Press Start to Play EVIL. “First Person Shooter” reviewed!


A nasty viral plague eats and decays victims from the inside out, blood oozes from every poor in the skin and boils fester, and can be transmitted through the saliva and blood. The hot zone spreads fast among the nation’s crumbling society, but one isolated clinic, the also epicenter of the disease, experiments with a cure, testing the trials on the infected. Young, wife Linda, a nurse at the clinic, goes suddenly missing and her husband gears up to search for her at the clinic to only find out that his wife has fell into the grasps of a maniacal scientist exploiting the cure as a baleful booster to create the already plagued-ridden with another side effect – extreme violence. The playing level turns increasingly difficult with maximum carnage when finding himself trapped deep inside the callous clinic straight from hell and must use any melee weapon to his advantage in each ghastly stage if he wants to save his wife from the deranged creatures and the complete governmental noxious gas eradication of the disease in the next 24 hours.

For those of us who’ve fired up a DELL computer with Radeon gaming hardware installed, sat large noise-reduction earphones over our ears, and ran a CD-ROM through the disc drive to start up a MS-DOS video game, a bit of nostalgia will revert the senses back to a more primordial time of a young gaming culture and evoke the obsessive behaviors of our adolescent selves. A game that will inherently put you into the player’s shoes with a weapon at hand and many antagonists to cut down at the whim of a mouse click as the priding first person shooter. That’s what one German filmmaker, Andreas Luetzelschwab, who goes by the credit Andreas Tom, titled his script now film project, “FPS: First Person Shooter,” that harks back to the good, yet not so old days of 8-bit blood, command cheat codes, and with a hero bestowing a snarky, snide tongue. The 2014 action-horror recalls the disk operating system gaming graphics of the early 1990s that’s been long lost and seemingly forever forgotten for nearly 20 years.

Now, since Andreas Tom’s “First Person Shooter” puts the viewer in place as the player, a BDSM gimp dressed hero ready to face the mutated virus head on. No real character takes the stage with only the voice of the iconic voice actor, Stephan Weyte, resurrecting his distinctive and black vocal quips for the player hammering away at the ghoulish zombies. Weyte’s a famous name in the world of first person shooter games being the voice of the antihero Caleb in the excessively violent and demonic “Blood” and “Blood II: The Chosen” horror inspired FPS PC games from the late 90s. Weyte’s deep, sometimes raspy, tone suits the film’s temperament much the same of those gloriously carnage cult classic PC games and he’s essentially doing all the dialogue for the film, with the exception of some in and out characters. The genetic makeup of the remaining cast are relatives of Andreas Tom, including co-producer Atlanta Lützelschwab as the attic’s nurse zombie complete with barbed wire around the eyes, Hans Lützelschwab as a boss-level surgeon zombie, and assistant director Achim Lützelschwab as the cook who whips vats of stew made of human chunks. Obviously, these are German actors being voiced with an overlay language from English speaking actors, such as Stephen Weyte, and so other vocal and action performances come from Tobias Winkler as a tall clown zombie, Sebastian Kettner, Ines Klein, Rick Whelan, Rob Banks, Jürgen Sütterlin, and Sascha Strack.

This past August, another first person shooter was reviewed, Giulio De Santi’s “Hotel Inferno,” which delivered an energetic and chaotic run amuck bloodbath that really sold the experience of playing a FPS and though “First Person Shooter” was released after, the film still provides the same kind of gun-toting, ass-kicking euphoria while on a smaller scale and focusing more on making that connection to the audience that you’re the gamer playing the game. For example, the movie begins with the DOS game’s screen of a static menu and once all your difficult settings are set and in place and the press start button is pressed, a virtual newscaster delivers the backstory of the viral outbreak and dons a principal figure, in the form of a 8-bit man, going to the clinic to search for his missing wife. The, the video game seamlessly transitions into live action, but the attributes of the game are still abound with a life bar, the gaining of objects, autosave, and disappearing bodies (that are a symptom of the virus). At the surface level comparison of “First Person Shooter” and “Hotel Inferno,” both films are akin to characterization, but differ in executions with “Hotel Inferno” just outright more violent without referring to itself outside the context of just another movie whereas the focus here is centered on video game idiosyncrasies inside that very context. The patients in developing scenes out of the virtual combat simulation ethos exhibits remarkable talent to fathom-to-fruition all the nuances like weapon caching, ominous camera angles and interpersonal communications to push the story along menacingly, and splicing the recording of level playing video with the composition of a pair of gesturing and weaponized hands to simulate that type of game play. For a loyal gamer, “First Person Shooter” bares the berserk survival horror instincts while for the loyal cinema goer, the ostentatious design is unique and graphic, even for the casual horror fan.

For the first time on US DVD home video, “First Person Shooter” is distributed by Wild Eye under the Raw & Extreme banner, the same as “Hotel Inferno,” with a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio, presentation that’s clean and composed of a double recording, along with an 8-bit Wolfenstein or Doom gameplay edited in for some extracurricular slaughter activity. The colors reduced some, I’d say by 20-30%, to exact a bit of bleakness atmospherics and some details are smoothed over due exact a true video game effect, like in muzzle flashes. The English language stereo dialogue track is an obvious dub on the German made film and another good dead giveaway is that all actors have their mouths covered by surgical masks, gas masks, hockey masks, etc., but Stephen Weyte’s crystal clear derogatory comments show no sign of being muddled. The ambient track’s a little soft at times, especially with the gatling gun, that should be ripping bullets and fling casings with puncturing hundreds of holes into zombie girth. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes outtakes, a walkthrough examination of the set, composing the looming score, and trailers. Wild Eye’s illustrated DVD front cover also pays homage to Duke Nukem with a tall standing and beefy dark hero blasting holes through zombies at his feet. “First Person Shooter” markets goods sold as advertised of intense game play without the need for a single controller and without omitting one single ounce of blood to shed in this mercurial fascination of when gory cinema magic meets gory computer gaming.

Come Get Some!!! Available on DVD today!

EVIL Wants to Feed Off Your Pain & Suffering in “Hotel Inferno” Reviewed!


Gulf War decorated soldier Frank Zimosa uses his particular set of skills as a professional contracted hitman. Frank’s current assign takes him oversees to a luxurious hotel to eliminate a couple of marks, a man and a woman, who are itemized as atrocious serial killers who’ve murdered over 150 people and Frank’s employer seeks to provide the same gruesome retribution in a certain kind of way – remove the brain the skull and the guts from the body. The relatively simple task for Frank turns into a fight for his life and his very soul as he finds himself trapped inside the hotel, owned by a secret organization swarming with putrefying acolytes of an ancient, fire breathing demon known as The Plague Spreader. Frank was ordered to kill to satisfy her pain and suffering hunger pangs, but his tenacious refusal awakens the demon who now hunts him, craving his pain, his suffering, his eternal soul for her own sated gratification and disrupts the organization’s creed to keep her dormant for the sake of humanity.

More, more, more! My internal fireworks outpouring and wanting more from a fire and brimstone gore forged finale from the action-packed first person view feature length horror film, “Hotel Inferno,” could not quell the embodied explosiveness wanting more from writer-director Giulio De Santi! Hailing from Italy, “Hotel Inferno” pulls little-to-no punches when dishing out uber-violence and non-stop carnage that invigorates the sensory and corporeal experience in the first installment of what’s called the Epic Splatter Saga that will total over six films. Two have already been produced with the third in production! De Santi, who is no stranger to the fervid gore film, teams his visual effects knowledge with long time, special effects collaborator, David Borg Lopez (“The Mildew from Plant Xonader”), and makes something shockingly beautiful that’s only been wrongfully teased in predecessors.

What’s also unique about “Hotel Inferno,” other than its first person perspective, is nearly the entire dialogue is layered with a voice over track. Unique as well as cleverly cool, we’ll touch on why later, faces with distinctive dialogue pinpoint main characters, but their faces are either shrouded by some sort of horror-esque mask, turned away toward another direction, or fed through a communication conduit, such as a portable television-radio device. Same goes with lead character Frank Zimosa whose vision never goes eye line with a mirror, never gaining a glimpse see his frantic mug, though Zimosa sounds like a chisel chin, hard-nose, angry-looking ass kicker, especially when voiced vehemently by Rayner Bourton. Playing the arch nemesis that’s quickly established and continuously prominent through duration is not the all-powerful Plague Spreader, but, in fact, the faceless Jorge Mistrandia. Donning the voice is English born actor Micahel Howe (“Solo”) who has one of the more sinister intonations amongst the few; an attribute that can be cool, calm, and inviting and can suddenly transform into a treacherous, malevolent, and vile performance that amplifies the intensity tenfold. Bourton and Howe are essentially the sole two main characters inside a melee of supernatural goons and goblins, amongst them in the cast is the introduction of Jessica Carroll who went on to do more voice work in video games and actors from De Santi’s inner film circle with Christian Riva and Wilmar Zimosa, who without a doubt was the moniker inspiration for Frank.

What sets “Hotel Inferno” apart from other splatter films? The first person shooter style, or FPS, video game structure is it! In literally the first of it’s cinematic kind, “Hotel Inferno” looks, sounds, and feels like a FPS from start to finish, a blended progeny from the ultra-violent horror survival games like DOOM or BLOOD; honestly, everything about De Santi’s film feels like a BLOOD rendition minus the shirtless, axe-wielding zombies and the robe hooded, tommy gun shooting cultists, though the rotting henchmen due speak in a high pitch dialect. Think about it. In BLOOD, a game built on a foundation of iconic horror, the anti-hero, Caleb, is a gunslinger against a unholy cult he once was a part of and then becomes his opposition. Same goes with “Hotel Inferno’s” own anti-hero Frank Zimosa, a hitman hired by an organization who then deceives him for nefarious reasons and then Frank has to blast his way out to save his soul. The story goes right for the throat, throwing Frank almost immediately into peril, and from room to room, layout to layout, the anti-hero has to slice through henchmen and ghastly demons in a very HOUSE OF THE DEAD kind of face-off, weaponizing everything against foes with armaments in the anterior of a cultish backdrop. Super. Fucking. Cool.

MVDVisual distributes Giulio De Santi’s “Hotel Inferno” onto DVD from the Wild Eye Releasing’s Raw and Extreme label. Presented in a widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio, the Necrostorm produced “Hotel Inferno” engages the viewer into battle, but also invokes slight vertigo and turbid at times, especially the cave-like dungeon that’s almost absolute pitch-black. Again, atmospheric video games are much of the same regard for instant jump-scares and De Santi pulls that off here by not illuminating much of the scenes. The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio track is in an opposing stratum to how the film plays out; doesn’t quite sync with the action as the audio track is an obvious track laid on top to emphasis how much “Hotel Inferno” is like a FPS storyline. There’s an array of depth and range from each tier Frank has to painfully endure and willfully live through. English and Italian subtitles are available. Bonus material includes a secret bonus film entitled “Hallucinations,” a rough cut SOV, direct-to-video supernatural gore feature from twin brothers John Polonia (“Feeders”) and Mark Polonia (“Sharkenstein”) and Todd Michael Smith (“Splatter Farm”). Giulio De Santi’s “Hotel Inferno” is only part one of the highly anticipated Epic Splatter Saga, with part 2 and 3 very high on my to-do list The blood splatter is in a doom of mayhem, will quench gore hounds from any walks of life, and reap the collective FPS gamer from their stationary consoles and blow their mind with the most seriously berserk action-horror of this decade. Crudux cruo!

Purchase Wild Eye Releasing’s “Hotel Inferno” today!

Evil Zombies Inherit the Earth! “Zombieworld” review!

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A deadly virus turns the world’s living population into a hoard of fleshing-eating, brain-devouring, gut-munching zombies and KRPS anchor Marvin Gloat bravely remains on the airwaves reporting the walking dead incidents from all over the globe until his very last breath. “Zombieworld” delivers an undead collection, glorified in gore, vicious in violence, and surely necessary for the human survival in a zombie inhabited world. From Canada to Australia and from the United States to Spain, the tales of the risen dead relentlessly show no mercy with no holds barred on the bloodletting.
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From RLJ Entertainment and Image Entertainment comes “Zombieworld” onto home DVD video from the United Kingdom and for all you zombie apocalypse nuts out there, “Zombieworld” will be your handbook guide through the trying times. “Zombieworld” is the epic storytelling of various zombie-related accounts from several countries directed by young and fresh talent who bring a blood bathed new take on a seriously soaked genre. The 11 narratives are unique in their own rite, but share a common horror-comedy element with the exception of a couple of segments. While internet researching on “Zombieworld,” my curiosity got the better of me and I wander onto other review sites to see what my peers’ opinions are about the collection of shorts and to my surprise, the reviews and opinions are fairly negative as the reviewers take in the collection as a whole that’s being glued together by an outer story segment. This style relates similarly to the V/H/S or HI-8: Horror Independent Eight’s way of conveying multiple short films with the outer-storying being their commonality.
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In fairness, yes, the outer-story does come off a bit cheesy especially with the animated zombies that resembles the Dire Strait music video “Money for Nothing,” but my main man Bill Oberst Jr. doesn’t disappoint as anchor man Marvin Gloat and his slow transition into one of the undead masses as he continues to report world incidences. However, my interests lie mainly with the girth of “Zombieworld” and what better way to start off the tale-telling by going head first right into an intense first-person take of “Dark Times” where a nuclear plant meltdown causes panic, extreme chaos, a heartless military response, and, of course, rampaging zombies! Bits of comedy come about with a zombie Santa, a golf-club wielding family, and ends with a stellar, monstrous finale that leaves you hanging for your own interpretation!
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One of my favorite shorts is the sacrilegious short “Fist of Jesus” directed by David Muñoz and Adrián Cardona. Jesus fights off undead acolytes, Romans, and, uh, cowboys in a gory old Peter Jackson type way and then some. The non-stop comedy and blood translates over to Muñoz’s and Cardona’s other short “Brutal Relax” along with a third co-director Rafa Dengrá. “Brutal Relax” awards itself as the grand finale of “Zombieworld” and rightfully so by being just as bloody as “Fist of Jesus” yet bringing in tons more comedy especially from lead actor José María Angorrilla who portrays a large and uptight, angry-issued ridden man needing of a vacation which becomes interrupted by sea-dwelling zombie-like creatures that rip apart the beach goers.
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There are segments that pay respects to other zombie-related medias such as Resident Evil. The Vedran Marjanovic Wekster directed “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse” are informative shorts that refer to a welcome to sign for Raccoon City and any self-respecting horror fan knows, Raccoon City is a big part of the Resident Evil series where all the Umbrella Corporation hijinks go down. “Teleportal,” helmed by Paul Shrimpton, also pays homage to another video game series that is first person shooter entitled House of the Dead. Forget Uwe Boll’s mess of a film and go for the throat of this short that sucks in a gun-toting controlling player through his television set and right into the zombie attack that contains an ironic and spectacular game-over ending.
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Though many of the segments are inspirational, “Zombieworld” does contain some originality. The Aussie-born Cameron McCulloch directed “Home” starring a lovely Jamie McDowell contains no dialogue, but conveys the rough time McDowell’s character goes through with the loss of her fiance who she has chained up. Her loss is so tremendous that she is unsure on how to use her last remaining bullet – will she kill her fiance’s corpse or will she kill herself? The Irish horror-comedy “I Am Lonely,” directed by Phil Haine, follows an naive and annoying young man named Chris living in a zombie overrun town who comes home to his apartment and finds his friend Steve has been fatally injured. As Chris dim wittingly spills out all the absurdities he’s done to Steve, Steve’s injury isn’t solely zombie-related and that’s where things get interesting. Also, an American film entitled “Certified” is not necessarily a zombie short, but only implies to the undead. Luke Guidici directs Rebecca Spicher as young Alice who tells the grim tale of her uncle and cousin’s mind shaft demise to a gullible new mailman that nearly scares him right out of his USPS uniform.
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Lastly, some shorts follow a more heart-pounding scenario. For example, “Dead Stop” by director Tommy Woodard is a CCTV shot short that has a police officer pulling up on a frantic woman who is trying to save her bitten husband. The scene grows more intense when the husband turns on his wife. Realistically surreal with well acting completes this short and fits right in with the “Zombieworld” collective. Another intense short with a synonym-like title is the first person view of “Dead Rush” directed by Zachary Ramelan. The viewers embody a man waking up in a bathroom with dead bodies and blood everywhere and we follow his, and two others’, journey as he wields an axe through a mass of the undead. Things get serious when our hero becomes part of the dead ranks from being gut-ripped opened and devoured!

In all, I’m pleasantly pleased with how the Ruthless Pictures and Dread Central produced “Zombieworld” brought in little-to-unknown talent and showcased their short features that awesomely fit into the highly entertaining category and bites ferociously into being one of the best zombie DVD releases of the year! The RLJ Entertainment and Image DVD release cover is colorfully detailed with the best intention on not taking itself too seriously, but feels eerily similar to other notable covers such as “Faces of Death” or Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds.” The specs include a widescreen 16:9 transfer with Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Since this is a mixed bag of films, the clarity of presentations vary, but I can tell you that most shorts are sharp and clean looking with with no distortions in image or audio. Some of the night scenes in “Home” or “Marathon Apocalypse” have some digital interference that won’t ruin your viewing pleasure. The overall recommendation is to pick this undead puppy up and dive into a whole new world of talented horror directors and I’m positive that your blood lust won’t go unquenched!