An Evil Backyard Barbecue in “Garden Party Massacre” review!


Caleb and Addison are having a party with a small gathering of friends, and a few enemies, to enjoy a hotdog cookout in their charming garden backyard. Caleb only has one strict stipulation that all cell phones be prohibited in order for everyone attending to live in the moment. Things seem to be proceeding relative well: the beef and vegan wienies are grilled to perfection, the wine flows freely to and fro, and a love triangle arises for a possible romantic outcome for a pair of singletons. What small party doesn’t expect is a pickaxe wielding manic strolling through their backyard and crashing the festivities. With one person dead and the rest trapped inside the house, a wide range of survival hypotheses begin to kick in, squashing the idyllic soiree into panic frenzy molded by a very tall, very deranged house circling murderer.

Gregory Blair’s “Garden Party Massacre” is the 2017 horror-comedy that takes progressive comedy back a decade when material was simpler, straight forward, and where satire reigns supreme from casual conversation. Blair, who not only directed, but also penned the script, is one of those recognizable names and faces entrenched into the independent film grid with credits like 2013’s “Ooga Booga” and, directing one of Its Bloggin’ Evil’s personal favorites, “Deadly Revisions,” starring Bill Oberst Jr so this will be our second PIX/SEE Productions film coverage. “Garden Party Massacre” has been on this reviewers radar for about three years now and Blair’s sophomore feature film takes a lighter approach to horror that’s more beneficially cliché, designed to be safe in the story, and still able to provide generous humor. Just as quirky as it’s titled, “Garden Party Massacre” won’t be an aggressive avalanche of bodies and blood to consume so the highly squeamish audiences can sit and tolerate the sludge-fast bloodletting to nearly the credits with a steady amount of Gregory Blair etched absurdity to push those horror-intolerants forward.

Caleb and Addison extend beyond a couple’s normal range of quarreling. Their verbally combative relationship breaks hyperbole levels on the most mundane and trivial things couples argue over. Andy Gates (“The Blessed Ones”) and Nichole Bagby hash it out as two estranged lovers at each other’s throat that becomes a candy coated resonation of the very real reality of relationship woes. They’re each joined by a pair of friends that have previously established a relationship with them as part of their character’s background. David Leeper plays Wesley, a gay friend of the couple who also is on the Caleb’s softball team, who is perhaps the most rational character in the pack and brings another teammate to the party, Lincoln, as a possible match to his testosterone desires. Gregory Blair goes full on fool with Lincoln’s thick skull persona and the writer-director is spot on as also co-star in his role. The other established friend is Reena, a role presided by fellow “Dead Revisions” star Lisa Hart who has rash moments of exaggeration, but the timing is good for her character who serves as the odd woman out of the group. Then, “RoboWoman” herself, Dawna Lee Heising, enters the picture as Melanie, the obnoxious friend with a hankering for Lincoln’s man meat, and Heisings brings her delectable indie-horror presence to the folding table and lawn chairs! Other garden partygoers includes Matt Weinglass and Marv Blauvelt (“Snake with a Human Tail”).

“Garden Party Massacre” lampoons traditional genre tropes, highlighting the flaws and exaggerating their characteristics, and director Gregory Blair purposefully intended on constructing this fun and bubbly example of how silly the situational elements can be and, sometimes are, despite the pickaxe psycho lurking around outside and the whole neighborhood turning upside down when the sudden zombie apocalypse comes spilling into their backyard like spilt lemonade. Blair pokes fun in a homaging kind of way and that’s quite endearing. However, the character dynamic became stale faster than day old bread as scene-after-scene was nearly all about bashing the other person. Someone comes up with a plan and judgement rears an ugly head. Someone heeds a warning and, again, ridicule rolls right off the tongue. After one receives their fill of colorful raillery, Lincoln’s blockish guilelessness becomes the drug of choice and a root for character.

SGL Entertainment and MVDVisual layout the picnic for “Garden Party Massacre” onto an all region DVD presented widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Imagine presentation has all the digital pros and without any night shots, the digital noise has virtually no ground to flicker. Coloring and skin tones looks natural, aside from the obvious blue-ish green makeup of the zombies, and didn’t catch really any distortions to note. The English language stereo 2.0 surround sound favors the dialogue fairly well, upfront and with authority, but the ambience tracks, such as the birds chirping especially, are intrusive at times. There’s faint feedback at times during screaming moments. The runtime clocks in at 70 minutes and includes extras such as a music video to the film’s trashy-punk theme song, which is sung by “Constantine’s” Peter Stormare oddly enough, and trailers. “Garden Party Massacre” is the recipient of 9 film festival awards, including Best Comedy and Best Film, and rightfully so considering being a purposeful caricature mockup of horror well executed by Gregory Blair and crew.

Garden Gnomes and Killer Psychos in “Garden Party Massacre!” Buy at Amazon.com

The Unofficial and Evil Sequel! “2 Jennifer” review!

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After the success of writer-director James Cullen Bressack’s “To Jennifer,” a sequel begins to shape from the mind of aspiring filmmaker Spencer. Spencer’s quest is to locate the perfect, the one-and-only, Jennifer actress, who must bare the birth name as well. With a trip to Los Angeles and the help from his former high school buddy Mac, Spencer has quickly lined up a handful of potential Jennifers in hopes of one of them becoming his leading lady. Spencer and Mac finally decide on Jennifer Pope, a young actress who has yet to see the original film. Everything seems to be on track, but a dark cloud lingers overhead, slowly developing upon a hidden secret that’ll take the sequel “2 Jennifer” to the next deranged level.
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Hunter Johnson’s directorial debut hits the home entertainment market three years after Bressack’s iPhone shot suspenseful thriller “To Jennifer” in 2013 courteously from Psykik Junky and MVDVisual. Johnson, who also dons the role of the film’s star, Spencer, writes and directs the official sequel about the unofficial sequel to “To Jennifer.” You got that? Bressack tags along as executive producer with the Sector 5 distributed indie horror, which is also shot on cellphone cameras and small digital cameras, co-starring David Coupe as Mack and Lara Jean Mummert as the film’s namesake – Jennifer. To throw in a couple of familiar and iconic horror actresses to legitimize “2 Jennifer,” “Deadly Revision’s” Dawna Lee Heising and “Sleepaway Camp’s” Felissa Rose make cameo appearances that are strategically satirical.
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Now, I haven’t yet sat down to view James Cullen Bressack’s “To Jennifer,” even though I do own a copy. However, the sequel can and does stand alone as a separate body of work, an entity that doesn’t need to crutch or leech itself from the original movie. “2 Jennifer” sets up the necessary information in the prologue with numerous faux interviews, one of them being Dawna Lee Heising, needed to convey to comprehend any sort of background in order for blind buy viewers who don’t know that “2 Jennifer” is a sequel (or viewers like me who haven’t yet watched the original, but is aware of it’s existence) to proceed with a voyeuristic tale of disturbing macabre.
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The story starts off slow. With the artificial interviews designed to construct a clean and clear enough picture of Bressack’s original film, super fanatic Spencer then jumps into camera view to fulfill Bressack’s wish, as seen from the last interview segment, of a brand new filmmaker tackling a followup to his hit film. Spencer seems like a normal joe, cultivating crew, equipment, locations, and talent that sizes him up to be a gung-ho participant for his Jennifer horror story. While Spencer dedication is unwavering, his underlining intentions are hard to surface and, eventually, something isn’t quite right with Spencer. Mack senses turmoil, but doesn’t grasp the full picture either. As Spencer start to unravel is when the tale begins to pick up a dangerous and unpredictable amount of steam, energizing a massive, ominous train of horror and lunacy that funnels down a twisted tunnel of reality disconnecting tragedy.
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The acting overshot the mark of realism by a hair over the margin. For a film that’s shot digitally on phones and handhelds, a more natural performance needs to be approached and all the acting conveyed nothing short of very staged. Staged in a good way as the acting wasn’t terrible, but far from it. The affect just didn’t fit the mold. Hunter Johnson performed troublingly naturalistic with his transmogrified character whereas David Coupe profusely oozed of trained actor. Even Bressack’s semi-small role of himself perceived overly rehearsed with the director portraying to be coked out of his mind and joyfully intoxicated in the midst of his small party of fraternizers and partakers of substances.
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Sector 5 distributes the original LAHorror.com “2 Jennifer” film through local cable providers and pay-per-view services come this August. The 90-minute film sent to me was a burned screener disc copy and won’t have the audio or video qualities critiqued for obvious reasons. Bottom line is to give Hunter Johnson’s “2 Jennifer” a go, especially if you’re a fan of the first film. The characters develop nicely with their niceties getting their throats cuts in a jaw-dropping, gut-checking ending that’ll sure to please every gore fan.

Who You Gonna Call to Stop Evil? “P.A.S.S. (Paranormal Activity Security Squad)” review!

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A young group of phony ghost ass kickers who call themselves Paranormal Activity Security Squad, aka P.A.S.S., setup a reality show to earn quick cash from gullible callers. When the calls for help trickle into their call center, aka their garage, P.A.S.S. eagerly answers the call, but they become intertwined into the sinister plot orchestrated by a real nasty demon named Vladimir Van Housin. Now, they must obtain the assistance of a slightly unorthodox, if not totally narcissistic, sorcerer, a brutishly strong Asian man-child, and the loyalty to each other to stop the powerful Van Housin demon from entering their world, tilting their very existence.
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“P.A.S.S.” is either the prime candidate for the schlock of Troma or needs to be seriously considered by Jonathan Turell, CEO of The Criterion Collection, for upscaled distribution with all the bells and whistles. To be honest, my initial thought was another stupid horror-comedy with bathroom jokes while camera focusing a lot on Katie Heidy’s Wrench character’s cleavage. Lots of cleavage I can deal with, but when Rigan Machado’s dimwit character dumps a log out of his brown soaked whitey-tighties and then proceeds to pick it up and eat it, I nearly gave up on P.A.S.S….and eating anything…ever. But I continued to watch. And watch. And watch. And the more I watched, the more I witnessed untapped creativity and enigmatic entertainment that kept me enthralled to the cliffhanging end.
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Among nearly all the other credits for P.A.S.S., writer, director, and star Alex Wraith has astronomical vision, using his galactic gonads to implement slight rotoscope technology and practical specials effects that develop a wicked comic world of insane determination. “P.A.S.S.” breaks all the laws of filmmaking. When a film attempts to homage an untouchable classic, in this case Ivan Reitman’s “Ghostbusters,” the project nearly gets blacklisted by fans. If you don’t believe me then check out the critical responses to this year’s “Ghostbusters” remake. Wraith’s film incorporate’s the humorously stiff commercial, the transformed hearse, and a team of four amateurs that all attach itself to the beloved Bill Murray comedy while also adding in public domain footage of retro horror from “Night of the Living Dead” to Ted Browning’s “Dracula” in the montage introduction and seriously ripping Star Wars. Wraith and some of his cast aren’t exactly newbies to the Hollywood game with Wraith having minor roles in “Savages” and “Taken 3,” and Sean Stone in also “Savages” and “Wall Street.” Katie Heidy and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s daughter, Bianca Bridgitte Van Damme, bring the squad’s, if not the movie’s overall, sex appeal while Dale C. Reeves portrays an awesome antagonistic spawned from hell demon who can’t be defeated and who also looks like Darth Maul. Don’t miss appearances by Dawna Lee Heising and “Amateur Pornstar Killer” director Shane Ryan!
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Aforementioned, the rotoscope and practical effects are not top shelf material, but achieve a otherworldly sensation and set the tone for the film’s kooky and demented nature. Wraith loved to overuse the lens flare which works favorably for the world he was trying to create. Also, at some point in time in the duration, I felt as if I was inside the video game series “Twisted Metal.” Perhaps because three of our heros were pitted against a evil clowned-faced giant reeking havoc in an alternative universe. I truly believe this piece of work is a look into the warped mind of some very open minded individuals who eager seek to spill their madness onto paper and onto the big screen.
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“P.A.S.S.” feels rightfully inexpensive due to Wraith and his team’s self funding, but the finished product reveals a smartly written script and some superb editing that keep the laughs rolling and the craziness fresh, turning up the intensity dial to beyond the max! I’m unable to critique the entire package as I was handed a screener link to review and I believe “P.A.S.S. has yet to find home distribution, but the handheld camera footage for the squad’s reality show looks amazing even if purposefully hectic at times and the audio is equally as clear and as balanced. Check out “Paranormal Activity Security Squad” wherever the film ends up and, I promise you, this film kicks not only demon ass, but the ass of many independent movies.

CLICK ABOVE IMAGE to Buy P.A.S.S. from Amazon for only $0.99!