There's a bit of a theme with the new horror being released today and I'm going to call it - "strange or odd places that horror directors got their start". So, William Butler, director of "Furnace", started out in special effects and acting in various low-budget horrors; Frank Sudol, director of "City of Rott", started out on "South Park"; Harry Basil, director of "Soul's Midnight", started out as a comedian; Steffen Schlachtenhaufen, director of "Primal", started out as a production assistant and then there's a couple of other guys who, well, I don't know... anyhow, just goes to show - get in the industry any way you can, then just work your way up.
"Furnace" comes from Melee Entertainment, directed by William Butler. It stars Danny Trejo, Michael Pare, Tom Sizemore and Ja Rule. It's about a group of prisoners that are assigned to assist in the re-opening of an old prison's closed wing. While working on it, they find that the furnace room was the location of a murder and the victim's spirit is seeking the death of those who enter the room. Sounds kinda like Renny Harlin's "Prison". Interestingly, the lead role was supposed to go to Kane Hodder, who backed out due to a death in the family and Danny Trejo stepped in to replace him. The director, William Butler, is no stranger to low-budget horror, either. He directed "Madhouse"; wrote "The Gingerdead Man", "Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave" and "Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis"; did the special effects for "Village of the Damned", "Cellar Dweller", "Ghoulies II" and others; but has also acted in tons of low-budget horror, including: "Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust", "Night of the Living Dead" and "Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III". Looking through his credits, it looks like he got his start in make-up and special effects and has just stuck with horror his whole career.
Blackarro Productions brings you Frank Sudol's "City of Rott", which looks f'ing awesome. It's an extremely gory, animated zombie movie that begins after the Earth's water supply has been infected by a strange parasite knows as Rot Worms. Rot Worm egges were delivered by rain and there's no place on the planet that is free from them. Once hatched, they begin feasting on human flesh, turning their hosts into mindless zombies. The story follows Fred, an old man with a walker, trying to find himself a new pair of shoes. It's produced, directed, written by and stars Frank Sudol. Frank Sudol's only other credits are on "South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut".
"Soul's Midnight" was directed by Harry Basil, who actually cut his chops in comedy, getting his first break in film from Rodney Dangerfield when he got to write "Meet Wally Sparks". "Soul's Midnight" is his first foray into horror, which continued on in his next film, "Fingerprints". The film stars Armand Assante, who's really taken a dive since he weaseled his way into "Judge Dredd". Before "Judge Dredd" - "Hoffa", "The Mambo Kings", "Private Benjamin". After "Judge Dredd" - "Striptease", "Children of Wax", "Casanova's Last Stand". Armand plays the persuasive and diaboical Simon, head of a cult of rabid vampires living in the desolate Borgo Hotel, desperately awaiting an unspeakable human sacrifice that will resurrect their messiah.
A team of environmentalists investigating "unchartered territory" find that someone, or rather, something has already made the land its home and proceeds to take the team out, one by one in "Primal", the feature length directorial debut from Steffen Schlachtenhaufen, who also wrote it. Schlachtenhaufen toiled around as a production assistant, a storyboard artist, and an associate producer for over ten years before making a couple of shorts in 2000 and 2002, respectively, which then set him up to make "Primal".
"Doomsday: The Sinking of Japan", directed by Shinji Higuchi, was released in 2006, but is basically a remake of a 1973 version called "Nihon Chinbotsu" or, directly translated, "Japan Sinks". That version was based on a novel of the same name. For whatever that's all worth, this version is, if anything, a technological achievement. This special effects are fantastic, but that's about it... I don't want to say much more because, well, it's not really horror, so... if you like disaster movies, check it out.
"Hate 2 0" is written and directed by the Italian filmmaker, Alex Infascelli, who's actually won various awards from various film festivals. "Hate 2 0", is not one of his films that won any awards... However, if you like the artsy kind of horror, this could be for you. "Hate 2 0" is about strange events that occur when Olivia and her four friends go to a secluded cabin for a purifying water fast. Olivia is ridiculed by her malicious friends about her and her long-lost twin - an unborn child 'absorbed' by Olivia during the childbirth that killed her mother. Tormented, Olivia ferociously removes the only palpable link she has with her dead twin - a tooth lodged beneath the skin of her shoulder. But discarding it down the drain only brings the horrific past to the surface. Just as water awakens this hidden life, it is water that will gruesomely take life away...
What would a week of new horror releases be without an 'Asian extreme' film? I don't know... because "Red Room" by Daisuke Yamanouchi is being released to North American audiences today. This plot summary on IMDB sums it up fairly well - How low would you go to win a million dollars? Just how desperate are you for the cash? Desperate enough to enter the Red Room? In this latest and most vicious game show to emerge from the Japanese underground, four contestants (a husband and wife on the edge of divorce, and two sisters) are locked in the Red Room to draw cards in the "king game." Whoever draws the king selects two others to enter a cage where one performs the most outrageous acts upon his or her unlucky victim. The game is played to the death. Survivor takes all, and the losers go home in body bags!
New Horror Available on DVD today: