Evil’s Eager to Loop You In! “The Endless” review!


Brothers Justin and Aaron struggle to maintain a normal and fruitful life outside Camp Arcadia, the UFO death cult camp they fled as young men. When Aaron feels empty, poor, and hungry as a cleaning serviceman on the brink of poverty and social misfortune, he convinces his older brother to take him back to the camp for one day. Once they’ve arrived, the two felt as if nothing has changed, even the cultists haven’t aged in the decade they were gone. Aaron seeks to reintegrate during his time at the camp while Justin is eager to vacate the premises pronto, but an otherworldly phenomenon promises answers to Justin and Aaron’s perceptions of their former cult and leaves questions to the unexplainable events that surround the camp site. The brothers must solve the mystery before being ensnared by the phenomena that lurks all around them with an ever present eye.

“The Endless” is the 2017 science fiction horror film from a pair of directors, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who helmed a segment in the anthology, “V/H/S Viral.” The duo also star as the leads in the film as Justin and Aaron. Benson penned the film’ script that has grand originality and fosters an underlying Lovecraftian concept and despite the limited budget, “The Endless” has favorable special effects of mind-boggling proportions incorporated with a splash of mildly dark humor in this blithe fantasy horror. Reminiscent of such other off-the-wall commingling genre films such as Don Coscarelli’s “John Dies at the End” or Madellaine Paxson’s “Blood Punch,” where the supernatural and bizarre collide and the characters are equally demented for a pinch of extra pizazz.

Benson and Moorhead may be the stars of “The Endless” and essentially are the epicenter of the entire premise, but their characters wouldn’t be aptly as important if it wasn’t for the cast that supported them. One of the actors is Tate Ellington (“Sinister 2”) as the unofficial camp leader Hal with the gift of gab and just as mysterious as the camp itself. Ellington’s one of many of the camp so called UFO Death Cult characters that make the story really stick out as odd as there’s Lew Temple (“The Walking Dead”) too. A very unshaven and unkempt Temple weighs the look of an Civil War soldier in Tim and Tim’s distant expressionless is very much Temple’s bread and butter. Rivaling the unnerving silence of Lew Temple is “Alien: Covenant’s” Callie Hernandez. As Anna, Hernandez plays the girl next door, flirting with Aaron with trivial matter that toys Aaron’s inherent innocence. The rest of the cast includes Emily Montague (“Fright Night” remake), James Jordan, Kira Powell, Peter Ciella, and David Lawson Jr. as Smiling Dave.

“The Endless” could be said to have a slew of metaphors and symbolism, even the older brother Justin frustratingly points out how camp leader Hal always speaks in metaphors. So, what is causing all the weird and terrifying atmospherics at Camp Arcadia? Arcadia ends up being an oxymoron as the camp is not harmonious or a utopia as believed, but rather a coiled purgatory with an ominous presence thats ever present. Don’t know what’s watching, where it came from, or what it wants, but it’s driven fear of the unknown as noted during the title card epilogue of a quote. What we do know is this presence, this thing, is massive, looming over the hills and in the depths of a nearby lake; the thing is very Lovecraftian in proportion to what that means. Hell, even the quote I mentioned earlier about fear of the unknown is pulled from H.P. Lovecraft himself – “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” The brother symbolism fear for they have fear of the outside world and fear of their unforeseen and possibly poverish future, but once Justin and Aaron come to terms with ending being at odds with each other, the brothers know they can conquer whatever comes at them together.

Well Go USA Entertainment presents Snowfort, Love & Death, and Pffaf & Pfaff productions’ “The Endless” onto Blu-ray home video. The single disc BD-50 has a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Image presentation has fair natural tones with a set of a rather light yellowish tint during desert sequences. Color palette is enriched especially when the inexplicable does come ahead; moments of heavy tinting, such as a heavy red flare, inexplicably stand out. Blotching, DNR, or banding are an issue here, leaving the details considerably intact in a plenty of the duration. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound has not gaffs about it. The plentiful dialogue is clearly present to get the full story told, ambient and phenomena effects proportionally ranged and appropriate, and the soundtrack supports to dialogue and story with the amount of depth. Overall, the tracks are consistent throughout. Bonus features include an audio commentary with directors and producers, a 30+ minute make of segment, a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes, Visual effects breakdown, a “Ridiculous Extras” featurette that includes casting, and trailers. Don’t let the peppered black comedy in “The Endless” fool you; Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead have constructed an original sci-fi horror that shells out an unsettling ambiguity of a modern and universal fear too invasive to try and stop the perpetual replaying of attempting to know the unknown.

Purchase “The Endless” on Blu-ray!

The Mold Knows Evil. The Mold Knows! “Motivational Growth” review!

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Ian Foliver is a pessimistic, depressed, and reclusive young man with a touch of agoraphobia. When his best friend, an old Commodore tube Television named Kent, bites the bullet with a busted boob-tube tube in his unkept apartment, Ian determines that life is no longer worth living because that television named Kent was his only friend, his only ray of daily sunshine and that life-worthy activity had just suddenly died. Feeling that life is no longer worth living, Ian gathers up household chemical products and decides to gas himself to death in his bathtub, but when trying to clog the bathroom air vent, he slips and falls landing on his head. When he wakes up, Ian is face-to-face with a growth of conversing mold. The Mold, as it refers to itself, wants to help Ian – clean up his apartment, shave and bathe, and attract the attention of his attractive next door neighbor who Ian stalks and ogles daily through his front door peephole. In return for this helpful motivation to live, The Mold demands that Ian follows The Mold’s precise instructions which might not be as helpful as Ian first thought.
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The Don Thacker directed dark comedy is a surreal voyage into the internal life struggle of Ian Folivar, played beautifully by Adrian DiGiovanni, who directs his own downward situation making the audience part of Ian’s life. Ian is a character that is aware of his flaws but can’t accept his life and his analysis is that “life is shit” and is dangerous so shutting himself in his small apartment fairs way better than living the conventional life. “Motivational Growth” shares commonalities with prior cult favorites; one of those favorites is the Peter Hyams directed and John Ritter starring film “Stay Tuned” to where Ian becomes sucked into eccentric television programs he was viewing before Kent blew a fuse. Also, another cult favorite film, Don Coscarelli’s “John Dies at the End,” which shares that wacky fantastics of dark and ironic situations. All three of these dark comedy romps are in a small, rare genre group that dares to be different and do well at it.
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The Mold is an unique, life-like creation of filth that can actually make you feel the fungi-filled griminess lying within between the nooks, crannies, and crevices of your body. A job well done by Thacker and his The Mold puppetry team led by special effects supervisor Steve Tolin of TolinFX. They really did an amazing job creating a practical effect living-being that works in sync with the iconic voice of Jeffrey Combs whose voice fits as The Mold’s persona – confident and inspirational with a hint of cynicism. The interactions between Ian and The Mold becomes symbiotic where Ian needs The Mold to rejuvenate his depressed life back to order and back to the land of the living while The Mold needs Ian to fulfill it’s inauspicious desires for Ian’s “well-being.” When Adrian DiGiovanni interacts with The Mold, he’s interacting with an actual character in the room and not a hokey-hapless effect. You have to hand it to DiGiovanni in forming a believable dialogue and relationship between himself and an inanimate object such as the lowest scum, excuse me – fungus, on Earth.
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What I adore about “Motivational Growth’s” plot is the mysterious time period that it’s set in as many references point to the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s with the video game imagery, the television personalities, and the hairdos and clothing lines of characters in Kent’s hosted top shows Ian mindlessly views. Ian, himself, is stuck in time not knowing what a Plasma TV was which would fall right in line with the time frame above since Plasma’s didn’t start rolling around until the mid 90’s. I also like the peculiar characters Ian encounters even though his setting his solely set in his cramped apartment. Box the Ox, played by the intimidating Pete Giovagnoli, pinpoints his character perfectly as a seemingly overbearing, yet somewhat absent and simple minded, landlord who threatens Ian with off-the-wall metaphors, thus making him fun to watch and see how Ian attempts to interact with Box until Box cuts him off all the time even if Ian is provoked with a question by Box the Ox. Ken Brown as Plasmoday is by far my favorite. With a creepy face and creepy mannerisms, Plasmoday had too short of a role and I thought he would make a return to Ian’s abode to lick his TV again, but in the character’s short amount of screen time, Brown is able to up-play the oddity that embodies Plasmoday with such passion that it’s hard not to love the character.

“Motivational Growth” molds itself into greatness amongst cult movies. The nitty-gritty portions are grossly stimulating and will sure to have you jump in the shower for a quick rinse. Whether or not Ian is suffering from brain trauma, purgatory, or just to awake to a nightmare scenario, the story is left open for interpretation, giving the audience a chance to determine the ending for themselves which is always fun in my little black book. The MVD Blu-ray is spectacular technically. Super clear with no disturbances in the transfer. The Hi-resolution downplays the obvious practical effects on The Mold but that only brings more charm to the film. The sound is clear and the extras are plentiful. I’d suggest “Motivational Growth” to anyone – even to a neat freak with cleanliness issues.

Half-Assed Evil Exorcists! “John Dies at the End” Book Review

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Jason Pargin, under the pseudonym name David wong, is a major success stories that inspire all of us hopeful writers. Pargin, a low on the totem poll data entry administrator, is the brains behind the insanely clever, notoriously witty, and devilishly deranged novel “John Dies at the End.” Without even an English degree to his name, Pargin wrote short stories that turned into a full fledged novel solely by word of mouth from total strangers. Eventually Pargin was contacted by Phantasm director Don Coscarelli and as soon as Pargin blinked, a movie was adapted from his story and the rest is hisory.

“John Dies at the End” revolves around David Wong, a video store clerk whose life isn’t exactly that excited, but when he discovers the “soy sauce” from a homeless Rastafarian Wong and his friend John are sucked into the massive plans of an alternative reality species that has their sights on enslaving humanity in the name of their leader “Korrok.” Only Wong and John can see the truth because of the “soy sauce” and while others live their daily lives, Wong and John prepare for battle the only way they know how – with boom boxes, flame thrower water guns, and Molly the bomb eating dog.

Pargin’s novel will be a treat that you’ll never ever in your life read something similar like it again. Somehow able to paint a perfect picture with his colorful use of dictionary, Pargin certainly knows how to make silly scary and fun. The pages just kept turning as if I was hooked on the “soy sauce” and was warped, like a “Star Trek” hyper drive, into an other world universe. The randomness of scenes with Wong’s first person version of events can only be described as batshit nuts with a hint of nihilism. Once you add his friend John into the mix, it’s a whole different story as John is a colorful character with classically hilarious one liners and a mind like a 13 year old boy ready to take on the world.

I’m one those people who watched the Don Coscarelli movie first before reading the book and I did this before with Stephen King’s novel The Mist and so far, I’m not disappointed with my ass-backwards way of doing things. Of course, the novel will always have more than a movie adaptation, but damn did Coscarelli bring Wong’s world to life and light and I do believe that the writings of Pargin are so vivid and clear that this made Coscarelli’s job easy.

“John Dies at the End” is a must read. It isn’t the latest best seller as the book’s been out since 2007, but this horror comedy will make you laugh and thrill you into thinking about the possibilities of our universe.

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From the Evil Mind of Don Coscarelli! John Dies at the End review!

jdateposterIf you did a retrospective analysis of Don Coscarelli’s film career and try to pinpoint Coscarelli’s area of specialty with in the realm of horror, you’ll wind up scattered all over the place unable to achieve an exact position of Coscarelli’s sub-genre schtick. His latest (and greatest) film endeavor John Dies at the End embarks on being Coscarelli’s next longevity cult hit. Unpredictable and captivating forces you to forget that this indie movie bares no no-named stardom and borders the edge of “crinchable” special effects, but the story grabs you, shakes you, chews you up, and spits you out wanting to know more while leaving you wondering what the hell just happened…in a good way.

Paranormal exorcists and best friends David and John are bound by the supernatural Soy Sauce, a jet black living drug that give David and John the outer body experience and is the source of their powers to fight evil. The Soy Sauce has a ying-yang affect and drive them down a path of sends them into another dimension to face off agains’t a monstrous being that wants to absorb their dimensions knowledge by digesting everything they know!
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John Dies at the End won’t scare you. There are no thrills or chills. What it will do is give you a wicked acid trip. Where bits of meat conjure together to become a meat monster, where door handles morph into large veiny penises, and where eye balls burst out by soul devouring gnats! Only Coscarelli’s mind could be this warped and that warp sense mixture of humor and horror keeps our attention waiting to see what happens next. This mixture also drives the film which is a definite positive, but can also be a negative.

Coscarelli’s film feels all over the place that makes the concept hard to grasp. The non-linear plot places characters in our conscious in disorderly manner without any grounded statuses. By the end of the movie, I start to wonder if there are pieces missing from the story boards. The concept of time doesn’t seem to exist and that might be part of the film’s facade as the drug-fueled outer-body experience.

Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are great as Dave and John. Dave’s a passive person with a sarcastic attitude but willing to stand John’s frantic personality. John, as I said before, is a bit spastic and has that carpe diem attitude. Their contrast draws them together to form a powerhouse team. Tack on Clancy Brown as a co-worker of their trade with a sleazy white hairdo and Paul Giamatti as a skeptic feature reporter and you have great talent supporting the the two leads who are already phenomenal as your slummy ghostbusters. Doug Jones (Hellboy) makes an appearance whose character doesn’t have enough time screen in my opinion as an other dimension mystic. Lets not forget the cameo of Angus Scrimm as a demon priest – fantastic.
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John Dies at the End will smack you in the face and you’ll smile at the end. You’ll definitely get some laughs because this horror comedy is nearly in the same vein as the Bubba Ho-tep with the anal soul sucking mummy. Magnet Releasing brings you the next Don Coscarelli hit and you can purchase at Amazon.