One Wish Sparks a Lifetime of Evil. “A Wish for the Dead” reviewed!


Ever since his wife’s life has staggered on the near brink of death, John’s mental state has been thrust into constant turmoil. Unable to get straight answers from doctors and stuck inside the vapid white walls of a hospital, John remains by his unconscious wife’s hospital bed. When a mysterious man with a severely disfigured face wrapped in bandages offers him a locket that will grant him a single wish, John’s desperation to try anything to save her soul stretches beyond logic and reality, overpowering his rational principles. Despite coming with an ambiguous warning on how to detail his wish, John heedlessly requests that death cease to exist. The locket grants endless life not only for John’s wife, but for everyone as the dead rise from their eternal slumber in perpetual anguish that sends them into a frenzy of violence without a means to an end.

“A Wish for the Dead” is the first venture into a Renegade Art production and a Shami Media Group, or SMG, release for Its Bloggin’ Evil and, to be frank, the viewing re-establishes a couple of important things: 1) “A Wish for the Dead” has tremendous bite for an under the radar flick and 2) never rule out modestly financed films based on their technical appearances. The 2014 micro-budget indie horror from the short film director of “The Confession of Fred Kruger,” Nathan Thomas Milliner, along with the editing, photography, and co-writing assistance from “Girl Number Three” writer Herschel Zahnd, takes the cautionary tale themed with a careful what you wish for approach when despondency has one backed against the wall that leads to direly lethal negligence. Milliner’s film that’s based off a comic book of the same title might not be “Wishmaster,” starring Andrew Divoff, but can certainly be grouped into that similar genre realm where the ugliness of mysticism mischief can be personally devastating instead of gratifying. The film can also be lassoed into the over saturated zombie category because, well, you know, the whole arise of the undead thing.

“A Wish for the Dead” has a fairly large cast, but doesn’t have definitive leads. Instead, Milliner and Zahnd scribe a tale with miniature, personal scenarios for characters with John being a considerable catalyst or, an interpretation, of a centralized character. John’s played by Chris Petty, who had a bit part in the Zac Efron Ted Bundy biopic “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” and despite the character being fairly one dimension, Petty sells the performance of a grieving, greedy husband. John encounters the mysterious, disfigured stranger in a trench coat, head wrapped like a mummy, and nodding John over like a he’s going to sell him a knockoff Rolex from the inside lining of his coat, in Robert Hatfield that tempts him with the wish granting locket. Hatfield version of a biblical villain has charismatic and devilish value, but nothing new to note the rendition from previous performances of shallow humor and sly mischief upon an cutting grin. Branch off stories that indulge into supporting characters un-charmed, demised lives fill in the gaps and provide fuel for the undead fire and these supporting characters include Lori Cooke (“Girl Number Three”), Kristine Renee Farley (Hi-8 – Horror Independent 8), Adam Pepper (“The Zombie Movie”), Julie Strebl (“Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories”) and Ashley Anderson.

The beginning of this film starts off oddly as soon as the title credits roll for the feature film and coming to the realization that the viewer is actually not submersed into the actual story yet. First slither portion of the film is a short thriller, noted at the conclusion as being directed also by Milliner, that becomes clearly distinct from the rest of the plot line. The abnormal sequence snaps the story’s fluidity as a seamed segue that then constructs the multiple-tiered building blocks for the heart of the feature. Once the short has past, much to our chagrin that we believed to be the actual film, “A Wish for the Dead” goes into a precision mode with coordinating individually wrapped death backstories and while Milliner attempts to get us to care about these characters, all is washed away and lost when death revokes all their previous, present, and future terminations. The backstories become null and void when not circled back to for the exception of John and his wife that find’s a sweet ironic malevolency making “A Wish for the Dead” satisfying in the end.

MVDVisual and Shami Media Group courteously releases Nathan Thomas Milliner’s “A Wish for the Dead” onto a not rated DVD home video. Presented in a stretched 16:9 aspect ration, the lossy video quality and the lack of color, mostly in a squashy greenish-yellow, chap into sore spots along the 80 minute runtime to the almost the point of SOV quality. Darks are plagued with digital noise that remove the sharp quality from the image, leaving the story to fend for itself and make up for the lack of presentation. The English 2.0 stereo sound mix pops during the higher pitches of dialogue and of some action points, but the dialogue is in the forefront and nicely balanced amongst depth and range considering. There are no bonus features on this release, but as an interesting note, Milliner illustrated much of Scream! Factory’s home video artwork (releases such as “Halloween II and III”) and for HorrorHound Magazine. The artist and filmmaker’s graphically detailed and perfectly suited talents grace the SMG cover as well. A wish granted for the major win with “A Wish for the Dead” as a macabre success story for independent filmmaking for aspiring artists despite the post-production engineering for a cleaner release, but death isn’t pretty, is it?

Watch “A WISH FOR THE DEAD” on PRIME VIDEO!

Insecurity is a Path to the EVILside! “Killing Spree” review!


Airplane mechanic Tom Russo is a newly married man; it’s his second marriage, in fact. Tom’s first go around in marital union didn’t go over so well as found himself on the other end of being a victim of adultery. Paranoid and skeptical, Tom requires his young and hot new wife, Leeza, to become a house wife as he works long, exhausting hours to support his family in a one income household. As the work hours pile, money becomes tight, and tensions build in the back of Tom’s mind, paranoia steamrolls Tom’s reality when he starts suspecting a lonely Leeza of screwing every delivery, repair, and lawn car man that knocks at their door. Without confronting Leeza with his delusions, Tom’s extreme jealously pushes him to kill and bury the men that he envisions involved in the affairs, but his victims don’t stay dead, they don’t stay buried, and seek the eternal suffering for their killer.

A few, long years have gone by since our last encounter with the practical effects-heavy, indie horror director Tim Ritter. From his disturbing tale of destructive descent in “Truth and Dare?: A Critical Madness to his “Switchblade Insane” segment from the SOV masters of horror in the ghastly-variant anthology “Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)” that also helms short films from Donald Farmer (“Cannibal Hookers”), Todd Sheets (“Dreaming Purple Neon”), and Brad Sykes (“Camp Blood”), the filmmaker has a legacy of blood-shedding entertainment. Today, exploration into Ritter’s “Killing Spree” unearths his passion for horror that develops out of influences from other horror icons before leaving his bloody footprint in the indie scene. “Killing Spree,” written and directed by Ritter, displays the filmmaker’s deep affection for Fangoria magazine having it displayed, repeatedly used as coffee table literature prop. There’s also admiration for “Night of the Living Dead” in the bonkers film about one man’s mind snapping like a twig under the formidable stress. The main character’s name is Tom Russo and Russo is the last name of NOTLD co-writer John Russo and let’s not also forget about the undead rising from Tom’s backyard is fairly synonymous with zombie classic.

While Tim Ritter flicks may not be graced with star-studded actors and actress, even from the B-movie lot, and more than likely don’t spawn hidden talent, there’s still something to be wholeheartedly said about the cast of his films that can only be described as an eclectic bunch of marvelous misfits that bring underground brilliance to the screen. Asbestos Felt is one of those said characters. No, I don’t mean the toxic asbestos felt roofers use as a underlaying backing when nailing in shingles. “Killing Spree” is one of three films Felt and Tim Ritter have worked on together and the scrawny-build with a strung out Grizzly Adam’s head on his shoulders has a wide-eyed spectacle about him when playing Tom Russo spiraling down the crazy train drain. Tom’s obsession with keeping Leeza from the perverted grips on those naughty repairmen would drive any wife away, but not Leeza, played by Courtney Lercara. The “Slaughterhouse” actress is an aesthetic flower growing in the middle of all the mayhem and she protrudes an innocence well received by her character. Other cast members include Bruce Paquette with the white boy dance moves, indie horror vet John D. Wynkoop (“Brainjacked”), Kieran Turner, Alan Brown, Rachel Rutz, Cloe Pavel, and Raymond Carbone as a dirty old pilot with a wise guy brogue.

Remember when I said these types of horror films don’t typically expose acting artistry? Well, behind the camera, one or two crew members start their illustrious careers in the indie trenches. Such can be said for special effects master Joel Harlow who makes his introductory launch with “Killing Spree” and then find work on a couple sequels for “Toxic Avenger,” “Basket Case 2,” and all the way up to the Neil Marshall “Hellboy” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Yeah, I think Harlow made out OK. Harlow’s effects on “Killing Spree” will “blow your mind,” as stated on the back of the Blu-ray cover. Well, when Leeza’s head turns into giant lips then goes oral on Raymond Carbone’s head until his crown ejaculates, then, yes, these effects will blow your mind…literally! The medley macabre showcase Harlow’s craft from A to Z that includes a torched corpse, a disembowelment, severed undead head, and a nosy neighbor without a nose or without half a face for that matter.

Sub Rosa Studios re-releases “Killing Spree” onto the dual format, DVD/Blu-ray combo set with MVDVisuals providing distribution of the limited 666 copies. Essentially, this is the same release that was made available a couple years back presented in a standard television format of 1.33:1. The Betacamp SP 16mm video has held back the test of time since 1987, but with any video film on a budget, the rather cheap recording method does come with inadequacies, even if being remastered. For the entire runtime and not just in the tinted moments of carnage, the skin tones are akin to Donald Trump’s uncanny neon orange flesh and perhaps could have gone under an extensive color correction. Aside a few very minor tracking issues and faded coloring, the video transfer passes substantially well despite the continuous flare of orange. The English stereo 2.0 mix isn’t hearty or robust. Whenever Tom goes into maniacal mode, his crazy quips are quite soft even when he elevates his voice, and that goes the same with depth and range which are non-existent over the course of a flat audio tracks. Though soft at times, dialogue strongly comes through in the forefront with some fuzzy nuances. Bonus features are killer on this release with the Blu-ray sporting the majority with a never before seen extended director’s cut, a new commentary track from director Tim Ritter, a 90 minute documentary entitled “Blinded by the Blood,” a radio show commentary by H.G. Lewis and Tim Ritter, music tracks, photo slide show, three alternative scenes, blooper reel, and a Joel D. Wynkoop segment. The DVD also includes the director’s cut version of the film, the new commentary by Tim Ritter, and commentary for the original cut by Tim Ritter. “Killing Spree” is as grisly as the SRS cinema Blu-ray/DVD cover implies and then some with all the characteristics of a deranged and unhinged man exerting himself beyond the limits of sanity and mortality to unambiguously protect what is his; a dramatize example rendered as a metaphor for those who will do anything to protect what’s theirs.

Limited Edition. Get it now!

Full Blown Evil is Only One Snort Away! “Dreaming Purple Neon” review


The last bloodline of a black magic rite has manufactured a highly addictive drug called Purple Neon into pill, powder, and injection form and has distributed it through the pipeline of local dealers amongst an unsuspecting community unaware of Purple Neon’s real and highly potent side effects. The drug transforms the dopers into mindless, blood thirsty slaves and connects the them telepathically to a diabolical underworld queen that’s sought to be risen through the blood and body of a youthful human sacrifice and the very spot, deep inside the hellish maze of a business building, is where a motley crew of drug dealers, estranged lovers, and dentistry employees and patrons are caught dead center in the middle of the hell seekers’ ritual. Armed with only melee weapons and their wits, an unspeakable journey trek to the belly of hell pits them against nightmare creatures and a dastardly queen hellbent on ruling the world.

Since the mid 1980s, Todd Sheets’ expansive B-horror library of schlocky old school horror elements have stayed true and brutal for the last four decades. One of his latest ventures, “Dreaming Purple Neon,” has been described by the writer-director as an ode to the the horror films that once were where the buckets of rampant gore covers like wall-to-wall carpets in every scene, where innovative practical effects made the sizably impossible possible, and where the story is chummed into an ocean of entertainment and fun. “Dreaming Purple Neon” favors a long lost market that rarely exists anymore. “Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8,” in which Sheets wrote and directed a segment, showcases directors who revert back to their analog foundation in horror filmmaking. Sheets is credited alongside “Truth or Dare? A Critical Madness'” Tim Ritter and Donald Farmer, director of “Cannibal Hookers.” Sheets continues his legacy, notching another hole in his belt with an ambitious story soused with formidable, if not a bit extravagant, special gore effects.

At the epicenter of all hell breaking loose is Jeremy Edwards as Dallas whose thrusted into the bane experience inadvertently as he’s trying to reconnect with girlfriend Denise (Eli DeGeer from Ron Bonk “Empire State of the Dead”). A better suited budding duo lies with Ray Ray and Tyrone King, respectively Antoine Steele and Ricky Farr, as a pair of hard nose drug dealers tracking down Catriona (Millie Milan) who stole a kilo of Purple Neon and Tyrone’s custom twin beretta handguns.  So far, an eclectic group of characters have formulated but doesn’t end there with two barely cladded actresses, donning sometimes just horned prosthetics on thier nipples, as demonesses. Jodie Nelles Smith bravely and enthusiastically bares it all with full frontal openness to give birth to her Godless vessel demon and her counterpart, the great queen Abaddon, posts up Dilynn Fawn Harvey’s well endowed assets into a sexy medieval getup suiting her ultimate unholy power. Jack McCord receives the last honorable mention in his role of building landlord and high priestess Cyrus Archer to facilitate the Purple Neon and to summon the demon Abaddon. McCord’s theatrics integrate well into Sheets’ splatter film by not only providing exposition for the entire scenario, but also being that faithful right hand henchman to a backdrop antagonist – think Demagogon to the monstrous upside down world creature in “Stranger Things. Grant Conrad, Nick Randol, Jolene Loftin, Ana Rojas-Plumberg, Daniel Bell, Glen Moore, and Stacy Weible costar.

Now, “Dreaming Purple Neon” won’t win any Oscars. Award potential isn’t in the films’s DNA.   Being in a niche horror genre narrows the frame of potential viewers, but Todd Sheets” didn’t write and director “Dreaming Purple Neon” to win hunks of glorified metal and plastic and even though the performances were outright corny, sappy, sometimes frivolous, and delivered cue-by-cue, there inarguably radiates a labor of dedication and passion for a nearly forgotten splatter genre of this magnitude. Realistically, the special effects are the unanimous winners with the overly large intestines, the spray of viscera, and the stretchy ripped flesh that are mutilated, mangled, and meshed together to engross, and to gross, viewers deep inside to become fired up and excited, or maybe just disgusted, about turning nothing into a sickening something that’s out of this world.   Today’s horror is all about the glossy, the shiny, and the clean without much of the muck usually associated with death, destruction, and mayhem. “Dreaming Purple Neon’s” gets the demonic facts right by not only getting down and dirty with the likes of demon horror which films like “Demons,” “Night of the Demons,” or “Demon Knight” are akin, but also solidifies Todd Sheets as a true filmmaker and friend to the gore film even in today’s modern day apologetic society.

“Extreme Entertainment’s” “Dreaming Purple Neon” lands DVD distribution with MVDVisual and Unearthed Films presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Clocking in a 1 hour and 39 minutes, the DVD image quality varies from scene-to-scene, but mostly a washed gray display doesn’t exuberant a color palette, but this overall look goes hand-and-hand with Todd Sheets’ analog style. The 2.0 stereo sound isn’t Earth shattering and to be honest, there wasn’t any expectation for it to be so, but the dual channel is uncharacteristically strong and balanced with clear dialogue to which can be all a testament to Sheets’ long list of experience. Bonus materials include a commentary track with Todd Sheets, a behind-the-scenes, and an Unearthed Films trailer reel. Savage. Unapologetic. Herculean. These terms can all describe the feelings felt when watching Todd Sheets’ “Dreaming Purple Neon” that tells a bizarro “Re-Animator” story chocked full of graphic gore and conveyed with a dry and morbid sense of unsullied humor thats contrasted against today’s spoiled and scorched popcorn and soda pop horror film.

Own a copy of Dreaming Purple Neon!

Indie Evil Whips Horror Back Into True Form! “HI-8: Horror Independent Eight” review!

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On the heals of my review for excellent “Hillbilly Horror Show Vol. 1,” the next review had to be another anthology. There was a must-watch horror short attitude swirling in the cold air. Out of everything that lies on the review docket, by chance “HI-8 (Horror Independent Eight) was next on the chopping block and already the drool slithered itself from the corner’s of my horror-hungry mouth. “HI-8” brings together the best-of-the-best shot on video horror directors of the last three decades and where going back to your roots is not so much a challenge for the eight horror-short directors, but rather a natural like riding a bike scenario.

0: “No Budget Films Present…” by Brad Sykes
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The anthology begins with a wrap around short entitled “No Budget Films Present…” and starts off innocent enough with three young and inspired horror filmmakers creating a slasher picture of a female jogger being terrorized by a masked killer. The short weaves in and out between the other shorts and during the intermediate of the story a terrifying myth is laid out about a face-ripping fiend who stalks the very location where they’re shooting their movie. By the end, you can only imagine the fates of our young filmmakers.

“No Budget Films Presents…” is directed by Brad Sykes who happens to also a co=producer of “HI-8.” The short isn’t the campiness of eight and is a bit hard to follow due to the choppiness of the in-and-out story telling between other shorts, but the story is still very solid and the ending is nothing short of a surprise. With great creature effects and a use of a video camera, this innocent story turns deadly and chilling real quick.

1: “Switchblade Insane” by Tim Ritter
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“Switchblade Insane” follows the marital complications between a killer, the Switchblade Butcher, and his wife. The Switchblade Butcher feels the need to kidnap, rape, and murder his female victims and when his wife confronts his ghastly actions at gun point and caught red handed, he persuades her to join in his blood-letting ecstasy. Her lust for blood was just as thirsty as his and brought their relationship to new heights. As the story of the Switchblade Butcher is being told by the wife, the lines become blurred between killer and wife and the ending provides a better than M. Night Shyamalan twist!

Director Tim Ritter is one of my all time favorite shot on video directors. “Truth or Dare? A Critical Mass” is one my personal favorite films and to see his name as one of the directors gave me goosebumps. Ritter doesn’t disappoint bring out his A game witi “Switchblade Insane.” The story is freshly twisted and the laid out perfectly frame by frame to leave a lasting impression with no too much gore to try and ingest.

2: “A Very Bad Situation” by Marcus Koch
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A handful of desparate survivors steadfast in a cramp and tight-knit garage after a exotic meteor-shower slowly turns humans into hideous flesh-eating monstrous transformations. Suspicions run rampant, weapons are drawn against one another, and nobody trusts the other as anybody could be infected in this John Carpenter-esque “The Thing” type horror short.

As aforementioned, Carpenter had already done this similar scenario in the arctic with a group of station inhabits who are imitated precisely by an alien being. The first minute, minute and half, is a bunch of stock footage of people in the masses reaping havoc and violence, but it’s the end of the short that will get your heart racing when the creature unveils itself to the group in a very practical and gross special effects way.

3: “The Tape” by Tony Masiello
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An obsolete VHS rental store is shutting the doors for good and store clerk Tim is able to take one of the VHS tapes home with him as part of a severance package type deal. He pops in the tape to find that it’s an unfinished, self-taped film entitled Bloodgasm. Just as the name suggest, Bloodgasm is a more gory and colorful version of the tape in “The Ring.” Tim becomes engrossed to the point where raunchy sex with his girlfriend is nearly non-existent and can’t sway his attention away from the screen. His obsession is so strong that he researches the tape and finds the director who wishes to finish (off) the film with Tim and his girlfriend.

“The Tape” will have your entrails running for dear life. The tape is nothing but shock and gore and I get why Tim loves it due to it’s realistic effect. This is another short that deserves kudos for the awesome twist ending. Though the events are rather rushed, Masiello is able to squeeze everything to provide a well coherent, gut wrenching, bloody festive screening.

4: “Gang Them Style” by Ron Bonk
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A zombie breakout ensues. One man decides to break into a nursing home to save his Nana. He takes on more than he can chew as Nana brings with her a handful of other nursing home residents. The long 10 foot walk between the exit doors and the minivan is the dangerous journey the survivors must make in order to survive the ordeal.

By far the campiest short of the all, “Gang Them Style” incorporates and pays homage to the indie horror icons and classics especially such with John Carpenter, names of the characters from “The Thing” are reused for some the cast in “Gang Them Style” and some of a few taglines made in the dialogue as well; the “kick ass and chew bubble gum” comes to mind. The short doesn’t take itself serious and does a great job on homing in on the 80’s style in every way – soundtrack, camera angles, clothing, acting, effects, zombie makeup, etc.

5: “Genre Bending” by Chris Seaver
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A curvy young woman has gained a couple of creepy, sleazy stalker that she may or may not be oblivious to the fact. Once all the characters come into play, “Genre Bending” is true to the title with a a back and forth game between genre and gender.

“Genre Bending” is the least horrific film of all the shorts and plays out more like a dark comedy. The short does speak upon the terms of gender, sexism, race, and voyeurism. Even though each film is only 8 to 10 minutes long, this short feels a bit overplayed and does over stay its welcome.

6: “Thicker Than Water” by Donald Farmer
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Emily’s jealousy and paranoia wigs out her boyfriend Ted with accusations that he’s fooling around with ex-girlfriend Lauren. After Ted calms down Emily’s suspicions, She reveals reveals that she’s pregnant. But Emily isn’t quite convinced of Ted’s assurance; she wants to be completely sure so she wants Ted’s to rid of his previous relationship and takes him into the back room where Lauren sits tied up. Will Ted cut ties with Lauren for good by overseeing her demise?

Donald Farmer is the quintessential SOV director; one of the legends much in the same class as Tim Ritter. His entry is brutal and unapologetic pitting current life agains’t the past. The drastic measures Lauren takes is not fantastic or far from the truth as many will do anything for love or for a child. “Thicker Than Water” is not necessarily fresh script, but certainly visceral and emotional.

7: “The Scout” by Brad Sykes
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Director Adrian is scouting the desert for the perfect location for his next film and tagging along is Madison, an aspiring actress. When their car breaks down by a run down structure, Madison has a few choice words for Adrian and embarks on her own back to town as she is already late for potential acting gig. When she becomes lost, she circles back and can’t locate Adrian. Instead, she locates his camera and is shocked by the found footage.

“The Scout” is a bit more spellbinding and greatly introducing more blood than his wrap around short “No Budget Films Presents…” The sheer mystery of the camera’s ability to see into the future could have been explored a little more instead near the end of the short, but this provides a mysterious and supernatural tidbit that leaves open the chilling story.

8: “The Request” by Todd Sheets
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A late night radio DJ is being phone stalked when counting down the top music hits. The calls are mysterious, menacing, and spooky giving a tingle down the DJ’s spine. He thinks a prank is being played on his good nature, but the DJ has a secret – a secret that haunts him and, eventually, catches up with him even from the grave.

Todd Sheets Lives! The legendary SOV director stirs in his own gruesome material into a story that eerily resembles a Stephen King story. The film speaks about the ultimate betrayal and proves that karma is a bitch. Timing of the story is enough to keep your attention quenched and the ending will eat your heart out!

“Hi-8” brings the beloved 80’s and 90’s analog horror back to the small screen giving future generations only a small taste of CGI-less horror. The nostalgia for this review alone is over-stimulating. Greats like Todd Sheets, Tim Ritter, and Brad Sykes are not a dying breed, but rather an underlying threat to mainstream horror, lying and waiting for tween horror acolytes to drop dead and have SOV rise from the tomb once again. Check out this Wild Eye Releasing DVD that is already out on shelves ready to be picked up, watched, and loved.