Thursday, July 31, 2014

Splatter Film Review: Experiment in Torture (2007)

Experiment in Torture (2007)
Director: Sean MacArthur
Writers: Sara Angressani, Brendan Connor

Stars: Brendan Connor, Jessica Prince, Marjan Faritous

Review by Jaded Midge

Experiment in Torture starts off like a cheap rip off of the Hostel movies with strippers, booze and drugs. Then it gets a little interesting. A group of girls get invited to go back and party with one of their customers, not unusual, two of the girls decide to go. Always a bad idea. 

While driving, the girls get spooked and tell their customer they want to leave, of course the customer gets irate and punches one of them in the face, the girls go running, of course, and one of them gets knocked to the ground and begins to get bumbled by the customer, and then gets stabbed multiple times. In all this fighting, the girl finds her bag with acid in it and throws it in her customers face (keep this part in mind, because it is important). The girl runs away. The customer runs after but gets distracted by his partner going overboard (I don’t know how you can go overboard in killing someone) but okay let’s go with it. 

Back to the story, the other girls are at the club and are all talking about the mysterious disappearance of two of the girls; meanwhile, they get lured by the promise of money to an isolated island to work for the weekend by a rich foreigner. Let’s not forget these girls would not be complete without one of them having an overprotective brother who has a bad feeling about it.  

The girls arrive at the island and are greeted by a “bodyguard” who tells them he is there to keep a eye on them till their host arrives. The girls play silly games like truth or dare to pass the time. As the girls are settling in, we see an unknown person spiking the girls' drinks and putting some sort of powder that looks like itchy powder on the robes they are provided. 

After about 40 minutes into the film, we finally get to see some action. One of the girls gets so sick from the laced drinks. She falls and breaks her shin bone, excellent special FX makeup by the way. That is one of the more positive aspects of this movie, the special FX are great. The other two girls, who wore the robes, begin to itch, so they get into the shower and are horrified to see the skin begin to boil and rip off! 

The rest of the movie is filled with blood, fists fights, blow torches, shotguns, and a very awkward licking of a face that has been doused with acid. All in all, the story is a little weak and cheesy, and the ending kind of misses the mark. But if you are into good gore and can appreciate special FX makeup, then this a good movie. I would recommend buying it if you see it in a 5 dollar bin at a gas station, it is worth it.

Watch the trailer:

- Jaded Midge
Staff Writer for

Jaded's Personal Site Mein Mörder FX Makeup

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Horror Movie Review: Laid to Rest (2009)

Laid to Rest (2009)
Director: Robert Hall
Writer: Robert Hall
Stars: Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Lena Headey 

Review by Peter DiGiovanni

A customer at the video store I used to work at was talking horror one night and mentioned how the killer in the Laid to Rest movies, ChromeSkull, was starting to make a name for himself as the next big slasher.  The next big slasher in an era where there really aren’t slashers anymore at all?  I wasn’t very convinced,  but apparently this ChromeSkull character had gotten quite the reputation as horror’s new badass, gradually climbing the ranks into Jason and Freddy territory.  They even put his name before the title in the 2011 sequel, straight up called it ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2.  So after this customer’s rant, I decided to check out the first in the series, Laid to Rest, and see for myself.

Basically it combines two very popular horror genres: slasher and the found footage/video camera horror films that are most popular today.  ChromeSkull is a slasher.  A very good slasher equipped with video camera mounted to his shoulder.  He’s a real sick bastard.  The type of killer who cuts his victim’s heads only half he can rip off the other half with his bare hands.  He doesn’t screw around.  His weapon of choice is a chrome serrated knife, and he loves going to town with it whenever he can.  There’s a moment that really stands out: after ChromeSkull cuts a guy’s face off (literally cuts it half off) then naturally goes to kill his girlfriend.

The scene where he kills the girlfriend is done so incredibly well, it was the first time a slasher film has surprised me in ages.  As the girlfriend tries to flee, ChromeSkull takes a swipe at her with his knife, and she continues running.  Initially, I’m confused, because I thought that was it - I thought she was sliced and would go down and he’d finish the job, it would be brutal, next scene.  But instead the girlfriend keeps running, running until she finds a corpse from earlier in the film.  Still I’m stunned,  because I could have sworn ChromeSkull (who is just standing out of focus in the background watching her!) did in fact make contact when he swiped at her, so how or why is she still alive here?  Then it happens.  She looks down and her stomach splits open, literally oozing intestines.  She squirms, drops, and now end of scene.  So yeah, video store guy nailed it.

The overall plot is standard slasher fare, but with a few interesting turns that keep you pleasantly watching.  It opens with an amnesia stricken young woman waking up inside a coffin, housed in an old funeral home where ChromeSkull stores his victims.  This is who he pursues for the duration of the film, and she meets some colorful characters along the way.  We don’t find much out about ChromeSkull or where he comes from, other than he apparently sends footage of his crimes to authorities.  It wasn’t difficult to sorta jump on the alleged ChromeSkull bandwagon whilst watching Laid to Rest.  The kills were genuinely violent, and for the most part, original.  I’d say he resembles Jason Voorhees the most, as far as classic slashers go, and seems to have a superhuman element to him, based on his strength and how he withstands pain.  Bullets bounce off his mask, and as I questioned what would happen if “Robocop” were shot in the mouth, I wondered what would become of ChromeSkull’s exposed skull if it were shot with bullets, would they bounce off his bald head too?  

Apparently a prequel is planned as the third installment, and I look forward to checking out ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2.

 - Peter
Staff writer for

Horror Film Review: Let the Right One In (2008)

Let the Right One In (2008) Sweden

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writers: John Ajvide Lindqvist (screenplay), John Ajvide Lindqvist (novel)

Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

Review by Nick Bain

At it's worst Let the Right One In is far too subtle and slow and nothing like typical horror movies, (if it should be considered one.) At its best its one of the better films we've seen in the last decade. As a foreign film it should see wider American distribution and publicity than any such film since…Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Our hero here, who is just twelve, is so perfectly likable and so well played, he is the sort of boy you'd want to raise, or the sort you'd want your child to end up with. He's richly contemplative and caring, lonely, but not broken, cool, but not pretentious, precocious and yet without arrogance. Who knew that he would fall for a vampire? 

It's a story more like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde than The Lost Boys. It's more about asceticism and existentialism than blood and gore. I won't give any details away, but this film is neither convoluted nor cliché. Sure, it's not amongst the best stories. It's not a formula film, but it's intelligently written and doesn't start anything it doesn't conclude, (well not too much). 

Beautifully shot in a snowy and desolate Swedish town, the film very much carries on a world of its own. The film as an entirety is subtle, even slow. Likewise the effects are far from showy, making tasteful use of CGI with kitties or watching our vampire climb seven stories. 

The sound does not rely on a creepy score, nor attempts a hip or ambient soundtrack. Instead, it successfully amplifies the sounds of its fictional and isolated universe, (which is far away from reality and amid somewhere in the early 1980s.) For the most part we only hear what the characters or the world around them, gusts of wind, the brushing of teeth, The Clash. Though most notable is all of the silence, all of the stillness that creeps about keeping the viewer mystified and engaged.

What the film does is allow adequate time for the viewer to develop a consciousness about the situation of the story. It allows us to make our own determinations without being told what to conclude. Throughout the entire movie I could only count one legitimate flaw, a tiny divisive issue, which I'm sure was mulled over by a brilliant director and screenwriter. 

It certainly won't be for everyone. It's not for those who can't read. It's not for kids. And it's not for those who can't bear non-traditional story telling. For me, the film was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly tiring and rehashed film industry. At least this film is rehash of a different kind.

This film should have seen a slew of Oscar nods and it seemed to me this film could have had a wide release. Nevertheless it will turn out to be a classic.

 - Nick Bain

Staff writer for

Nick's personal site:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Slasher Film Review: The Slaughterhouse Massacre (2005)

The Slaughterhouse Massacre (2005)

Director: Paul Gagné
Writer: Paul Gagné
Stars: Stephani Wells, Cory Nelson, Paul Gagné

Review by Tarik Begic

There are hundreds if not thousands of horror films that fall under the "so bad, it's good" category. Slaughterhouse Massacre is no different, in fact, it might be up there in my favorite so-bad-they're-good horror films. 

Made in 2005 (though looks like it was made in the mid 90s for a straight-to-VHS TV movie), Slaughterhouse Massacre tells the story of a serial killer who lives inside of a slaughterhouse and a group of kids go in there because they are idiots. The story isn't breaking any new ground, but where this horribly amazing film excels is the acting and the editing. This film boasts one of the worst group of actors I've ever seen. These people could barely even be called actors. Now, it could be because of the director that these "actors" act the way they do, because there seems to be some kind of loss in understanding between the actors, director, and editor. Take the party scene early in the film for example. It seems like all of the "actors" have zero idea of what to do and the director keeps on showing the same scenes over and over again. What I think is that the editor didn't know that some of the takes weren't supposed to be there, but the editor, not giving a shit and probably just working for a paycheck, threw all of what he had from that scene into his editing program. It all comes together hilariously and it makes you prompt the question, "how did this even get released?"

As I mentioned before, the film looks terrible. Apart from the amateur (at best) directing, the quality of the movie is terrible. It looks like it was shot on extremely cheap digital cameras from the early 2000s (in fact, that's most likely what they shot this with). It is extremely grainy looking even in day-light and in some scenes, you can't even tell what you're looking at how dark it is.

The movies starts off with a couple entering the slaughterhouse (you already know where this is going). The couple eventually has sex (this part of the film is basically soft-core porn) and the killer ends up killing them. I should add the the female character at this part of the film is hilariously weird. She tells the guy that she'll only have sex with him if he makes woopee with her in the slaughterhouse where all the animals are slaughtered (unsure of what this fetish is called, must do further research).

From there, the story jumps to a group of "college" kids in one of their classes. I use college kids loosely because these people are acting like middle school brats. But anyway, after that pointless scenes comes to an awkward end, we get introduced to our main characters. We have: Generic horror character #1, Generic horror character #2, Generic horror character #3, etc, etc.

These kids go to a party and as I said earlier, the party is a piece of cinematic gold. I forgot to mention that at this party, we get introduced to one of the best characters in film history: Stoner. Stoner is a very complex character and he will move you with his poetic words of wisdom.

Eventually, our "heroes" (excluding my boy, Stoner) go to the slaughterhouse where Marty Sickle (the killer) is. Slowly, our characters get offed in hilariously bad ways and around the middle of the film, Stoner ends up arriving at the slaughterhouse. By this time, most of the characters who we grew so attached to are dead except for Generic horror character #3. She ends up killing Sickle and her and Stoner make it out alive. What a beautiful piece of shit this movie is. Though, it's not as hilarious as say, the Room or Manos: The Hands of Fate, it's still a very funny movie for all the wrong reasons. Get some friends together, do some drugs, and watch Slaughterhouse Massacre. You're in for a good time.

~ Tarik
Staff writer for

Watch the trailer:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Horror Film Review: Ditch Day Massacre (2013)

Ditch Day Massacre (2013)
Water Tree Media Inc  /  Ditch Movie Partners LLC

Director: Joe Hendrick
Writers: Daniel P. Coughlin, Ryan Coughlin
Starring: Bill Oberst, Jr., Katy Foley, Zach Silverman, Lynn Lowry

Review by Jed Bundy

Jenny chose the wrong day to "ditch" school ...

As the title and promotional poster suggest, Ditch pays homage to the teen slasher films of the 80s. Being a fan of the genre, I was immediately drawn to this film due to the word "massacre" in the title. In addition to being an avid watcher of slasher flicks, I generally enjoy the work of actor Bill Oberst, Jr., who plays the killer (Vick) in Ditch. While Ditch makes an attempt to be something more than a typical teen slasher, most viewers will likely remember the gratuitous nudity, sex scenes, underage drinking, and graphic violence, rather than the religious and political messages embedded in the film.

This is the setup ... film opens with teens partying at a residence in a typical suburban neighborhood, the camera quickly turns to one particular girl leaving the party, Jenny, played by Katy Foley, obviously intoxicated and getting in her car to presumably drive home. As she drives home, Jenny, while drunk, decides to text someone. This turns out to be a deadly combination for the family she crashes into. The audience is given a brief and distorted view of the scene of the accident. We see the father, Vick (Oberst) on the ground bleeding but breathing, leading us to believe that he will survive. His wife and daughter were not so lucky, as a flash of a newspaper headline describes the event as a hit and run with local police having no leads in the case.

Fast forward one year ... our main character, Jenny, has been really good this past year. No parties, no drinking, it seems as though she has learned her lesson, or perhaps not. Parents go away for the night, leaving Jenny, alone with boyfriend Mike, played by Zach Silverman. Jenny is quickly convinced to skip school and throw a small party, which will predictably include drinking alcohol, smoking a little weed and having lots of sex. As fans of the genre, we know what happens to teens that behave like this, right? Ditch succeeds as a nice throwback to the formulaic slashers of the 80s. Gratuitous nudity provides plenty of eye candy and the creative kills offer gore fans something to sink their teeth into as well.

A little about the killer ... Vick, while on the ground at the crash scene, the camera pans over to his watch, a cracked face, hands stopped, a moment frozen in time. Ditch serves as a revenge flick as well. It is at this moment we are given the motive for Vick's retaliation.

One year later, as Jenny is making plans to ditch school, Vick is making plans of his own. He is obviously scarred from the loss of his wife and daughter. It is made clear that he has made a transition from devoted father and religious man to a man filled with rage and vengeance. He is physically working out as if he is training for the big fight. He is methodically gathering his belongings and studying them with great contemplation. We see a man completely broken and changed from a preventable event. As the camera follows Vick out to his car, his weapons of choice are made, mallet or hammer, an axe, and a bag of apples. As Vick starts the car and prepares for his day, we hear the radio DJ identify the station as 91.1 K ... I ... L ... L. This is a subtle clue that the massacre is about to begin. If the blood and guts don't gross you out, then maybe the revolting way the killer eats apples will!

Final thoughts ... Ditch is a solid effort in the horror genre. It contains all of the necessary elements to entertain horror fans. With standout performances by Bill Oberst, Jr. and Brad Potts as Mann, the main detective in the film, Ditch easily defines itself as a revenge and/or slasher movie with substance.

Jed Bundy



Leaked scene:


(Many thanks to Megan Waters for providing me with the screener.)

(Provided by Producer Megan Waters)

Though there were no ghosts or paranormal activities called for in the script, the final shoot location, Vick’s layer was haunted by a real ghost  named Charlene.  According to the property owner “Charlene” is the reason he abandon living in the large villa.    On the first location scout with the creative team, Producer Megan Waters called out to the spirits and asked for permission to film in peace with a promise to return the house back to its original state.   That did not ease Charlene  the ghost as props, car keys, tools, gear, wardrobe and set decorations would go missing and then re appear.    On the final day, Charlene the ghost appeared to the producer as she was cleaning up.   Charlene look directly at the producer and then to the house; then disappeared.  It was a chilling moment.

All gore special f/x were mechanical and done in the lens.  This was a goal  and vision of the creative team.   We all wanted to make it gush blood for real.  Everyone on the cast and crew were covered in the red concoction and pig guts at one point or another.  Even the set dog Leo (Orange fluffy 13 year old Chow), who liked to roll in puddles to cool off got past the hot set signs and rolled in fake blood!    Leo got into so much he had to get fully shaved down. This was a dark day on set.  The silver lining in his buzz cut revealed he had skin cancer and got treatment for it.   They never would have found the cancer if he had not rolled in the blood.

Though “Vick” liked his axe. He also employed other killing tools to get the job done.
In a very complicated kill scene the original intended tool would not work so at the last moment the scene was extended and a few more famous lines were adlib to make room for a chain saw to finish the job.   It was a gushing bloody finish to the scene and a big relief to the team.

The Ditch Party house is tucked away in quite Huntington Beach cul de sac.  The house belongs to the writers’ cousin.   We were so lucky to be given this shoot location.   The team and cast both lived and filmed in the house.   The local neighbors were  very supportive of the project even when the fake blood came up the street drains and flowed for 3 blocks.     The crew did respond quickly and mopped up the mess.

While shooting the fish tank scene the crew took bets on which fish would go for the bate first.   No one bet on the crabs we all had our money on the eel.   Lesson learned: Never underestimate the little guys.  The crabs got is first on all three takes!

Most challenging role to cast:  MAX
3 different actors were cast in this role
24 hours before principal photography the actor set to play Max dropped out.    Gabriel De Santi originally cast to play “Bill” was approached about the role and accepted.  De Santi got the humor of the role and really brought Max to life.    The role of Bill was then cast and magnificently performed by Kyle Morris.

10 gallons of fake blood was mixed up on set.  Husband and wife special F/X and make team, Josh and Serria Russell.  Kept their blood mix master recipe a secret.    Josh Russell is also a talent singer and songwriter.  His song “An open letter to Taylor Swift” is featured in the film.

The role of Trina is played by a real Suicide Girl.  Pandie Suicide

The film was shot in 16 days and 1 pick up day.

The final 4 days of production the full crew had to camp on a remote ranch property.  To keep the crew fed a fridge was brought into the middle of the wilderness and plugged into the RV hook  up.  It was pretty funny to see a bright white fridge in the middle of the bushes.  Cast and crew both posed with the appliance to commemorate the experience.

None of the actors in the beer chugging scene had ever shot gunned a beer.  The punctured beer cans sprayed everywhere and the cast busted up laughing.  The take was use because it’s authentic that these kids probably would not have known how to shot gun beer.