Baskin [REVIEW]

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Are you ready to be one with the cosmos? – Baba

Going in to Baskin I was expecting Clive Barker level craziness and boy did it deliver! The story concerns a group of cops responding to a call to an abandoned police station who discover hell waiting for them. Thing is, the narrative is more complicated than that. It has a very Lynchian vibe with visions within dreams within nightmares. The film is very gory. Like the goriest I have seen in 2016. But the film does it in such a way that will delight genre fans. The whole film is cast in these beautiful shades of red, purple, blue and yellow. The kind of horror candy that reminds us of Argento before he was making 3D movies with giant praying mantis and visually molesting his grown daughter with his camera. I won’t go deep into the plot because the finer points will spoil it. But I will say, I googled it and I am pretty sure that dude’s lips are real. And by real I mean that they are not prosthetics. Pretty sure someone injected his mug full of silicone in a back alley in Istanbul.

Point of story? If you like movies like Hellraiser, you need to get your eye balls on Baskin.

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[YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING] Helix

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Helix is looking to be not only one of the better original programs produced by SyFy (I am a big fan of their remake of Being Human and Showcase’s Lost Girl which they co-produce). Rather then try and tell a story with an epic scale like many genre shows have tried lately (The Walking Dead is likely the best example), Helix tells a rather confined story that it’s roots in films like Ridley Scott’s Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing. A group of CDC agents along with a military engineer travel to the Arctic Circle after two scientists are killed and a third left infected by what is at first believed to be a retro-virus. But what awaits the team is more then a simple virus.

The first two episodes which aired Friday back to back, deliver very solid sci-fi, a tense story and despite a few moments of sub par CG (the monkeys and rats) a good chunk of the effects are very solid considering they are’t on HBO. The show is stylishly shot, well acted and is being heralded as the first big hit of the year.

Mulberry St. [REVIEW]

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Whatever you do don’t go into the hallway – Clutch

The After Dark Horrorfest 8 Films to Die For has released some of my favourite horror flicks of the 00s. Lake Mungo, Frontier(s), The Deaths Of Ian Stone, Borderland and Dread are among the movies they released along with Lions Gate as part of 4 collections. And likely cause they are horror and people don’t give horror any credit a ton of these flicks have ended up in discount bins. I picked up Mulberry St. for 2.99 without having seen a trailer, read a review or heard anything about it. The back said it was scary and there were zombies. Obviously I was sold.

What I did not expect was an incredibly well made super low budget flick that would entertain and even move me. The basic plot revolves around a group of people living in a walk up in New York City on Mulberry St. Clutch (Nick Damici of Stakeland) is a sexy daddy type with a mustache  His daughter Casey has just arrived in the US from deployment in the middle east and is on her way home. Clutch lives with Coco a drag queen (we see pictures of him performing) who was a friend of Casey’s deceased mother and a surrogate mother figure to Casey. There are also a couple old men, the gross super and a blond German woman who has a mad boner for Clutch, and a rowdy teenage son.

Rats start biting people on subways and in their homes and next thing you know people are turning into human ray hybrids. It sounds super corny SYFY made for TV movie but it is done super well. While the acting is often what you expect from a horror flick it has some truly moving moments near the end when characters you actually like begin to meet their ends.

Jim Mickle went on to direct the criminally under seen vampire-zombie flick Stakeland and is directing the remake of We Are What We Are due out this year. Fans of original and well done zombie flicks should definitely add this to their list of movies to watch. I have high hopes for Mickle who seems to be on the rise both in fame and talent.

The Woman [REVIEW]

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Who in the hell doesn’t like cookies? – Brian Cleek

When people ask me what kind of horror movies I find the scariest or most disturbing I usually will go with films in which the true horror is not a monster lurking in the dark, the demons of Hell or a masked killer hunting down co-eds. Films that truly disturb me are ones in which the horror is the result of truly bad people who are at first glance seemingly normal.

Lucky McKee’s The Woman is one of those films. The story of a sadistic country lawyer who abduct’s a feral woman and keeps her chained in the cellar is the kind of movie in which the true horror lay in a seemingly normal person’s capacity for cruelty and violence. Under the guise of attempting to “civilize” the woman the patriarch of the family reveals himself to be the true monster.

The presence of the feral woman in the cellar pushes everything to the breaking point throughout the film revealing incest, domestic abuse and the dangers of unchecked power and privilege burst at the seems in the final act.

At times the violence can be incredibly gory, but it is complemented by think sense of tension as each of the family members struggles with maintaining the facade of the perfect family. McKee intercuts the final moments of characters with flashes of memories meant to represent the dying thoughts of the victims. People having the flesh torn from their bones is punctuated with moments of lovers embracing, a slap in the face, a kiss, a little girl smiling. The effect makes it all the more disturbing. The audience for indie horror has already witnessed countless films in which gore and blood flow heavily. By juxtaposing gore with flashbacks, extreme close ups of victims and killers eyes the gore is at the same time less explicit and more gut wrenching.

The movie is available to stream on Netflix as well as other platforms and was released by Bloody Disgusting’s Selects distribution branch. I am so glad companies like this are able to bring horror gems such as this to a wider audience. It is also worth pointing out that the film is a sequel to a movie called Offspring released in 2009 thought I haven’t been able to track down a copy so the viewing experience isn’t sullied by not having seen the first film.

Check it out and I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

Kiss Of The Damned [REVIEW]

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Xenia, It’s Mimi she is out of control – Djuna

Kiss Of The Damned is a throwback to the 1970s arthouse vampire flicks that seemed to be coming out of Europe at the time. It plays like a modern Hammer film. It plays vampire mythology the way it was played long before film makers started playing fast and loose. No sun light, a bite makes you a vampire. Decapitation, sunlight and fire kill them.

It is nice to see sexy old school vampires in the movies. Despite it’s low budget the film looks great, uses practical effects to great effect and the movie’s vampires are classy and above all else hungry. Not purposefully cruel but rather victims of their own base nature.

Throw in a heavy helping of sex, tits and Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes, The Divide) in all his bearded beefcake glory; and you have a movie that while not doing that much new with the genre, gives us everything that genre fans loved about bloodsuckers. And it gets bonus points for a simple but delightful score, the best maid since Rocky Horror’s Magenta, and make sure to keep an eye out for a pie hat! Seriously what the fuck is up with that hat?

Eden Lake [REVIEW]

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They started it! – Jenny

I love that feeling when you watch a movie based solely on a few facts about it and it blows your mind. All I knew about Eden Lake was that it has been favorably compared to Straw Dogs and Lord of the Flies and that it stars Michael Fassbender. I didn’t love Straw Dogs but I sure do love me some Fassbender so I said why not!

When a young couple Jenny who teaches kids and her hunky boyfriend Steve head to idyllic Lake Eden for a get away things don’t go as planned. What was intended as a romantic proposal destination becomes a site of blood and terror when a group of local kids terrorize the couple.

Many reviewers apparently felt this film painted an unfair portrait of working class Brits as violent and near bestial people. I’d argue that it is less of an indictment of  the working class and more on the society that leaves an entire class of people with limited opportunities, under paid, over worked and forced to leave their children to their own devices. It also speaks to the way in which disenfranchised men will cling to whatever power is available to them. Denied any of the standard bastions of power these young men turn to machismo and posturing which so often escalates to violence in real life.

This is a movie which fits along with brutal British horror master pieces like The Descent and extreme French fare like Frontier(s). Definitely one of the best horror flicks I have seen in recent memory.