Evil Isn’t Home. “Death House” review!


Top law enforcement agents, Boon and Novak, achieve special access through steep sacrifice during job assignments and are permitted to tour their upcoming placement in the highly exclusive Death House, the ultimate maximum and multi-level penitentiary home to the nastiest criminals known to society and the deadly threat to mankind in a metaphysical way. Death Houses uses virtual reality to keep inmates stimulated to the point of calm submission as well as drugging the homeless and the unwanted to supply killers with victims upon victims in an their personalized virtual surroundings, but when an outsider uses an EMP to knock out all power within the facility, the cages are open and the ruthless animals are free to overrun, beating to death the guards and staff. Boon and Novak must fight their way to the bottom level that hold the Five Evils, criminals with grotesque supernatural abilities and a wickedly grisly past, where the two agents believe the Evils are their best hope for survial against a Five Evils acolyte named Sieg and his faithful jailhouse followers.

Considered as “The Expandables” of horror, “Death House” had gained almost instant fandom solely from the long-list of horror icons in the cast. Director B. Harrison Smith (“Camp Dread”) re-writes most of Gunnar Hansen’s original “Death House” story produced by Cleopatra Entertainment and Entertainment Factory. Cleopatra Entertainment is more notably a music label that has delved into films the last few years and, in my opinion, haven’t faired positively in the horror genre, but “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” star fought tooth and nail to try and get his script off the ground, even in the face of death. “Death House” saw release after Hansen’s death, but from interviews with the filmmakers, Smith had almost totally revamped the original treatment, leaving The Evil’s at Hansen’s request if his script was to be entirely cleaned. Shot right in this reviewer’s backyard of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the historic Eastern State Penitentiary, the defunct prison is an ideal location as the “Death House” due in part to John Haviland’s separate cell design and gritty appeal that was once of the home of Al Capone, but more of the focus is on the interior than exterior with green scenes and Los Angeles shots constructing the story-lined scenes.

Like aforementioned, “Death House” has been called the “The Expendables” of horror. An immense, if not soaked, cast of horror fan favorites are peppered about around the main characters of Agent Boon and Novak. “Sushi Girl” and “Zombeavers” star Courtney Palm embodies the Agent Boon character with G-man toughness, but finds difficulty leaving that b-horror mentality with shakiness in working climatic scenes. Palm’s also roped into doing an extremely gratuitous shower scene with Cody Longo (“Piranha 3D”) as Agent Novak. Novak’s a hotshot and Longo has the looks and the talent to out perform his character, but Smith’s script doesn’t do justice to either Boon or Novak’s character that blatantly underwhelms their performances with cameo star power and a shoddy narrative. Dee Wallace (“Cujo”), Barbara Crampton {“Re-Animator”), and Kane Hodder (“Jason Goes to Hell”) have prominent roles that are pertinent to the story and are enjoyable to see them in more of a supporting capacity. Andrenne Barbeau {“The Fog”), Sid Haig (“The Devil’s Rejects”), Vernon Wells (“The Road Warrior”), Bill Moseley {“The Devil’s Rejects”), Lloyd Kaufman (Mr. Troma), Michael Berryman (“The Hills Have Eyes”), Tony Todd (“Candyman”), Sean Whalen (“The People Under the Stairs”), Debbie Rochon (“Killer Rack”), Bill Oberst Jr. (“Deadly Revisions”), Felissa Rosa (“Sleepaway Camp”), Danny Trejo (“Machete”), Tiffany Shepis (“Abominable”), Brinke Stevens (“The Slumber Party Massacre”), Camille Keaton (“I Spit On Your Grave”), Gunnar Hansen (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and R.A. Mihailoff (“Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). Whew. Rounding out the remaining cast is Lindsay Harley (“Nightmare Nurse”), Vincent M. Ward (“The Walking Dead”), and Bernhard Forcher.

While the genre star-studded ensemble cast is a wet dream for horror fans, “Death House” fails in numerous filmmaking categories with the first being the most important, the script. Smith’s re-work of Hansen’s original story requires another drastic once-over, or two, as the final result attempts to push, stuff, and cram 100 lbs of multi-subgenre elements into a 10 lb, inflexible bag, cramping the ambitious project with dis-connective storyline tissue braced together with shoddy visual effects, like the two agents free-falling down a bottomless elevator shaft and able to precisely shoot their targets on each level. The overall result of “Death House” just endures an unfinished varnish and seems slapped together with pre-schooler glue and claggy spit. Singular moments surface as diamond specks amongst cubic zirconias, like the Mortal Kombat fatality-esque practical effects, but are too far and in between to muster up an enjoyable film. The Five Evils definitely and desperately needed more presence in the story instead of just flexing the talking heads muscle; well, the only two Evils to say anything at all were Bill Moseley and Vernon Wells. The Five Evils didn’t quite have that oomph to be a force to be dealt with as Gold-described beings who philosophical interpretations on the concept of good and evil.

Cleopatra Entertainment and MVDVisual present B. Harrison Smith’s long-anticipated “Death House” onto DVD home video. The unrated, all-region DVD is presented in a widescreen format that displays some frayed flaws like contrast; there’s way too much inky black in the dark scenes and little-to-no definition in more visible sequences. The compression suffers from blotchy artefacts at times too and lacks hues, which works with the gritty tone inside the Eastern State Penitentiary’s decomposing walls of rubble and decay. Visual effects are glossy with virtually no textures to give detail or, essentially, life amongst the continuous death. Bonus features include multiple interviews with director B. Harrison Smith, Courtney Palm, and more. Also included is a behind-the-scenes feather, a gallery slideshow, and theatrical trailer. Despite being true to the title and highly anticipated since it’s inception into the public market, “Death House” ultimately disappointments as an unfurnished mess enlisted with big names in the horror domain that’ll unfairly sell the film on it’s own, but all-star cameos won’t establish “Death House” as a solidified cult favorite, being unfortunately one of the biggest release flops of 2018.

Evil Medical Technicians. “Old 37” review!

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Under the sadistic thumb of their ruthless father, two physically and mentally abused brothers as children follow in their father’s footsteps in adulthood, falsely portraying to be EMT’s in old ambulance 37 and slaughtering those who desperately need medical attention on an infamous and isolated stretch of road. When the brothers’ loving mother becomes the victim of a hit and run by a group of young teens, the brothers’ quest to kill gets personal. Unbeknownst to them as the brothers’ targeted prey, the arrogant and rowdy teens live their complex and immature lives, overflowing with trivial matters such as fast cars, dating, and cosmetic surgeries.
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“Old 37” (aka “Ambulance 37” or aka “Death Call”) wrecks before reaching the finish line. Bittersweetly, the story by Paul Travers, written also by Paul Travers and Joe Landes, is an interesting concept of life savers taking lives and, interestingly enough, a similar idea was in the news recently where a supposed unmarked cop cart pulls over young women, but the driver is actually a cunning rapist instead of an actual officer of the law. “Old 37” is essentially art mimicking real life.  We feel safe when an emergency civil servant or agent is present or tells us not to worry, as exhibited in “Old 37.”  “Don’t worry, I’m a paramedic,” says one of the demented brothers.
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“Old 37” greatly has much going for the Three Point Capital funded movie.  Three Point Capital has backed many other notable films such as “Insidious:  Chapter 2,” “Nightcrawler,” and Kevin Smith’s “Red State.”  Partnered up with Joe Dante’s “Burying the Ex’s” post-production company Siren Digital, the two companies had the mucho dinero to sleekly design, which it does, and to hire a moderately formidable cast, which they do.  Kane Hodder and Bill Moseley headline, being the pair of horror icons forced to be reckoned with, and slide into the shoes of the two ambulance driving, bloodthirsty brothers, intercepting 911 calls via their scanner for victims.  Hodder hasn’t lost that Jason Voorhees gait and menacing body motions and Moseley, without even trying, has the uncanny ability to sinister up an entertaining and terrifying persona. Together on screen, a powerhouse of an unimaginable magnitude as they are, hands down, the highlight of “Old 37.”
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With high-end production value and two of probably the most prolific names in horror attached, what could go wrong? Well, the first wrong is “Old 37” is mostly an unfunny teen comedy rather than a horror movie. It’s more “She’s All That,” than “Scream.” It’s more “American Pie,” than “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” It’s more “10 Things I Hate About You,” than…you get the picture. Horror didn’t surface into full eligibility until about the last 20 minutes with the archetypical final girl chase finale and even then was the horror story still underdeveloped. The teen characters’s lives are too complex as they take over the story, including one awkward, self-loathing lead character, Samantha, eager to fit in (even though she does), eager to look beautiful (which she already does), and eager to obtain breast augmentation (though she doesn’t need them). The breast enhancement scenes drastically change the direction of the film, throwing me for a serious loop for various reasons: Samantha gets the okay right away when she asks her mother for new breasts, she gets new breasts in a matter of days, and she isn’t sore or in pain directly after receiving them. Time is an illusion when two the contrasts display Samantha throughout going forward from the entire beginning to end process for new flesh pillows while one of her crude friends gets murdered. Something doesn’t add up.
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Special effects guy Pete Gerner and his talented crew do blood spattering justice with the sanguinary written murders and while I feel the brutality and the blood is amongst the film’s aurora, the gooey gory scenes are quickly edited, taking away the time to where we can’t fully appreciate, fully engulf, nor fully digest the “I Sell The Dead” Gerner effects. The final nail in the coffin is director Alan Smithee. If you Google Alan Smithee, results will show that Alan Smithee is a pseudonym used by directors who want to disown a project. Christian Winters removed his name from “Old 37” because he thought his control over the film wasn’t his anymore. And that’s fairly accurate as “Old 37” seems and feels incomplete, much like Rob Schmidt’s 2011 unfinished debacle “Bad Meat,” directed under his pseudonym Lulu Jarmen, and just like “Bad Meat,” “Old 37” has the potential, the substance, and the talent to what could have been a solid horror narrative.

Overall, “Old 37” has the financial backing, has some serious blood that made the cut, has a great soundtrack assortment, and has motherfuckin’ Bill Moseley and Kane Hodder. What the disowned film lacks is a well-written narrative, contains poorly written and idiotic teenage characters, and needs a director with an eye for direction instead of a producer with greedy big pockets. “Old 37,” under the name “Death Call,” will be hitting DVD shelves from UK distributor High Fliers films. If you’re a fan of Hodder and Moseley, but don’t expect a typical horror movie as this film goes through multiple genre transitions and doesn’t settle just on one at any point. There is one delicate scene of Olivia Alexander which I’m sure will be pleasing to any viewer.

The Evil Dr. Is in! House of the Witchdoctor Review!

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Who doesn’t love Bill Moseley? The loud mouth, sarcastic-trash talking, balls-to-the-fucking-wall, maniac characters swirl him into a familiar role that have been overly typecast by general audience standards, yet we, as the audience, love every minute Moseley is on screen – Otis Firefly from Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects” for instance. Hell even Johnny from Tom Savini’s “Night of the Living Dead” gave Johnny a more twisted outlook on his short lived life. The same maniacal Moseley archetype reveals itself once again in House of the Witchdoctor along side a timeless buxom blonde and reoccurring co-cast member Leslie Easterbrook.
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A young and beautiful Leslie Van Hooten and her four grad-study friends retreat to the Van Hooten home to help Leslie cope with the anniversary of her fiance’s brutal and shocking death one year ago. Peter (Bill Moseley) and Irene (Leslie Easterbrook) Van Hooten leave the family home for the weekend, giving the young group a chance to give Leslie a feeling of peace and relaxation during her time of suffering. However, a peaceful weekend is interrupted by a career criminal Cliff (played by Allan Kayser) and his drug fueled sidekick Buzz as they break into the Van Hooten home looking to rape and torture the women and steal from Leslie rich parents. What Cliff and Buzz don’t realize is that they have unleashed hell upon themselves breaking into a house that isn’t all quaint and innocent as it seems.
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“House of the Witchdoctor” prides itself more toward the torture, rape, and murder that falls upon the young grad students than more toward the actual focus of what the title suggest – the Casa de El Witchdoctor. And while I enjoy a good torture scene between dirty old criminals and the naive youth of the nation, the witchdoctor intrigued me more because the subject matter of voodoo and witchdoctors are hardly explored anymore. “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” “American Horror Story” Season 3, and, well the “Candyman” trilogy, is all I can really account for voodooism. Aside from the lack of witchdoctor and witchdoctor activities, the misbehaving activities of Cliff and Buzz are quite enjoyable as their rampage is non-stop, their carnage reaping is continuities, and their true to their snake tongue speak. Buzz especially since this is actor’s David Willis feature film and his long, yet balding greasy hair and beer-belly gut attributes really play to Buzz’s low-life persona. Cliff is a bit of an enigma; coming from a religious home and being just release from prison, my first thought is that Cliff is a converted convict. The two minutes of his scenes are deceiving and you’re beliefs about Cliff will turn your head around so fast your neck might snap.
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Leslie (Callie Stephens) travels home with a group of stereotypical archetypes that are commonly used in horror films such as the sex-crazed best friend Regina (Emily Bennett), her jock boyfriend Tom (Danny Miller), their religiously prude friend Patty (Summer Bills) and the nerd wimp Thad (Jonathan Helvey). I’m surprised that wasn’t a token black actor who tossed around quick quips, but I guess you just can’t have it all. Surprisingly enough, all three lead actresses show their racks! Woohoo! That in itself makes up for the usage of common archetypes and yet those scenes were more-or-less gratuitous – some more than others. Character development could have been improved especially since Thad and Patty had some sort of weird relationship arrangement where they together, yet not on holding hand terms due to religious beliefs. In turn, their religion background, along with Cliff’s religious background, would have been a good contrast with the Haitian voodoo, but the mark was missed. Also, Regina and Tom couldn’t stop with the overzealousness of their hormones and so their development was skewed. Leslie had more going for her character in which she would reminisce alone about her murdered fiance, but this is confusing in later on scenes when the shit hits the witchdoctor’s fan. We’re more in tune with Buzz and Cliff’s characters than really anybody else’s. Even Leslie parents, Peter and Irene, are simplified characters who deserve more background. But like I said at the start of this review, Bill Moseley could bring any character life even a limp one.
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“House of the Witchdoctor” breaks the mold with a couple of good scumbags and will forever terrorize your dreams about being home alone. Also, a good amount of iconic cult star power doesn’t hurt and along side Moseley, Easterbrook, and Kayser are Dyanne Thorne (the ferociously buxom and nasty nazi Ilsa of the “Ilsa She Wolf of the SS”) and Howard Maurer (Also famed from an Ilsa film “Ilsa Harem Keeper of the Oil Shieks). Breaking Glass Pictures plan to release “House of the Witchdoctor” on DVD on September 16th!

Nudity Report

Emily Bennett - Chest

Emily Bennett – Chest

Callie Stephens - T&A

Callie Stephens – T&A

Summber Bills - Chest

Summber Bills – Chest