Can You Survive Rob Zombie’s Evil Death War? “31” review!

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Traveling across a remote highway, five carnival workers journey to their next small top gig on Halloween day in 1976. Stopped by scarecrow-like figures in the middle of the road, the carnies find themselves led into a hostile trap and are kidnapped, held hostage to be poorly prepped for the dilapidated warehouse “Murderworld.” The violent death labyrinth is set for a hellish game entitled “31”, launched yearly by the sadist Father Death with Sister Serpent and Sister Dragon, that pits the captive against a series of killers, specialized in their own brand of merciless murder. To survive inside “Murderworld,” you have to stay alive for 12 hours in the dark, dank warehouse.
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After a self produced campaign, a hefty amount of soul crushing crowdfunding, and a slew of production and distribution ups and downs, “House of a 1000 Corpses” director and shock rocker Rob Zombie was finally able to release this year his latest horror installment “31” since 2012’s “The Lords of Salem.” Lionsgate acquires the home entertainment rights to deliver “31” with a R-rated version of the Zombie’s claimed return to roots horror. The survival slasher, when compared to the director’s other work, capitalizes as the most seriously disturbed work to date, but the premise is not particularly original. We’ve all seen the placing of disoriented victims in a life or death game scenario before; Schwarzenegger’s “The Running Man,” based off the Stephen King novel, strikes many similarities, closely relating the two films by sheer plot alone. With Zombie’s “31,” the differences stagger between the main characters being simple carnies looking for a place in the world and “Murderworld” not being a total dystopian future of skewed justice. Instead, the shock rocker pens in his own ‘motherfucking’ motivations of satanic rituals to filthy the pot of sadism and mayhem.
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Overall, I thought “31’s” characters were inviting and interesting even if they’re a cookie-cutter roster engineered by the likes of Rob Zombie. The idea is good to have five ordinary folks enduring a 12 hours bout of being hunted by a pint sized nazi enthusiast, a pair of chainsaw wielding hillbilly whack jobs, a tall German in a pink tutu and his Harley Quinn modeled femme fatale, and, then, there’s Doom-Head, portrayed by the impeccable Richard Brake. My first experience with Brake came from another facet of the word ‘doom,’ 2005’s “Doom,” to be exact, the adaptation of the popular id Software survival horror video game, and even then did Brake have the outer shell of a complete sleaze ball, dipped in an indescribable amount of pure malevolence. Rob Zombie is able to tap into Brake’s true potential with Doom-Head, an egocentric nihilist professionally suited for murder while oozing with unapologetic shamelessness. Along with Brake lies co-stars very familiar from prior Zombie films and these individuals are Jeff Daniel Phillips, deeply blue-eyed Meg Foster, and Judy Geeson from “The Lords of Salem,” the legendary Malcolm McDowell and Lew Temple from the “Halloween” remake, and, of course, Sheri Moon Zombie, the dedicated wife who stars in everything the man does from movies to music videos. Rounding out the film has Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Kevin Jackson, Jane Carr, Pachno Moler, David Ury, Torsten Voges, and “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’s” Elizabeth Daily on the docket.
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The problem with the characters are not that their ‘cookie-cutter’ characters, as I aforementioned, but rather their just well, well under written. Developmentally, almost every character becomes wasted space, floating stagnantly across the 103 minute runtime. For the hunters aside from Doom-Head, they’re backgrounds are mysterious which fits the rules of “31.” Doom-Head is a different story because he’s the golden child of “Murderworld,” spoken very highly by Father Murder and graced with so much monologuing that it’s absurdly comical and, unfortunately, predictable. As far as the carnies are concerned, most of the group never blooms into relevancy and I couldn’t help but to root for most of their savage deaths. Sheri Moon Zombie’s Charly character was the slice of life, the slither hope, that showed promise. Yeah, Charly looks and sounds much like Baby Firefly, but Charly is a fantasy heroine with a modest range of emotions and when even faced with defeat, she’s stands strong.
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Though I wanted “31” to exceed all my expectations with the promise of untapped brutality, here we stand with a cut version Rob Zombie’s crowdfunded film. I’m interested in what exactly hit the cutting room floor because, just taking in “31” at first viewing, every single scene could be remedied by reimplementing, if any, omitted scenes. From my understanding, Rob Zombie submitted the survival horror numerous times to the MPAA in order to purposely retrieve a R-Rating and the ending result suggests a heavily cut film: off camera moments of attack, choppy warehouse segments, unintended shortened character developments, etc. Something more must be behind the scenes that holds back a fan well-deserved and fan well-funded unrated version and I’m not totally knocking this rated Lionsgate release, but a perception has been cemented on the fact that fans were promised an unadulterated Rob Zombie spook show and ended up not getting what they paid for ultimately.
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Lionsgate Home Entertainment will be releasing the Saban Films’ “31” on Blu-ray on December 20th in 1080p High Definition with a 16×9 widescreen 2.46:1 presentation and an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. A DVD version is also available. The presentation is in the detail of the image quality with only some minor dialogue loss, slightly muddled amongst the levels, in the DTS track. Certainly not a disparaging opinion, but once in close quarters, such as the carnies’ van, the ambiance hum of the engine, the tires on the road, and the jingle-jangle of objects in the van drown out parts of dialogue from Meg Froster and Jeff Daniel Phillips. An impressive 2-hour comprehensive documentary on the making of the film entitled “In Hell Everybody Loves Popcorn” and an audio commentary with writer-director Rob Zombie completes the bonus material. “31” feels like a Rob Zombie film; the rocker’s trash talking grit and loads of rockabilly swag leaves his unique brand seared into the horror scene, but Zombie’s “Murderworld” story is a promise-filled return to roots sensation for the director. Honestly, Zombie never strayed from his grungy grindhouse of inhuman torture and death origins, but only for a fleeting moment, and so “31” stays the abrasive, distasteful course that’ll speak, like in cult comprehensible tongues, to only his fan base.

Rob Zombie’s “31” on Blu-ray!

“31” on Motherfuckin’ DVD!

American Horror Story: Freak show… freakin’ hell

American Horror Story: Freak Show
Season 4 Episode 1 “Monsters among us”

Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling.  The scene in which he pleasures an ordinary housewife with his lobster-like hands.

Evan Peters as Jimmy Darling.
The scene in which he pleasures an ordinary housewife with his lobster-like hands.


American Horror Story hit our screens after a largely anticipated return. We were quickly introduced to Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) and the other characters. Jessica Lange performs brilliantly and it was a surprise to find out that she isn’t just fame-hungry. She’s paraplegic and fame-hungry. Evan Peters is back with lobster hands, playing Jimmy Darling. We meet the very likeable Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson). The relationship between the two is funny and very entertaining to watch. We see Ma Petite played by Jyoti Amge, who is actually the smallest woman in the world – claiming a Guinness Book of World Records title. Providing the terror in the first episode, and possibly the title, is Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). If killing an innocent couple isn’t enough, he also keeps two young children locked up and terrifies them to the point of torture. “There’s a big story that explains the clown and what he’s doing that’s based on an urban myth we uncovered” revealed director Ryan Murphey. It is the fourth season that will explain to us what we are eager to know about Twisty, so stay tuned.
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Kathy Bates comes across far too tame playing the bearded lady. Her acting skills are capable of providing a more sinister and malicious character… but this could be exposed throughout the season. We will meet Angela Bassett next week who is Desiree Dupree, the three-breasted lady (and according to her a “full-blown hermaphrodite”). We are also yet to meet con artist Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) and strongman played by actor Michael Chiklis.
Erika Ervin, Jyoti Amge, Evan Peters and Mat Fraser (Amazon Eve, Ma Petite, Jimmy ‘Lobster-hands’ Darling and Paul the illustrated seal).

Erika Ervin, Jyoti Amge, Evan Peters and Mat Fraser (Amazon Eve, Ma Petite, Jimmy ‘Lobster-hands’ Darling and Paul the illustrated seal).


We know from the previous seasons to expect; brutality, rape, seduction, distressing scenes of violence, racism, discrimination and so on. Sensuality and seductiveness has always been a huge part of the show which has interested us, the mature audience, because of its candid approach. I have never had any issues with the previous scenes of this nature, sure I’ve been like “what the hell” during rape scenes but it’s never disgusted me to the point where I feel nauseous. That is until now. Prior to watching this episode I generally perceived that the freaks were ostracized from the “normal” townsfolk. I wrongly assumed that the freaks would be considered vermin, and that even making eye contact with one could result in receiving the cold shoulder from ordinary people living in the area. What I see instead is quite the opposite. In one scene Jimmy Darling, who has lobster hands, can be seen pleasuring regular women with his deformities. Women are literally lining up to pay for this. We see him moving his lobster hands towards the woman’s sex, leaving absolutely no room for doubt that he is prostituting his deformed hands. This left me feeling slightly bewildered more than anything because I just cannot believe that that many women, if any, would be sexually intrigued by this man with lobster-like hands. The moment of nausea smacked me in the face when we see Elsa Mars watching a video reel. A young woman enters threatening to expose all of the shenanigans happening behind the scenes at the freak show. It soon becomes clear that the young woman was willingly high on opium and whilst she was so, she took part in a sex orgy with the freaks. This is the most unsettling scene American Horror Story has offered us to date. Pepper getting excited like a child in the clip intensified my feeling of horror and I was left feeling utterly shocked. If the programme continues to show these depraved acts, which I’m sure they will, I’m not sure how much my stomach will be able to handle.
Jessica Lange and Jyoti Amge (Paraplegic and world’s smallest woman)

Jessica Lange and Jyoti Amge (Paraplegic and world’s smallest woman)

The House that Holds Evil! “Slasher House” review!

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Here is an entertaining little piece of UK slasher horror that will sure be appreciated as well as thrilling. “Slasher House” had finished filming and was wrapped up in a nice bow two years ago but, finally, made an appearance on DVD just last year in the UK. A whole another year later and “Slasher House” hits retail shelves this past Tuesday in the States – about damn time – courtesy of Sector 5 Films. In all honestly, the good old USA missed out on releasing “Slasher House” as this English film’s crew and cast were the highlights of turning a run of the mill survival film into a great little unknown gem of a movie.

Red wakes up stark naked in a cell of a grungy rundown prison. Plagued with amnesia, she can’t remember who she is let alone how she how she got here. When her cell door opens up, Red discovers she isn’t alone as their other captives, but these captives are not so innocent. Within these iron bars and walls, she is trapped with notorious serial killers who are being released from the cells one by one. With no way out in sight, Red must elude the killers as they hunt for her in the corridors. There are more sinister means behind this game, but she must go through the players first to find out why she’s here and who she really is.
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Leading lady Eleanor James was labeled one of Britain’s new age scream queens. Though she delivers no real scream here in “Slasher House,” James’ character resembles more of Milla Jovovich’s Alice character in the Resident Evil series – more so with the red dress, calm demeanor, and feistiness with less kung fu, ESP abilities. Her performance as Red has you rooting for her all the way because she is the first and last “last girl” in “Slasher House” against a handful of murderous sonuvabitches.
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Each notorious slasher has a trademark and a unique personality – a child killer, an operator, a brute, a dual personality – leaving no room for boring characters. Their backstories are briefly told in a flashback anecdote just short enough to give you their whole persona. The plot is a bit more complex than it’s unique cast of characters. I like the idea of bringing a lineup of serial killer allstars into a dirty old prison and letting them face off. I wish there was more of that. Half of “Slasher House” was trying to find an exit and the other half was escaping the maniacs. No real dull moments plagued the film, but with a premise that involves a battle royal amongst the worst of the worst, you would think you’d be up against a blood spattered wall and heads would be constantly rolling. The other half of my mind says the slowed down story goes better with a film like this to build the characters up for a great and glorious downfall.
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“Slasher House” plays out like a graphic novel and could be well turned into one. A great one in fact. “Slasher House” also delivers a twist ending that you won’t see coming until the very end! Speaking of the movie’s end, the open ending doesn’t explain much to the character’s situation. One could only guess to the purpose behind the game, but none of the plans are plainly explained.
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“Slasher House” is a must buy from Sector 5 Films. Two years have I waited for a film like this that could entertain me on a budget while pulling off major production status. I’m very impressed by director MJ Dixon and his vision and his future is bright with indie pictures and possibly get a gig in Hollywood if he keeps turning out good films. If you have a fear of clowns you may want to stay away; other than that, pick this DVD up that was released this past Tuesday the 26th!

More “31” Production Art!

From what I’m seeing from these production art release, I’m getting more and more interested in seeing what this new Rob Zombie film has in store. A new production art was released and it’s more clowns and more scantily clad women. I’m not complaining!

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The synopsis of “31” involves five random people being kidnapped five days before Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World – a man-made hell of a structure where survival is the key as anything goes including, you guessed it, murder. The “contestants” have 12 hours to survive, from what I can tell by the concept art, clown masked clad killers and if the hostages survive, they’ll earn their freedom.

Rob Zombie’s Fan-Backed Film “31”

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With a slew of film rumors ever since his last film project The Lords of Salem, from his involvement with a remake of The Blob (that never panned out) to his rumored long hiatus from making another film, Rob Zombie has become something of an enigma, but then again, that was always the super-rocker’s persona and style. Now, Mr. Zombie is back to doing another film, this time funded by a fan-backed project website entitled simply enough as FanBacked.com, called “31” that is described as being “a fast paced, mean dirty film for those who like it rough.” Most of Zombie’s films are fast paced, mean, and dirty and some even described his style as “white trash” with his archetypes of trailer trash, profanity filled characters. Thats how we like it, isn’t it? We all know what a Rob Zombie film feels and sounds like and we dig his style of filmmaking.
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The synopsis of “31” involves five random people being kidnapped five days before Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World – a man-made hell of a structure where survival is the key as anything goes including, you guessed it, murder. The “contestants” have 12 hours to survive, from what I can tell by the concept art, clown masked clad killers and if the hostages survive, they’ll earn their freedom.
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So far there have been numerous contributors. If you would like to contribute, there are different tier to which you can grab some swag for your contributions – a signed DVD copy, a “31” T-shirt, a limited edition “Halloween” mask – just to name a few. Check out the FanBacked.com site here and have a stake in the film. Lets see if you’re hard earned cash can make “31” a gorehound’s dream.

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