Evil Doesn’t Care for pH Levels! “Hot Tub Party Massacre” Review!

In the midst of a deranged serial killer’s escape from prison, Four Delta Omega sisters enter a school raffle to represent their sorority and end up winning an all expenses paid hotel suite complete with a luxurious hot tub. As student bodies fall in the maniac’s wake, the sisters flight toward fun times before taking notice how many of their friends and fellow students become unfortunate slashed-up victims and just when things are getting wet and carnal, the killer checks in, crashing good times, and making mince meat out of the lucky winners and their boyfriends.

Budget horror filmmaker Chris Greenaway gets his hands into the sisterhood horror genre with his 2016 written and directed tongue-and-cheek horror-comedy “Hot Tub Party Massacre.” Campy. gratuitous. Schlocky. Greenaway has covered all the bases of a satirical slasher sporting a killer wielding a small garden cultivator – “cultivator” is a good title or moniker for another campy slasher as long as you put the proverbial “the” in front of it. Instead, we get the Canadian cult no-so-classic “Hot Tub Party Massacre” because nothing says killer party than an actual killer at your party and here the party is wet and wild with an escaped maniac on the loose, ready to randomly slice and dice the unscrupulous and individualistic sisters of Delta Omega sorority.

While there’s not a sole headliner to Greenaway’s film, like a Jamie Lee Curtis to Laurie Strobe or a Neve Campbell to Scream, the sorority girls attending the bubbly hot tub affair function as a collective headlining mass of alternative women. In alphabetical order, Amanda Nickels, Erin Hyndman, Jynx Vandersteen (“Father’s Day”), and Sarah Foster each represent Delta Omega’s finest in their respective personas as popular, bookworm, party (or slut?), and goth. The quintessential tropes to any routine slasher star as surprisingly benevolent with their upbeat attitudes and gracious acceptance of all kinds of people. When Hyndman’s nerdy Bethany states she probably shouldn’t attend trip, party girl Brandi, aka Vandersteen, counteracts with you’re one of us, a Delta Omega, and only the best become Delta Omegas. Their stalker, the elusive serial killer, is played by Mark Kiazyk trying to do his best Michael Myers impersonation from the chest down, as he’s frequently screened. Kiazyk’s has the look, a face of pure hatred, and I wish that was more prevalent as it’s a face for television. Rounding out the cast are Delta Omega boyfriends Danny Warren and Ken Wright, “Rust’s” Corey Taylor as a school spirited University newscaster, “you’re all doomed” guy Nicholas MacDonald, and the indie scream queen Brinke Stevens making her bit cameo.

“Hot Tub Party Massacre” is essentially one big homage to the enshrined horror flicks and pays it’s respects to, as aforementioned, Halloween with the killer. Also gives a head nod to Friday the 13th Part II in which a couple are jointly impaled in a very similar frame-by-frame sequence. Even one of the official poster concepts is a direct take from “Slumber Party Massacre” and perhaps the Delta Omega is a sign of respect to another Brinke Stevens’ classic, “Die Delta Die!” Greenaway’s “Hot Tub Party Massacre,” by title alone, is not a serious horror film looking to ripoff the foundational slashers, but relishes in a lighthearted satire that begins in a realm of Zuckeresque that loses the visual gag steam at the tail end. The montage of gratuitous nudity of Amanda Nickela, Jynx Vandersteen, and Sarah Foster notch up the “Hot Tub’s” antics in fleshing out the skin craving viewers who can’t get enough of blood and boobs. Awarding this feature as a good film, as a pivotal staple in horror, is an extreme over exaggeration and a poor case of judgement, but consider only chocking “Hot Tub Party Massacre” up to being Chris Greenaway’s ode to the archetype slasher genre.

Ron Bonk and his Sub Rosa Studios, along with MVDVisual, proudly present “Hot Tub Party Massacre” onto DVD that absolutely belongs right in SRS’s arsenal of cheap and outrageous horror. The Full Screen 1.33:1 presentation is what it is, an unmatted sign of low resolution and blotchy, patchy image quality. The 2.0 audio track is a seesaw of fidelity where some aspects of the dialogue are barely audible and then the high pitched shrieks, and their are many shrieks, could pierce ear drums through popping static noise. There wasn’t an expectation of par level video-audio quality, but the due diligence is to publicize, not necessarily criticize, that of the DVD technical contents. The DVD cover is straight out of a photo shoot with a round, thong-cladded booty and long legs very shapely in front of an in ground hot tub. FYI – the hot tub in the movie is above ground and in a hotel. Bonus features include commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes footage (that contains more nudity, by the way), and trailers. Chris Greenaway’s “Hot Tub Party Massacre” has a premise of a short-lived concept that has been run through the kitty-grinder more than once over, but unquestionably is a honoring low-rent tributing spoof of cult classic works that obviously inspired the Canadian horror filmmaker.

Get wet with “Hot Tub Party Massacre!”

There’s Astronomical Evil in Them Mountains of Mars! “First Man on Mars” review!

The Cologne Space Labs launch their project billionaire sponsor and gold-greedy astronaut Eli Cologne into a two-year journey in hopes for a beneficial Mars expedition. Cologne, being the first man on the red planet, encounters a shiny gold-like object that infects him with a foreign organism. As mission control rashly make the decisive decision to abort the expedition and leave Cologne stranded on the wasteland that is Mars, the brazen astronaut plans not to die on the alien planet, fleeting back to the return module, and blasting off back into space where he becomes lost for one year until his return module crash lands on Earth under the massive cloak of Hurricane Katrina. His human form ceases to exists, transformed into a flesh feasting, hideous extraterrestrial in a space suit who wreaks havoc and terror for years in a podunk Louisiana bayou where the nearby local Sheriff, Dick Ruffman, attempts to save from ultimate destruction.
When Tempe Video and TomCat Releasing dropped the news of “First Man on Mars” feature on my e-doorstep in a Tempe Video press release, something very deep in the cavernous, unholy part of me wanted to screen the film’s trailer. After witnessing a primo homage of super-8 b-horror schlock, I immediately brought my finger tips to my laptop’s keys and typed ferociously, requesting a press coverage copy for a film that had me instantly reminisce of “Lobster Man of Mars,” a 1989 sci-fi comedy directed by Stanley Sheff. As weeks passed, no response of my request was returned from the distributor. However, when the film’s director Mike T. Lyddon, an experienced independent filmmaker with more than two decades worth of low-budget films under his belt, e-mails Its Bloggin’ Evil and wonders if the site could review his latest project, a satirical sci-fi comedy, by forwarding over a screener link, I gladly jumped at the opportunity and, low and behold, I wasn’t disappointed when the end credits started to roll!
Under a massive umbrella of pop cultural science fiction references, “First Man on Mars” oversteps many plot conventions, exaggerating to the fullest extent a simple story of one man’s plight of an unquenchable desire for shiny gold that literally consumes him and, consequently, consumes others surrounding him in a cauldron of cannibalistic campiness. Even though the lesser part of Benjamin Wood’s dual role shows his mug as a friendly bar patron, his Eli Cologne performance never shows character face beyond the golden shield of his space helmet or before his pre-gruesome transformation into a hideous, razor-teethed, otherworldly beast, providing anonymity to an important character much similar to that of the character V in “V for Vendetta,” if you don’t consider the stock footage prior to the film’s title. Okay, so I might be comparing caviar to spam, but nonetheless, Lyddon uses comedy and a jerry-built space suit to create an ambiguity villainous character.
Trust me, “First Man on Mars” is not at all serious as the feature is comprised of zany rednecks, birdbrain scientists, and gratuitous violent hilarity garnished with suitably colorful dialogue that can be funny while being extremely crude, can be smart in it’s admiration, and can be juvenile with bathroom-riddled humor where appropriately scened. Every actor executes the swallowing of pride process to extend verbal and physical indirect comedy that purely goes hand-in-hand with this sort of satirical storyline constructed from the certifiable portions of Mike Lyddon’s brain that might or might not be sizzling on an illegal and dangerous narcotic. Gavin Ferrara, Kirk Jordan, Marcelle Shaneyfelt, Roy “Rusty” Jackson, Jr., Kelly Murtagh, Joey Harmon, Sam Cobean, and Tresslar Burton round out the comically darling cast.
“First Man on Mars” is an absurd blast from low-budget director Mike Lyddon and his team of willing actor and crew participants, putting everything on the proverbial line to make this ambitious project first and put their seemingly absent shame second. The TomCat Releasing was presented to me as a screener link, therefore I can’t officially review the audio and video quality nor any bonus features that might have accompanied the release, but as a soft judgment, the 16mm stock that “First Man on Mars” is shot on revels in the hokey dialogue, the substantial monster violence, and the utter gore as a remembrance of the once larger than life creature feature movies from the drive-in theater era.


Mexico’s Stomach-Turning Evil is Here! “Atroz” review!

In a wake of fatally striking down a young woman with their vehicle, two errant and drunk men, Goyo and Gordo, are arrested for the gruesome crime at the scene of the accident While handcuffed in the back of a squad car, an unorthodox police chief named Juarez discovers a video tape recorder in the front of their mangled car with a tape revealing the violent torture and killing of a young transvestite hooker. One tape leads to another, and then another, individually exhibiting a trail of cascading blood and merciless torture in the deaths caused by Goyo and his unstable and dysfunctional life. Juarez digs further into Goyo’s ghastly cases going through each horrific tape setting up Goyo for a shocking conclusion from his past he long thought was dead.
“Atroz” will make you never want to tour Mexico! I can fully understand why “Cannibal Holocaust” director Ruggero Deadato fully backs Lex Ortega’s graphic horror film an associate producer and presenter as the two films, separated by decades, are much alike with the majority of their likeness in found footage techniques, frighteningly realistic imitations of murder, and their artistic and austere grandeur of filmmaking narration. Ortega also sustains an effective horror feature through the confines of a problematic ultra micro-budget. Along with aid from a talented roster of actors and crew, no way was Ortega’s film was not being made. “Atroz,” translated to “Atrocious,” opens with the unsavory side of Mexico’s impoverishment that contributes to much of the Central American nation’s disturbing amount of unsolved murders. The montage opening is so powerful and moving that what precedes shocks as a gritty insight of what everyday Mexican residents might experience one way or another in their lifetime and though Ortega goes that extra mile to be obscene and disgusting in every way possible, the director supports his work with seeding a traditionally patriarchal society with gender identity afflictions that evolves organically and is purposefully displayed in reverse order to add more, if it wasn’t possible already, to the shock value of “Atroz.”
The outer story involving Goyo’s interrogation about his stash of tapes is only the tip of the iceberg, sheltering three background influencing stories about Goyo that set up more familiarly in an anthology manner. Inked with intricate arm sleeve tattoos and perforated with metal facial piercings, Goyo and his larger friend Gordo, which means large man in Spanish fittingly enough, seem nothing more than your typical lowlife gangbangers. However, Goyo and Gordo are more disturbed than any Mexican cholos from the first torture tape of a transvestite prostitute, a punished, bit-part role awarded to actress/singer Dana Karvelas. The next two tapes are just as hard to swallow and stomach from the assorted fluid being consumed, to the explicit varying degrees of rape, to the vivd genitalia multination, and to just the sheer ultra violence depicted makes “Atroz” the gorehound’s holy grail of horror. Never have I’ve witness a film so graphic to come out of Mexico and, by golly, I thought the world needed this Lex Ortega film. In most cases, extreme gore and shock features run a course shortly after hitting the play button on your home entertainment device, but with “Atroz,” a drive to learn more about what motivates Goyo’s unholy acts unravel little-by-little and that quality is usually omitted and uncharacteristic of explicit gore horror.
Performances are firmly established all around with Carlos Valencia and Lex Ortega himself leading the charge as Juarez and Goyo. While Ortega doesn’t necessary have much of dialogue role with Juarez during interrogations, the undiluted carnage he lays down on the tape recordings are a rare and twisted characterization hardly visited by the indie circuit and certainly not given the light of day from Hollywood, being mostly sidelined to an underground context. Rare is it to have one actor who can impersonate malice upon others that when a doppleganger appears in Goyo’s younger years video tape, “Atroz” becomes that much of brighter highlight as a dark film birthed from Mexico. Carlos Padilla truly frightens as the younger version of Goyo staged in an abusive household with an unsympathetic father, an naive mother, and lots of physical and verbal mistreatment. Goyo’s a psychoanalytical unicorn, an epitome of the mind’s deranged wealth, and a testament that his surroundings molded the very fibers of his intentions do commit evil. The sight of blood is all it takes arouse Goyo and “Atroz” provides the character an ocean of sangre ready for lapping.
Practical effects wizards Jamie Lopez and Alfredo Olguín produced unrivaled effects on a budget that didn’t provide a second chance if the effect didn’t spin right the first round. Absolutely flawless did the duo’s work gleam in the blood it was soaked in and firmly how I held on for dear life my testicles when seeing a set being cleaved graphically severed. Lopez and Olguín have a combined 23-years of experience in the special effects game and that surfaced buoyantly at the top of “Atroz’s” shocking content. In the nature versus nurture debate, “Atroz” sides with nurture putting Goyo in the impoverished and traditional meat grinder that is Mexico and spat him out where wades in a chrysalis until bursting out into a state of lust for an endless stream of revenge and blood. Ortega accomplishes nurture’s wickedness by tenfold and Lopez and Olguín exemplifies it even more.
Unearthed Films and MVDVisual’s limited edition 3-disc Blu-ray and DVD set includes a JH5 & Eggun soundtrack. Presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the 79 minute runtime feature sports no blemishes and falters on any flaws, baring and setting a fitting desolate tone through a number of camera options. There’s also and English and Spanish language Dolby Digital 5.1 with optional English subtitles intent on properly channeling every port of your surround sound system. A pair of issue lie with the subtitles involving quite a few typos in English and some synchronization problems delaying captioning a full second or two after dialogue has proceeded. Bonus material includes the short film of “Atroz,” a crowd funding video, behind the scenes: music and sound design, behind the scenes: practical effects, behind the scenes: production, Unearthed trailers, a behind the scenes image gallery, and, of course, the aforementioned soundtrack. Whatever you do, don’t consume any food before and during experiencing the gore charged “Atroz,” Mexico’s most deranged cinematic delicacy to date!

LIMITED EDITION 3-Disc Blur-ray/DVD/CD Set! Hurry! Get It Quick!

Evil I Wish to Forget! “Memory Lane” review!

PTSD war veteran Nick returns home and meets the love of his life, an eccentric young woman named Kayla. When Nick thinks things are going good, he discovers Kayla in the bathtub with slit wrists and no pulse. Nick’s world is turned upside and the pain of a life without Kayla is too severe and when Nick tries to kill himself by electrocution, he travels to a moment in his and Kayla’s life where words and meaning become clearer. Nick’s friends bring him back to life just in time and Nick realizes that her suicide might actually not be a suicide at all, but a murder. Now Nick must kill himself over and over and be brought back over and over to uncover the truth about Kayla’s fate.
“Memory Lane” has a premise that sounds like an ambitious and captivating suspenseful thriller; a synopsis that urges you to watch and a synopsis that is compared to the likes of “Memento” and “Primer.” In reality, “Memory Lane” is more like “Flatliners,” as also compared, but the execution, pun intended, by first time director Shawn Holmes doesn’t quite come out right. Forsaken by too many plot holes, convoluted editing, and a series of heart stopping methods that seem kind of hokey put a damper on the film’s integrity. Kayla’s death, explained at the end of act three, fairs to be the best portion in the film because the foreshadowing of events leading up to her death are so minor and well-kept from public perspective resulting in a not expecting moment.
I’m not too sold on all the actors either except for Meg Braden as Kayla. Her wild eyes, unique chin, and hot bod make her striking physically, but Braden plays a consistent internally struggled and troubled young woman very well. Michael Guy Allen as the PTSD-plagued Nick character could have perfected his struggles with his war time past; Nick, seamlessly and without hardship, eases his way back into the normal life and without any effort scores big with a hottie like Kayla. Seems too perfect without any real challenge or conquering on Nick’s part.
The Wild Eye Releasing DVD has some audio inconsistencies. The dialogue drowns out at times and background noise overtakes a few of the beginning scenes. The video also noises at random scenes as well. “Memory Lane” is a $300 low key Sci-Fi thriller that surely shows being low key in result. I’m a huge fan of Wild Eye Releasing, but “Memory Lane” just doesn’t seem to fit the bill for the company.

Nudity Report

Meg Braden – Though Braden, under the name Meg Barrick in the credits, doesn’t reveal any goods, there are moments during a sensual and passionate sex scene between her and Nick that comes very close. Braden runs around in booty shorts and tight T’s but that’s about as far as her character Kayla goes.

This Evil Island is More Like a Luxurious Resort: “Zombie Isle” review!

When I first read the title “Zombie Isle,” the first thought was the popular survival horror game “Dead Island” where you can take on a horde of bikini clad, thong and thong wearing, tropicana-sippin’ zombies with various melee weapons. Sounds blood thirsty enough to be turned into a movie, right? Well “Zombie Isle” is obviously not the same brainchild from the people behind the “Dead Island” video game. One could only help and what happens to high hopes usually? High hopes are usually squashed and sure enough “Zombie Isle” was a big bust for not only meeting my expectations of being like the “Dead Island,” but for also being one of the many sheep in the undead genre.
A group of university students and their teacher embark on a field trip to an uninhabited island to study the habitat. When they split up into groups of two, all hell on the island is unleashed and the students succumb as meals for the zombies that inhabit the uninhabited island. Not only do the flesh eaters swarm the island, but a mad Nazi doctor looks to replace the brain his deceased love into one of the bodies of the gorgeous girls trespassing on his island.
“Zombie Isle’s” plot is, first off, way too scattered to fully explained how this island became ground zero for possible Nazi or U.S. Army experimentation – it’s not really explained. The Nazi mad doctor has a syringe he injects into the neck of the dead bodies to awaken them into flesh eaters. Nobody knows how he got to the island and no one really seems to ask. Also, the doctor keeps a giant three headed mutated zombie chained to a tree. Again, this all goes unexplained. Half the characters gets rip to shreds in the first 15 minutes of the film and that makes caring for characters really difficult.
On the positive spectrum of “Zombie Isle,” the gory schlock really is potent. Zombies scooping out brains with their hands, stomachs being ripped open and disemboweled, and brains being munched on. With the gory and the blood, the parodical nature of the film, especially with the two dimwitted hotties, can kind of keep us awake at times; as for the rest of the duration, watch your eyelids become heavy and heavier. The zombies themselves do a good job. Hell, even the three headed mutant zombie has a certain ghoulish charm to it even though it’s obviously fake and goofy cladded, but with director Robert Elkins’ use of cigarette burns and faux faulty-like film strips the creature is hidden behind the throwback grindhouse cinematic style. The cast consisting of Crystal Howell, Tony Jones, Apryl Crowell, Kyle Billeter, Davids S. Witt, and Jonathan Moody are seemly a tight-knit group of people who’ve worked on films together before. They feel comfortable in what they’re trying to accomplish, but their really is no depth in their personas.
On a technical note, the dialogue audibility is absolute crap. One minute you can hear the characters fine and then the next you’re turning up the volume. Constantly I was fiddling with the controls to find a ideal setting and just wasted my time and energy. Also, the soundtracks is very repetitive and drowns out most of the dialogue as well. The sure signs of low budget filmmaking and not making use of something better than to just repeat soundtrack audio. The foley sounds of squished heads and knocks to people’s dome pieces might as well come straight out of a Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon.
“Zombie Isle” heart and soul likes with the gore effects not leaving the film to be an empty shell. The characters are the empty shells and the production kind have been better along with fine tuned story in which the parody could have stayed as some of bits were smirk-able. Surprisingly, no nudity for a zombie film with a bunch of university students, but that doesn’t give the film low marks at all. With that being said, “Zombie Isle” releases this Tuesday October 7th, but if you must venture into an overplayed genre, there are better zombie films out there that won’t leave you stranded on an island.