is a Karate Master, wouldn’t you just know it? This now sets the wheels in motion for Kenji to stroll around L.A. all brooding and a fish out of water, but cracking skulls as he’s doing it.
Joe Ahearne is a British writer and director whose TV miniseries The Replacement was shown on the BBC in 2017 to a warm reception. I caught up with him to chat about this and his other project, the horror/thriller film called B&B.
“This was the first time I’d written something where I was determined that the gay guys were absolutely going to be the stars, and it was sort of a genre piece as well. I was definitely interesting in doing something that had some kind of fantasy or horror.”
Killer Friends features a spectacularly god-awful human being and his best friends’ attempts to put him out of their misery. These attempts, being amateurish and unplanned, backfire in various slapstick ways and the viewer is invited both to sympathise with the frustrated would-be homicides and wonder when they’re going to get their cackhanded act together and put the little shit down. It becomes apparent, however, that their potential victim knows more than he is letting on… Even now, thinking about him, I can feel my blood pressure rising.
“I’m here to love and support my girlfriend… and kill Scott!”
B&B takes as its inspiration a court case that received quite widespread publicity about six years ago for being the sort of thing that makes you go, “seriously, in this day and age?” The set-up is that a homosexual couple have fought and won a court case against a bed and breakfast that discriminated against them by refusing them a double room – a legal battle which really did take place and which was eventually decided in the Supreme Court, because there seems to be a disappointing abundance of legal funding for bigoted wankers.
“They made their bed… Now they have to die in it.”
The more our technology improves, the harder it is to make some classic horror tropes believable. The main culprit here is the cell phone. Everyone has one, and they are constantly in use. For those of us with smart phones, we are able to control almost every aspect of our lives through this little device. As our technology evolves, so must the horror genre evolve to incorporate its use. With smart phones giving us easy access to the internet and a seemingly unending number of apps to choose from, it’s no wonder that dating apps have become so popular.
“It’s a killer app.”
Charles Bukowski once said “Some people never go insane. What horrible lives they must lead!” Clearly this is not the way for the characters in Pazucus: Island of Vomit and Despair, as whilst they seem to act and look crazed and insane their lives are blighted by horrors all around them. Their insanity is reflected in Gurcius Gewdner’s film which is somewhat of a strange piece of underground genre cinema, art house horror, b-movie monster horror, and deliberately maddening genre flick that is deliberately frustrating and uneasy to pin point as to what it actually is about. The plot, if there is one to focus on, follows Carlos who is constantly vomiting…
“You won’t be coming home!”
John Harris works for a property/land development firm in New York City. After his wife Samantha has a miscarriage, his life begins to change. This unfortunate event has traumatized her and John thinks that some time away from the city would do both of them a world of good. Writer/director Courtney Fathom Sell created a film that is less about shocks and horrific moments and more about building an imposing sense of fear. From the moment the Harris’ move into their new house, there is an air of unnerving trepidation.
“What kind of sick people would do something like this?”
It’s not every day you get to speak to the lead actor in possibly your favourite horror film of all time. David Naughton should need no introduction to horror fans. Back in 1981, An American Werewolf in London had unprepared cinema goers laughing heartily one second and jumping out of their seats in terror the next.
“It was a very exciting time in my life, 1981. There are fans that really enjoy the movie and appreciate it for what it is, as far as, you know, practical makeup being cutting edge at the time.”
When you pick up Jasper Bark’s short novel Quiet Places, know that you’ll be holding a stick of dynamite in your hands. It’s got a slow-burning fuse, but when it goes off, you will be completely blown away. Billed as cosmic folk horror, a classification of genre fiction heretofore reserved for this book alone, so far as I can tell, Quiet Places tells the story of Sally, her lover David, and the Scottish town of Dunballan.
“Then there were the bodies she had to pull from crashed cars, and the corpses that had fallen from ladders, or scaffolding. They had to be disposed of and there was never enough time to do that…”
The American Guinea Pig series was one I had yet to encounter, though it’s telling to see Unearthed Films taking the concept of the original Japanese Guinea Pig series and transferring it to an American market, with The Song of Solomon a more traditional, albeit very gory narrative driven slice of genre cinema. If you’re not familiar with the Guinea Pig films then, well, here’s a quick film history lesson, kids! The Guinea Pig films where a series of direct to video features, short in length and made in Japan around the mid to late 80s. The first two were considerably grizzly in their reputation…
“When the song is finally sung, Lucifer will be unleashed.”
Let me preface this review by saying that I’m a huge fan of anthology films. Films like Twilight Zone: The Movie, Creepshow, and Tales from the Darkside were among some of my favorites as a kid. Sure, there are some stinkers out there, but they always have at least one gem, one shining moment hidden among the schlock, somewhere.
Vault of Terror II: The Undead was a pretty fun ride from start to finish. We get five short films, given to us as a part of a wrap-around horror story.
“Witness six tales… Each one more horrifying than the last!”
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. However, I decided I’d take the opportunity to look back at some movies that didn’t particularly float my boat and see if I can find some good points in them. With the best intentions in mind, I picked the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street as the first movie to give a second watch. I was aghast when I heard this movie was being made. But, I like to have an opinion about things so, I gave it a watch. On that first go I was just as disappointed as I expected to be. Let’s face it, the original film is a genre defining classic…