EVIL Watches from the Shadows. “The Lurker” reviewed! (Indican Pictures / Screener)


A gruesome murder has brought a looming shadow over a high school. However, the shadow is not great enough to thwart the spirits of a group of thespian high school seniors in the throes of their last Shakespearian performances of the year of Romeo and Juliet. Determined to excel, the peer admired Taylor Wilson keeps her college acceptance hopes high on her well-received nightly performances as Juliet, but when a terrible secret involving Taylor begins to circulate through the school body, friendship and enemy ties begin become taut with tension. Simultaneously, those with knowledge of Taylor’s secret are being killed off one-by-one by a deranged killer in a black, long nose masquerade mask.

“The Lurker” is a 2019 American slasher film from the first attempt at horror-director Eric Liberacki, whose legs have been grounded in short film cinematography work over the past 2010 decade with “The Pale Man” being his sole feature length credit. Liberacki’s sophomore directorial is written by the “The Pale Man” screenwriter and short film director, John Lerchen, who’s scribes the slasher version of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” starring hormone-driven and backstabbing high school seniors on a thespian high. “The Lurker” re-imagines the high school dramatics to further dig into taboo subtexts worthy of a Jerry Springer talk show episode and interweaves a non-linear narrative, filled with flashback mystery, due suspicion, and the utmost desire to know what secret Taylor Wilson is being exploited against her preservability. “The Lurker” is a joint venture between John Lerchen’s production company, Forever Safe Productions, and Silva Shots.

One thing, right off the bat, that heedlessly seems erroneous for the story is casting Scout Taylor-Compton in the lead role of Taylor Wilson. And here’s why. From 2007 to 2019, the now 30-year-old actress has played a high school student in Rob Zombie’s remake of “Halloween” and in “The Lurker.” While Taylor-Compton is a natural beauty who seemingly defies all physics of aging and her performance is solid, the once Laurie Strode portraying actress from Long Beach, California emits a now mature glow in life and rehashing another character in a high school slasher is ultimately beneath and behind her. Aside from her counterpart co-star Michael Emery being roughly the same age, the rest of Taylor Wilson’s entourage are in their internship-status, post-college years of the early 20s, including Kali Skatchke, Casey Tutton, Isabel Thompson, Emmaline Skillicorn, and Marissa Banker. Juxtaposing against a young cast, as a sort of out with the old and in with new or to brighten with short strands of genre highlights, is the minor roles and cameos of recognizable faces and film royalty, such as Ari Lehman (“Friday the 13th), Naomi Grossman (“American Horror Story: Asylum”), and, most surprisingly, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, the daughter of Martin Scorsese, playing Taylor’s mother. The cast rounds out with Charles Johnston, Rikki Lee Travolta, Eddie Huchro, Bruce Spielbauer, Roy Rainey, Josh Morris, and Walter S. Bernard.

“The Lurker” has textbook aspects going for it in the case of an above par production value of fancy editing and set locations, a cache of young and seasoned talented actors, and a story with a twist ending, but that nagging itch gnawing from the back of my skull, slowly inching one molecule at a time, toward the core of my brain informs me that the Liberacki’s slasher misses the intended mark if only by a fingertip attached to a severed pinky. The story tries to sell an alternate version of itself that becomes inane from predictability at the very starting gate and continues trucking an exemplum despite giving away too much, too early. Surrounding the conundrum of calamity building to the potential proverb of shit hitting the fan is a paradigmatic slasher flick with a masked killer murdering toward the technique of a final girl narrative. Yet, “The Lurker’s” kills weren’t terribly flashy and were really met with an uninspired creativity to assist in drawing and sustaining captivation of a ruthless assailant over an abundance the teenage melodramatics, which essentially ran amok. We really shouldn’t have been surprised at the narrative’s untroubled tone because the first kill in the opening scene was inside the school and the school was open the very next day; in today’s day and age, school would have been closed for the rest of the week, if not the rest of the academic year, for bereavement and investigation.

Come down with a serious case of stage fright with “The Lurker” coming to DVD home video and now out on various digital platforms, including renting and buying options on Amazon, distributed by Indican Pictures. The visual and audio review portion for this release will not be covered since a screener copy was provided; however, the DVD will be presented in the original widescreen presentation of an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. With a check disc, there were also no bonus material to review as well as no bonus material before the credits and before or after the credits. John Lerchen and Eric Liberacki’s first crack at full length horror is a win in my book with a complex web streamed of lies, deceits, and snuff, but, with a little fine tuning, “The Lurker” could have sheered to a bigger, better 80 minutes.

Rent or Buy “The Lurker” on Prime Video!!!

Pornstar Priya Rai Couldn’t Erect this Evil! “Isis Rising: Curse of the Lady Mummy” review!

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King Osiris and his black magic queen Isis rule ancient Egypt and were beloved by all. All except Osiris’s brother Set whose envy led to the murderous slain of Osiris. Isis, heartbroken and vengeful, tries to use her black magic to rise Osiris from the grave and seek revenge on all who wished their demise. In the middle of Isis’s ritual, Set interrupts and decides to dismember his brother’s body in order for the ritual not come to fruition and snaps Isis’s neck to ensure his will, but Isis’s vow to return and curse anyone who stands in her way. Present day, a college research group along side an Egyptian historian stay overnight at a closed history museum to study closely lost Egyptian artifacts. Isis’s spirit is accidentally released from her sarcophagus and seeks to finish what she began by taking the body parts from the research students in order to reconstruct the body her love Osiris and put the world into an eternal damnation.

“Isis Rising: Curse of the Lady Mummy” resembles the much loved late night Cinemax skin flicks without any of the nudity or the sex. All the elements are there: busty women, bad acting, and the underlined plot that is overshadowed by the soft core love scenes. From the DVD cover and the two well established porno industry actors in this film, one would, without a doubt, conclude that “Isis Rising” would fall right into the middle of that sleazy category. What the Lisa Palenica directed film is is a C-movie production that attempts to take itself seriously in the horror genre with completed results that are whole-heartedly felt in micro-budget, non-horrific, and non-stimulating, efforts.
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Priya Rai is a big busted porn star of Indian background and she headlines the film as the vengeful Isis and while Priya isn’t riding the big Egyptian camel hump, her role is severely limited in dialogue and in on screen appearances. Isis’s powers include turning into a digestible body inhabiting mist, fireball conjuring, and teleportation, but Isis’s real threats are her massive chest bombs – bigger and pointier than the great Egyptian pyramids themselves. To be technical about the film’s title, Isis isn’t even a mummy. Yet the film’s subtitle is “Curse of the Lady Mummy.” The definition of mummy is the preservation of the body by removing internal organs and treat the body with resins and wraps. Isis is more like a spiritual demon and this oil should ought to be bettered labeled and regarded as “Curse of the Lady Egyptian” rather than “Curse of the Lady Mummy.” That is, if you wanted to be technical.
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James Bartholet, mainly a supporting actor in all those XXX parody movies, makes his presence felt as the bumbling and perverted security guard Harry. The rest of the cast is rounded out with relatively unknowns with minor film credits to their names. Director Lisa Palenica also had a role in the film as Felicia, the goth girl who probably received one of the better death scenes in the movie. The characters are a rather stereotypical horror ensemble. There is the jock, the nerd, the hot chick, her goth-hipster friend, the nerdy asian girl, and pot head who ends up smoking the resurrection essence that awakens Isis from her slumber dooming all to savagry, as well as seductively, of detaching limbs and heads from the characters’ bodies. The only character that has girth and background value is Isis with her tragic backstory filled with treachery and black magic. Killing off characters is a lot more understandable when there is a motive.
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The special effects are truly shameful, especially in a time where CGI has been perfected to the point where anybody with a Mac computer can create stunning effects. “Isis Risings” doesn’t even seem to try by implementing seriously awkward post-CGI effects, Halloween prop store plastic severed limbs, and even going as far as adding in fake exhaled smoke from our essence-high smokers. Some of the Egyptian scenes in the beginning reminded me of how Mortal Kombat 1 and 2 looked on a Sega Genesis console with the still background and the engaged, superimposed fighters. Some of the more practical effects where encouraging, but only a few scenes had those types of effects.
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“Isis Rising: Curse of the Lady Mummy” resurrects another disappointment in the ever-failing Egyptian related horror genre. When will Brendan Frasier’s “The Mummy” ever be dethroned? Perhaps Alexandre Aja’s “The Pyramid” will be the next ruler of such said genre. Tom Cat Films, a production company much like Asylum Entertainment, develops the film into reality but “Isis” fails to wrap itself into a neat little mummified package of terror. I would rather have seen more of Priya Rai conducting ominously seductive measures in her quest of blood and resurrection and a little more effort in the effects, because if you’re going to have a porn star headline your film, you might as well go all Sasha Grey-out and make the experience worth wild. But don’t take my word for it and judge for yourself by heading over to MVDVisual and purchasing “Isis Rising: Curse of the Lady Mummy.”

Kevin Bacon and the Evil Cult! The Following (TV Series – Ep. 1 Review)

The-followingFox usually has some pretty entertaining shows.  I was a religions Hugh Laurie House M.D. follower and Tim Roth’s Lie To Me really had me going until the show was canceled for some, most likely, idiotic reason.  After that those two shows were no longer running new episodes, I occasionally watched Family Guy, The Simpsons and Football whenever the Detroit Lions were playing.  This new crime/horror thriller show called The Following had aired January 21st and I can’t say I was eager to turn away from Monday night’s The Biggest Loser that airs at the same time that The Following airs.  I’m not ashamed to say that my wife and I caught The Following on On Demand and I’m impressed.  What a great first episode to set up all the characters and their stories and now I am eager enough to start being a religious follower; however, I will not turn away from watching obese people sweat to death and curse at their trainers for a killer’s killer cult.  Something about big people struggling to lose weight has more of an appeal, but thank you On Demand for being so convenient in helping me catching up on my shows (Dexter, American Horror Story: Asylum)!

The Following is about a charismatic and powerfully persuasive English professor Joe Carroll who is also a murderer of young college women to capture the essence of Edgar Alan Poe’s literary work.  FBI agent Ryan Hardy tracks down Carroll and single handedly arrests him despite being stabbed in the heart.  Years later, Carroll escapes just a week before his execution and now the ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy has to once again track him down.  Before Hardy is able to apprehend once again, Carroll sets forth a plan that involves his loyal followers doing his murderous bidding for him which will tie up loose ends and most certainly involved the wash up agent Hardy.

Kevin Bacon in the first episode had a good first impression, but I didn’t empathize with him.  This is not to say that his character will develop more into something more in depth and I can’t wait.  My third eye tells me that there will be more to his character and his story.  Bacon isn’t a stranger to horror (Tremors, Stir of Echos, Flatliners, Friday the 13th) and his performances usually stands out.  I believe in the Bacon.  Plus, with being the brain child of Scream series screenwriter Kevin Williamson, I have no doubt that we’ll get some great thrills.  Episode one delivered some fantastic and dark scenes, especially with Joe Carroll’s potential serial killer prodigy and his dog experiments.  The cast is well rounded out with Shawn Ashmore (Lord of the Rings, Frozen), James Purefoy (Resident Evil) and Natalie Zea.

What I seriously hope to be a brutal series, I kind of have my doubts that this will be anything like American Horror Story.  Unlike it’s more edgier little brother F/X, FOX seems to be a tamer, more conservative counterpart and FOX, much like ABC and NBC, have had too many shows that are a hit and a miss and are canceled before you can say seven degrees of Kevin Bacon.  I see The Following lasting beyond the first season and I see my ass in bed turning in a couple of days after the airing to catch up!  Keep your eye on this one from FOX.