An Evil Backyard Barbecue in “Garden Party Massacre” review!


Caleb and Addison are having a party with a small gathering of friends, and a few enemies, to enjoy a hotdog cookout in their charming garden backyard. Caleb only has one strict stipulation that all cell phones be prohibited in order for everyone attending to live in the moment. Things seem to be proceeding relative well: the beef and vegan wienies are grilled to perfection, the wine flows freely to and fro, and a love triangle arises for a possible romantic outcome for a pair of singletons. What small party doesn’t expect is a pickaxe wielding manic strolling through their backyard and crashing the festivities. With one person dead and the rest trapped inside the house, a wide range of survival hypotheses begin to kick in, squashing the idyllic soiree into panic frenzy molded by a very tall, very deranged house circling murderer.

Gregory Blair’s “Garden Party Massacre” is the 2017 horror-comedy that takes progressive comedy back a decade when material was simpler, straight forward, and where satire reigns supreme from casual conversation. Blair, who not only directed, but also penned the script, is one of those recognizable names and faces entrenched into the independent film grid with credits like 2013’s “Ooga Booga” and, directing one of Its Bloggin’ Evil’s personal favorites, “Deadly Revisions,” starring Bill Oberst Jr so this will be our second PIX/SEE Productions film coverage. “Garden Party Massacre” has been on this reviewers radar for about three years now and Blair’s sophomore feature film takes a lighter approach to horror that’s more beneficially cliché, designed to be safe in the story, and still able to provide generous humor. Just as quirky as it’s titled, “Garden Party Massacre” won’t be an aggressive avalanche of bodies and blood to consume so the highly squeamish audiences can sit and tolerate the sludge-fast bloodletting to nearly the credits with a steady amount of Gregory Blair etched absurdity to push those horror-intolerants forward.

Caleb and Addison extend beyond a couple’s normal range of quarreling. Their verbally combative relationship breaks hyperbole levels on the most mundane and trivial things couples argue over. Andy Gates (“The Blessed Ones”) and Nichole Bagby hash it out as two estranged lovers at each other’s throat that becomes a candy coated resonation of the very real reality of relationship woes. They’re each joined by a pair of friends that have previously established a relationship with them as part of their character’s background. David Leeper plays Wesley, a gay friend of the couple who also is on the Caleb’s softball team, who is perhaps the most rational character in the pack and brings another teammate to the party, Lincoln, as a possible match to his testosterone desires. Gregory Blair goes full on fool with Lincoln’s thick skull persona and the writer-director is spot on as also co-star in his role. The other established friend is Reena, a role presided by fellow “Dead Revisions” star Lisa Hart who has rash moments of exaggeration, but the timing is good for her character who serves as the odd woman out of the group. Then, “RoboWoman” herself, Dawna Lee Heising, enters the picture as Melanie, the obnoxious friend with a hankering for Lincoln’s man meat, and Heisings brings her delectable indie-horror presence to the folding table and lawn chairs! Other garden partygoers includes Matt Weinglass and Marv Blauvelt (“Snake with a Human Tail”).

“Garden Party Massacre” lampoons traditional genre tropes, highlighting the flaws and exaggerating their characteristics, and director Gregory Blair purposefully intended on constructing this fun and bubbly example of how silly the situational elements can be and, sometimes are, despite the pickaxe psycho lurking around outside and the whole neighborhood turning upside down when the sudden zombie apocalypse comes spilling into their backyard like spilt lemonade. Blair pokes fun in a homaging kind of way and that’s quite endearing. However, the character dynamic became stale faster than day old bread as scene-after-scene was nearly all about bashing the other person. Someone comes up with a plan and judgement rears an ugly head. Someone heeds a warning and, again, ridicule rolls right off the tongue. After one receives their fill of colorful raillery, Lincoln’s blockish guilelessness becomes the drug of choice and a root for character.

SGL Entertainment and MVDVisual layout the picnic for “Garden Party Massacre” onto an all region DVD presented widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Imagine presentation has all the digital pros and without any night shots, the digital noise has virtually no ground to flicker. Coloring and skin tones looks natural, aside from the obvious blue-ish green makeup of the zombies, and didn’t catch really any distortions to note. The English language stereo 2.0 surround sound favors the dialogue fairly well, upfront and with authority, but the ambience tracks, such as the birds chirping especially, are intrusive at times. There’s faint feedback at times during screaming moments. The runtime clocks in at 70 minutes and includes extras such as a music video to the film’s trashy-punk theme song, which is sung by “Constantine’s” Peter Stormare oddly enough, and trailers. “Garden Party Massacre” is the recipient of 9 film festival awards, including Best Comedy and Best Film, and rightfully so considering being a purposeful caricature mockup of horror well executed by Gregory Blair and crew.

Garden Gnomes and Killer Psychos in “Garden Party Massacre!” Buy at Amazon.com

Evil Times Out. “Reminiscence: The Beginning” review!

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What if there were multiple universes and only one time line? Then, what if time breaks down? Being aware of, in theory, the coming lapse of time, Miska uses her talents in physics to calculate the days of when exactly the rare event will occur; she brings along her boyfriend Akçay and together they experience, not an immaculate and breathtaking event, but a horrifying phenomena that intertwines parallel universes and opens the door to our world to mind manipulative beings known as The Others or Shadows. When Miska misjudges the occurrence date, the lovers find themselves trapped in a vicious loop, unable to tell the difference between what’s reality and what’s a realistically terrifying nightmare.

“Reminiscence: The Beginning” is the screenplay written by musical artist and Blue Arc Studios founder Akçay Karaazmak, who also directs film and stars as, you guessed it, the male lead named Akçay. The concept of time breaking down and releasing horrifying entities is intriguing to captivate audiences, like a moth to a bright night light, toward noticing the estimated $500,000 budgeted independent feature that has an exotic filming location on the crystal clear water beaches of Çeşme, Turkey. Alternate realities have an unique appeal since the lot of such films haven’t been saturated by previously exploration and their ventures, unlike the recycled storyline of the zombie genre, can always be varied because time is tangible; we see the parallel time lines within the established stories of popular sci-fi franchises such as “Star Trek” and “Terminator”. Karaazmak’s film, his first ever venture into the movie biz, has similarities to other works such as Stephen King’s film adapted novel “The Mist” or in “Silent Hill,” the video game adapted into film where two universes collide and ferocious monsters seep into the human world, blending time and worlds into one existence. Can we expect the same type of viscera innards from Karaazmak that resulted very favorably for the other recent genre-related films?

The answer to this time bending film is: don’t waste your time. Here’s why…

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On a pitch black night, with no street lights, Akçay and Miska barrel down an isolated road; their seemingly anxious and intense conversation annoyingly underwhelms, nearly beneath the wave lengths of the human ear. Miska, in the passenger seat, examines through numerous pages of physic notes and while Akçay drives erratically fast through the thickness of night, she’s communicating something to him but the dialogue track is, frankly, inaudible. The fault lies at the feet of a couple of major issues: shoddy post-production audio work as the soundtrack severely steps up to become an unintentional focus point above the dialogue tracks and actors Akçay Karaazmak and Michaela Rexova mumbling horribly through the bland dialogue due to their heavily broken English and immature acting status. Our ears inevitably have a chance to relax once the two finally reach the Çeşme beach after a near accident.
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The beach scenes turn out to have just as much post-productions issues as the superficial opening. The editing work will require an heavy dosage of Dramamine pills to suspend any nauseating effects from the tirelessly and pointlessly shot and edited scenes. Karaazmak’s film feels unsure on how to convey each scene appropriately, cutting and splicing two and three second scenes together. Karaazmak’s editing process resembles something close to tossing contents of a mixed bag of options and seeing what sticks to sort of fit. Also, If I’m going camping in the natural elements of a beach, dressing the occasion might heighten Akçay’s and Miska’s characters’ authenticity; instead, the lovers, cladded in dance club clothing, doesn’t speak highly of our hero and heroine as black hole researchers seriously. Michaela Rexova, starring in her only credited film according to IMDB.com, has the beauty, but her dull persona and monotonous speech makes her instantly unlikeable to which her beauty can’t rekindle and if I would have heard the word “baby” one more time between them under that low breath of either one of them, my brain would have created it’s own timeless black hole and void itself into non-existence as if some kind of mindless suicide.
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However, there are moments, brief moments, during the film’s latter that peak through the unwatchable, indigestible blitzkrieg that is “Reminiscence: The Beginning.” Surprisingly, the scenes I’m referencing satisfy some kind sexual aesthetic while managing to remain a lasting and haunting impression. In one of Akçay’s nightmarish visions, a blonde lays facedown and prone across the hall of a vacant and dark structure. She suddenly awakes, stands with only one ripped above knee stocking on, and backs against the wall, sensually moving up and down, caressing her thigh and a knife with her bloody hands, and dripping blood on the ground from the only piece of clothing covering her chest – a male’s white button down shirt stained at the abdomen. With the knife she holds in her hand, she suddenly thrusts it into her crotch and begins to masturbate. Karaazmak manages to create a visually interesting scene in a creepily sexy or psychosexual fashion and there are other just above mediocre short scenes that glimmer, but these scenes would value more as short films rather than as a whole.
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Once again, Karaazmak, has his hands in another department and this time it’s with the waffling special effects. You have to give the musician credit for multi-tasking, but when one person helms many departments, the tasks become overbearing, causing multiple areas foundering as if cables from a suspension bridge are snapping one by one to the point that the bridge begins to wobble. That’s how I feel the effects played out by wobbling, but the effects are par for the limited-budgetary course as being not terribly horrific on a modest budget, but nothing stellar beyond fantastic that would be worth bragging about to promote enthusiastic interest in the film. Karaazmak majorly implements CGI to spookily distort the faces of the other-dimensional shadow people, especially when the leads meet their dopplegangers; a comparison draws from when Ash meets Evil Ash in the 1992 horror-comedy “Army of Darkness” after having buckshot spread blasted point blank into Evil Ash’s face. “I’m bad Akcay and you’re good Akcay,” if only.
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Blue Arc Studios and SGL Entertainment, a well-established cult and horror distribution company, along with MVD distribution release “Reminiscence: The Beginning” on a region 1 DVD, presented in a widescreen format. Be prepared for 107 minutes of one of the few sci-fi, alternate reality, horror concoction genre film projects to come out of Turkey, but also be warned of director Karaazmak’s migraine inducing editing technique and a dialogue drowning soundtrack that might condemn the viewing ability. Will Karaazmak take “The Beginning” to the sequel level? Time is, hopefully, on our side.