Ancient Aztec EVIL in the Heart of U.S. “American Mummy” review!


A group of anthropology university students discover the remains of a mummified corpse in a New Mexico desert. A dig site is erected and weeks go by as they unearth the entirely wrapped skeleton out from a shallow grave inside a small cave. The work week wraps up and only the weekend crew stays behind to maintain a presence of study and security at the excavation area, but when one of the students, obsessed with notorious legend of Lord Tezcalipoca, performs a primordial blood ritual with the mummy, the student releases hell on Earth when blood tainted by Lord Tezcalipoca become his blood hungry servants and willing acolytes. The skeleton weekend team has to piece together the carnage before rendering themselves helpless against the vehement and poisonous blood of an once almighty Aztec autarch.

Based off the factual historical figure, Tezcatlipoca, that’s TezcaTlipoca which is left out in the film, who was one of the deities in the Aztec religion. In Charles Pinion’s “American Mummy,” Tezcalipoca has a backstory that reflects the “smoking mirror” God as evil divinity and will one day resurrect from his resting place to lay claim to all. Though listed as a 2014 film, the San Fran cannibal “We Await” director, Pinion, actually shot “American Mummy,” also known as “Aztec Blood,” back in 2011 in California and wasn’t released until approximately three years later in 2014. The director pens the script with “Adventures in Pornolands'” Greg Saleman and, together, the duo bring the inverted Aztec lore soiled in blood and wretched with horrible havoc on the land of the free.

“American Mummy,” from the beginning, conjures up, through perhaps it’s own ominous blood ritual, the final girl trope used in many previous horror films prior to, but Pinion and Saleman do their due diligence in building in many other characters who could, with a sliver hope, be the ones left standing by the end of the ordeal. However, from the beginning like mentioned, we can all count on Becca being the survivor to tell the tale of the Mummy madness. Played by “Dick Night’s” Jennifer June Ross, Becca is an obvious shoe in for saving as she bares the least skin. That’s right. “American Mummy” follows all those slasher rules laid out by Randy Meeks in “Scream.” Those who give a little peek-a-boo to their private parts, Carmen (Esther Canata of “Hired Gun”), Connie (Erin Condry), and even the faculty staff who sits around in a mini-kimono for lengthy scenes, professor Jensen (Suziey Block from another Aztec horror – Aztecsploitation? – film “The Aztec Box”), all put their I’m a survivor of an Aztec deity cards into question. The male cast, well, no a lot of hairy backsides to speak about, but their blatant cowardice and slow-witted qualities might as well put them out to pasture. They round out the cast with Aidan Bristow (“All American Zombie Drug”), Aaron Burt, Jack Grimmett, Rudy Marquez, Peter Marr, Rigo Obezo, and even Greg Saleman as the Russian scientist Dr. Lobachevsky in his best Russian language.

In continuing my reign of beating dead horses, I’ve sure I’ve mentioned that mummy films are few and far in between. These types of undead ghouls, though classic, are not the it undead go-to films. Zombies and vampires reign supreme in that department, churning a feature film out every 10 seconds or something like along those lines. To put in simply, “American Mummy” was an anticipated treat from a genre teeter on the edge of literals mortality, but Pinion’s entry is about as desiccated as the genre itself for at least the first two acts that drown out in heaps of abysmal performances, an effortless progression, and a first act that’s peppered with nudity, which is not necessarily a bad thing. No? However, by the climatic end, I ended up enjoying “American Mummy’s” schlocky and immensely gory posture in a very zero to 60 in 1.8 seconds way. I’m not talking infinitely bloody, but Pinion has a splatter third act that can spellbinding despite the obvious technical goofs that give his movie magic secrets. Also, a healthy amount of background research offers a bit of positive authenticity. The burial mask is beautifully faithful and Tezcatlipoca was an Aztecan God.

“American Mummy” comes courteously from Wild Eye Releasing, Tom Cat Films, and MVDVisual onto a not rated, limited edition triple formatted DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D release! Despite being listed as an all region Blu-ray, the playback is locked on region A for those will region adjusting players. Perhaps the first 3D picture to be shot with a pole cam, the image, without 3D glasses, will be an eyesore. Unfortunately, “American Mummy” does not include a pair, you’ve been warned. If by chance you don’t have a stockpile of 3D glasses, have no fear, the 2D version is available on both formats. The lossy English language DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 frailly packs little punch. The uncleaned dialogue suggests bad mic placement and the distortions run rampant through the dialogue mix while the losing much girth muffled by the soundtrack. Topped with shameful cheap foley, the audio expectation was little more than just a simple let down for a film shot in 3D. Bonus features include a miscellanea behind the scenes, a few outtakes, promotion videos, and the official trailer. I think the lack of 3D glasses is the stinger here. Simple bloodshed gratification saves “American Mummy” from being a widely cursed dreck dumpster fire of a film, but don’t embalm, dry-up, and wrap Charles Pinion’s film for entombment in haste, the filmmaker does have some blood he’d like to spill.

Tom Cruise Couldn’t Stop an Aztec Curse! Buy it over at Amazon!

This Babe Becomes an Evil Magnet! “Obsidian Curse” review!


Blair Jensen rode the highlife of drugs and partying until her arrest that separated her from Husband Roberto and her young daughter. Her release a year later thrusts her into a desperate state of self-effacement, swearing to not only to herself, but also to others a clean slate with a life of sobriety and future employment to better her odds at court ordered visitations with her daughter, but while incarcerated, Roberto left for another woman and her family is in the hands of Donna who is eager to do anything in order to stop Blair’s interposing unto her new life, including retaining a witch to invoke the Obsidian curse onto her. The curse attracts all nearby evil toward her. From flesh eating demons and zombies to murderous serial killers and powerful vampires, Blair is constantly on the run and with the help of a former archaeologic professor and his colleagues, she can better understand her dreadful predicament.

“Obsidian Curse” is the 2016 action-horror from schlock and knock-off B-horror director Rene Perez whose brought us such cinematic gems as “The Burning Dead” with Danny Trejo and the “Playing with Dolls” franchise that spawned two sequels, titled “Bloodlust” and “Havoc”. Perez, who also penned the script, has a slight obsession with Obsidian curses as he directed and co-wrote “Obsidian Hearts” in 2014 with nearly an identical premise that begs the question whether Perez just rebooted his own film to tweak and change here and there to gain redemption for initial mistakes? Having never viewed “Obsidian Hearts,” I personally can’t speak upon the film’s merits, but what can be commented about “Obsidian Curse’s” appeal is that the relentless action smothers any kind of insipid narrative traverse and is massively ambitious in wrangling a meshing of a monster mash. Perhaps too massive for it’s budget, Perez roams the locale landscapes as a flawed heroine flees from the flock of fearsome fiends following her like flies to a foul stench. How’s that for alliteration!

Party girl, Blair Jensen, is trying to regain her life after incarceration, but the convicted mother never had a chance. Stripped of her rights and left to fend for herself for the first time, Jensen is at the bottom, starting over, and attempting to claw her way back up the rank to mother of the year with young daughter, but Karin Brauns doesn’t fit the bill. The Swedish-born, blonde beauty is gifted with a paint brush and a canvas, but her talents don’t translate well as the downtrodden Jensen. Perez really over sexualizes her presence from scrip-to-screen that doesn’t seem necessary to the story and Brauns egregiously lacks capturing the struggles of her character’s life changing freedom and the struggles she must endure to survive an all-evil summons. The character is also written and visually portrayed poorly that follows a released felon fallen on hard times having a nice vehicle to drive around, a cell phone to use, and all the makeup applications and hairdo fashions bestowed to the character in every scene. Reggie Bannister should have been the lead, because the “Phantasm” actor really exhibits falling on hard times. Perhaps the most convincing actor on camera, Bannister’s archeological professor is diluted to just a mere paranormal researcher which resembles a shell of his former gun-toting Reggie role. The dimpled chinned Richard Tyson is no longer the seared image of Crisp from “Kindergarten Cop” in my memory bank. The aged actor also fills a professor role in Pere’z film, but, like Bannister, doesn’t register a pulse. Hard to swallow to very screen captivating actors being diminished in performance on a movie that’s engulfed in horror action. Rounding out the cast is former Playboy model Cody Renee Cameron (“The Neon Demon””), John Caraccioli, Julia Lehman (“Constantine” television series), Charlie Glackin (“Playing with Dolls”), and John Scuderi as the Vampire.

While “Obsidian Curse” has entertainment value, the value is rather low on the metric scale. What’s missing from Perez’s film is a rich, engrossing story that requires more than just peppered moments of indistinct human connections spread thin throughout the storyboard action sequences. Blair Jensen might have been the victim of a witch’s dastardly cursed as the bread crumb trail for monsters of countless configurations, but the mother was never tested as, well, a mother whose supposed to be fighting for her daughter and while a scene or two of malicious attacks and chases on Jensen is the rudimentary premise of her plight, the curse never truly agitates into a test of her maternal bond or her compassion for her friends. As far as the overall appearances of the creatures, they check the box as meeting expectations. The rubbery, latex look is conventional of horror creatures in the 1990s and you can see the awkward folds and the distinctive differences between makeup and skin as the two don’t move or mesh appropriately, but the creativity behind the general appearance offers a broad range of antagonists suited for carnage like an empty eye socketed demon with razor teeth who sees by holding up his detached eyeball with a bloody optic nerve dangling about and a vibrant blue vampire with medieval armor and has sexy, disposable women servants.

Breaking Glass Pictures distributes “Obsidian Curse,” in association with High Octane Pictures and iDiC Entertainment, onto DVD home video. The 79 minute feature runs on an single sided, double-layered DVD9 and is exhibited in an widescreen 1.79:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality maintains vibrancy without loosing the edgy details though a large percentage is filtered through a blueish tint. The drone sequences of Blair running through a field, whacking zombies with a basement ball, withstands the picturesque and lush backdrop and even with Blair makes a splash in a creek, the beads of spray really come out in the quality for a DVD. Though quick to edit, the gory scenes are visually tasty too. The digital dual channel audio track is par for the course, but there are some balance issues between score and dialogue that makes Karin Brauns’ accent difficult to interpret. The foley is all out of whack and could use tinkering to hone in or expand upon the range and depth; the repetitive chain rattle used in Blair’s ball and chain chase scene desperately needed to be mixed better. Bonus features include a sole photo gallery. “Obsidian Curse” subsequently cursed itself with a slew of monsters but displayed no character substance to bind the narrative together, leaving Blair’s character arch to flounder in a mindless and endless cycle of bashing in the hostile chromes of enticed evil.

Can’t Spell Devil Without Evil. “The Devil Lives Here” review!

vlcsnap-00003
Every nine months, the vengeful spirit of an atrocity dealing plantation slave owner, known as the Honey Baron, seeps from a cursed slumber to reclaim his once profitable Brazilian manor home. Also, every nine months, caretakers of the manor home resurrect Bento, the once voodoo practicing slave to the malicious Honey Baron, to fortify the longstanding damnation. Until four friends gather to invoke the myth in jest, lightly treading over the forsaken manor home, and getting themselves unwittingly involved in the releasing of Hell on Earth. Caught in the middle between the Honey Baron and Bento, there’s nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide, and noway to distant themselves from an ancient wickedness.
vlcsnap-00007
Directors Dante Vescio and Rodrigo Gasparini’s “The Devil Lives Here” is sorely what the horror community needs and desires, an original vision of spine-tingling Brazilian folklore horror. It’s a damn good story that’s engrossingly rich with captivating characters, virtuous and villainous, simultaneously breeding a delectable devil in São Paulo actor Ivo Müller. From the opening scenes of Müller’s sadist applications upon a humble whimpering slave to the highly climactic and unforgettable shocking end, Vescio and Gasparini details every inch of reel with patience, organization, realism, and a sense of admiration for one of a kind antecedent horror films and concocts a molotov cocktail spiced with numerous Brazilian folklore.
vlcsnap-00011
Folklore envelopes “The Devil Lives Here.” Ivo Müller portrays a blend of two distinctive mythological beings, the Anhangüera and an Encantado. Anhangüera, basically, is a version of the devil while Encantado paints a more vivid image of the Honey Baron as a man, whose so ruthlessly evil, that he becomes ensnared in limbo by voodoo, in this case the voodoo of African slaves during the colonial era, and lives a vain life for his atrocities. On the other end of the spectrum, Bento, once a young slave boy, seeks to endure the curse, reestablishing it’s constraints around the Honey Baron’s Anhangüera ways. Bento resembles more closely to the story of Negrinho, a slave boy fatally punished for his loose bindings on responsibilities to his master. Negrinho died on an anthill, in which ants later feasted on his flesh, and returns to help others. In the 2015 film, ants and bees are clear motif before Bento’s horrible demise and Bento also returns from the grave like an original African or Caribbean dirty working zombie, the kind of mindless zombie before George A. Romero took the undead head to new flesh eating heights. “The Devil Lives Here” embellishes upon each lore to up the ante and deliver a shock to the system.
vlcsnap-00014
Alongside Ivo Müller is a young, but a formidable cast. Pedro Carvalho, Mariana Cortines, Diego Goullart, and Clara Verdier have performance that are simply enjoyable to absorb and are just wonderful being the unexpected catalyst. With a slight twist in one of the four’s well-kept motivations, the brilliancy of Rafael Baliú’s script, based off the story by co-writers Guilherme Aranha and M.M. Izidoro, comes to a head by not following the conventional tropes of hapless pranksters unwittingly hitting the bees nest. Instead, the characters are grossly flawed by one of their own; however, I did hope there was a little more exposition toward Mariana Cortines’ Alexandra clairvoyant ability between the world of the living and the spirit realm as I thought the relevancy was too important to leave open. Pedro Caetano and Felipe Frazão master their roles of being caretaker descendants to Bento. Caetano and Frazão tackle multiple personas with a well armed cache of emotional ranges that split their dutiful commonality and define their positions amongst the story. The cast couldn’t have worked well enough any better making “The Devil Lives Here” a film adorned with God-mode proportions.
vlcsnap-00016
Artsploitation Films has become a prominent label in providing provocative and outstanding domestic and global cinema and “The Devil Lives Here” only solidifies their true power amongst other home entertainment distributors. The film is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio with slight blotchiness in darker tones, but the image is still very sharp with a filter blanket of a warm yellowish glaze. The stereo 2.0 audio with optional English and English SDH subtitles is fine coming through the dual channels. The subtitles are a bit quick, but so is the portuguese language. The DVD cover art is nightmarishly inviting, just like the film itself. “The Devil Lives Here” will completely suck you into the original narrative and curse you with screen glued eyeballs to deliver an inspired and indigenous film that shouldn’t be missed by any horror fan.
vlcsnap-00012

“The Devil Lives Here” is at Amazon! Click here to buy!