Lovecraft Evil Done Well! “The Thing on the Doorstep” review!

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“The Thing on the Doorstep” is a nearly 8o-year-old gothic tale converted the short story written by H.P. Lovecraft to a small screen adaptation from Leomark studios and MVDVisual home entertainment. The story tells of Daniel Upton and his relationship with friend socially hopeless affluent Edward Derby. When Edward meets and weds a bizarre hypnotists Asenath Waite, his relationship with good friend Daniel turns eccentric and mysterious. Edward’s personality switches from the person Daniel knows and loves to a completely separate entity. As Daniel investigates down the rabbit hole, he learns that Edward might be a victim of black magic and that Asenath’s disturbed and demented background might be behind it all.
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Telling the story of this magnitude would be a difficult feat but director Tom Gilserman’s style through the narrative the character Daniel Upton and the structure is simple enough to make this story work well on screen. Penned by Mary Jane Hansen, who also has the lead role of Asenath Waite, pieces together natural dialogue to form believable characters. For great writing to transmit, you also need great actors. David Bunce, Susan Cicarelli-Caputo, Ron Komora, and Rob Dalton round out a great first time cast of actors that join Hansen and have completed a flowing conversations.
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Gilserman does try to a create a Lovecraftian atmosphere with unique camera angles, a dark complexion, and a gothic facade that would make H.P. proud to have his story told through this medium. The film plays out as a bad nightmare full of continuous and repeated flashes of scenes that will drown you into madness while also attempting to make Edward have two sides of him – his soul and a wicked others.
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One thing that I thought the film lacked with the use of black magic revealed. Anenath is suppose to be this powerful being who may or may not be human, but a witch, a succubus, a shell of a human. What the plot is more focus on is Daniel and Edward’s relationship and I believe this to be contributed to the narrative style of this film as it delivers as if one is reading straight from the source – the short story. Not too much is given about Asenath or her ‘hired help.’ Budgetary constraints more than likely contributed to the lack of black magic effects if there were to be any.
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Take the plunge and test out this adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s more psychological horror stories. The DVD from MVD was released this past tuesday and surely will get your head twisted around and your spine snapped with intense suspense and mystery.

No Nudity 😦

Ready to Choke on Evil? “Collar” review!

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Rookie officer Dana starts her shift as usual and like any other night patrolling with her partner the drug dealt and working girl streets of the city. Responding to a working girl assault behind a pharmacy leads Dana down a path of violence, torture, rape, and cannibalism. A wandering drifter murders her partner and forces a leashed collar around her neck, raping her repeatedly, and subjecting her to his lunacy. Who will come to her rescue? Her pregnant lesbian girlfriend? The drug dealing pimp and his prostitute? Or will it be the two violence junkies looking to record every detailed of the wanderer?
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Director Ryan Nicholson, better known for his directorial of the 80’s slasher-homage film “Gutterballs,” pens and helms a disturbing look into the soul of a massive killer whose background involves clergy abuse leads him to renounce film, take up Satanist rituals, and reek havoc amongst anybody who stands in his way. Genre vet Nick Principe (Chromesull from the “Laid to Rest” films) dons the garbage-clad homeless man look and uses his gargantuan build to create the character of Massive, a stricken man living off abusive fears and a re-wired mental state where killing, raping, and chowing down on human hearts is all he knows.
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But where Massive’s rampage stems from his backstory narrated by flashbacks to explain his intentions, his hunger for hearts can be only guessed at for his rituals for Satan. That’s the whole state of “Collar,’ where the motivation is a guessing game and instead, “Collar” also realistically reveals a more perversive farce to not only Massive’s maniacal being, but to also the surrounding stereotyped characters begging to become dead meat at the hands of Massive. Not one single character to put stock into leaves more than a bad taste and we circle back around to the only character for whom to root for and that would be Massive. Even Dana, our supposed heroine according to the synopsis, isn’t a tough cop. Dana gives up almost immediately to Massive and doesn’t fight back agains’t her rape and doesn’t fight for her survival. Instead, Dana whimpers and cowers, too afraid to take on the brute who gutted her partner and ate his heart.
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Gore is where the film flourishes but, sadly, that is where the blooming ends. “Collar” is a ride at an amusement park that looks so thrilling, so exciting, so stimulating that you’re thirst to ride can hardly be quenched, but when the ride comes to an end and you’re walking out the ride’s gate, you grumble under your breath becomes you’ve been lied to because the fierce facade of the ride was only a mask, a smoke and mirror, to lure you into a mediocre experience. That’s how I felt after viewing “Collar.” The promising cover and a synopsis had to drooling from the mouth, but the girth, the heart and soul, didn’t thrill me nor excite me – well maybe Aiden Dee and Mihola Terzic’s nude scenes might have perked me up a tad and gave me a thrill somewhere.
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Positives due reside in Ryan Nicholson’s “Collar.” Chillwave snyth music from Protector 101 (http//protector101.bandcamp.com) puts the work in for the score at the beginning and ending credits creating a retro vibe that might suit Nicholson’s “Gutterballs” than “Collar.” Unearthed Films is a particular film label that you can expect some nasty, gore and shock films from and “Collar” certainly fits the mold, but as of late the quality of the films have diminished and not so much the storyline but also on the technical side. The ambiance score drowns out too many scenes wroth of dialogue making the dialogue totally inaudible.

“Collar” is a short 77 minute film of one man’s distaste for humanity and to deliver evil amongst all. Certainly an anti-religion, or anti-clergyman, film sparking more controversy than entertainment when consisting of three rape scenes, multiple eaten hearts, unhelpful voyeurs, and a savor for vengeful justice. “Collar” hits retail shelves November 18.

Evil Is Only Skin Deep! “Skinless” review!

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I’ve been following Dustin Mills and his films for quite some time now. From the ambitious, multi-role Zombie A-Hole to the from actual news to your for your home entertainment Bath Salt Zombies, producer, writer, and director Dustin Mills has all the makings of a great independent director. The latest indie feat for the ambitious director is “Skinless,” a fierce and grotesque body horror film that sparks a familiar resemblance to a certain David Cronenberg film but with more ooze and goo that will leave a sticky, slimy aftertaste sensation that makes the film difficult to look away from yet still hard to wash off once the credits roll.
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“Skinless” revolves around brilliant scientist Dr. Peter Peele who suffers from a terminal condition of the cancerous melanoma. His only hope is a flesh-eating enzyme from an exotic worm. Peter’s research partner, Dr. Alice Cross, genetically modify’s the enzyme to attack only cancer cells. When Peter and Alice are refused backing funds for the project, Peter turns to a more radical approach to use his own body as a test subject even at Alice’s stern disapproval. The enzyme worked as the cancer cells were stricken from Peter’s body, but at the cost of losing all of his flesh and going through a metamorphose that drives Peter into a murderous monster.
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It’s icky. It’s sticky. It’ll have your skin crawling literally of your muscle tissue. Dustin Mills and his body horror entry proves that heart still exists in independent films today. Brandon Salkil and Erin R. Ryan, a regular cast of actors used by Dustin Mills, star as Dr. Peter Peele and Dr. Alice Cross. These two have chemistry on screen making chemistry. Salkil co-wrote the script with Mills making his character, pre- and post- metamorphose, into completely separate entities. There is a serious tone change in Dr. Peele that results in Dr. Cross to change with him in the second act of this two act film. What I like about Salkil is his style of acting, much like his other roles in previous Mills’ work, resembles a “Dumb and Dumber” Lloyd Christmas from an alternative universe – fairly silly with a realistic handle and grip of tension and hostility.
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Once you view “Skinless”, you might feel like you’ve had a dose of deja vu. I know I did. I started to compare “Skinless” to David Cronenberg’s remake of “The Fly” in which Jeff Goldblum plays an inventory who develops a transporter, uses himself as the first test subject, and has his DNA infused with a fly’s DNA. Much of the same qualities from “The Fly” are transposed to “Skinless” from the projectile digestive acids to the transforming fly-like-ticks each character develops through the metabolical change. Was “The Fly” a big inspiration for “Skinless?” I would like to think so since the evidence is hard to ignore, but is this an intentional homage or a re-write flying below the bar?
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Any way you dissect it, one can’t deny the special effects from the crew with one name to mention in Brandon’s Salkil’s wife – Sherriah. There’s something to be said for creativity and invention in body horror films because without the transformation of Dr. Peele to this skinless, fleshing eating thing, you would literally have no movie. Some of the puppetry might some dated and cheesy, but campy and still can put a ripple up your spine to think and feel like you’re going through the flesh-deducing change yourself.
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Whacked Movies and MVD bring you the latest and greatest of Dustin Mills Productions with “Skinless.” Check it out on DVD on November 18 and watch this sleazy take on a gory-glorified body horror film.