Monday, July 14, 2008

July 15, 2008 - New Horror on DVD this week... and an invitation to The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell!

I've got about an hour to write up this post and I'll do my best to do this week justice because there's some good, notable films coming out this week. As usual, you can check out the trailers to all of them on our Youtube page and you can click on the title to buy it off Amazon.

"The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell" isn't really straight horror, so to speak, but it does have a lot of elements that horror fans will like, especially if you're a fan of the Bruce Campbell style of horror. It's a very indie film and the story behind how it got made is great... and odd at the same time, as it was picked up by National Lampoon, of all distributors. It was written by and stars Kevin Weatley, who also took co-director credit on the film. He was acting on a pilot when he came up with this idea... he then grabbed the finished script, a crew of friends (who all happened to be in the industry), a few decent actors (who agreed to parts for nothing), $15,000 and headed to Florida to shoot it... they then had to raise money to do post-production, which took them a while, two years to be exact. In any case, the film looks great and it's coming out on DVD today. It's touted as a "unique futuristic historical documentary" and it's based on the concept of "New America" in the year 2097, two decades after a nuclear apocalypse. Tex Kennedy, two robotic ex-secret service agents, and a mythical female cannibal journey to find the "Threshold of Hell" to gain access to a radio tower to unite the survivors of the apocalypse. Check out the trailer on our Youtube page, if you like that... you'll like the film.

"Guardians" comes from indie studio Lightning Rod Studies out of Milwaukee, WI, where they specilize in visual effects. It was written and directed by Drew Maxwell and was a finalist at Shockerfest in 2006, as well as an official jury selection at ICFLM. After running the festival circuit, it was eventually picked up by Warner Brothers, which is awesome. It's about a small, forgotten town that's under seige by hideous creatures summoned into our dimension by a group of occultists and a rag-tag team of hardened mercenaries who roll into town in a 'creature-killing arsenal-on-wheels' to take care of them. Try making that as an indie film! Wow.

I'm going to have to find out more about "Poison Sweethearts", which comes from Andrew and Lucas Campbell, who were also responsible for "Splatter Rampage Wrestling", "Demon Summer" and "The Red Skulls", all of which they both wrote, directed, edited and even acted in and did the music for. At first, I thought this was some sort of rerelease because the cover art looks very old school, but it's not. It's new... and it looks great. It's 70's, grindhouse, exploitation on a low, low budget and I can't wait to see it. It's about a bunch of women who are dealt hard lives and then strike back with horrifying vengeance.

I have to say, I've heard nothing about "Insanitarium", but I feel I should have. It was released by Screen Gems, it was written and directed by Jeff Buhler, who's the writer of "Midnight Meat Train" and it's got Peter Stormare in it, who I love... not literally, but he's a great actor. It's about a guy, played by Jesse Metcalfe, who's faking insanity in order to save his sister who has been involuntarily institutionalized. It's at the institution where they find the strange doctor, played by Stormare, has been testing an experimental compound on the patients that turns them into flesh eating psychopaths.

"Asylum" comes from director David R. Ellis, who's last effort got a bit of buzz... you may remember it. It was a little film called "Snakes on a Plane"? He was also responsible for "Cellular", "Final Destination 2" and the upcoming "Final Destination 4". He actually came up through the business as a stunt man, which is pretty cool. He was doing stunts in "Beastmaster", "V", and even "Scarface". Anyhow, "Asylum" is about a college student who finds out that her dorm was once a notrious asylum, then strong horror violence and terror, disturbing images, language and brief nudity follow.

"Trapped Ashes" is actually an anthology of films from five filmmakers: Joe Dante (GREMLINS, THE HOWLING) Ken Russell (ALTERED STATES, TOMMY THE DEVILS) Sean Cunningham (FRIDAY THE 13th) Monte Hellman (TWO-LANE BLACKTOP COCKFIGHTER) and John Gaeta (Oscar winner for Visual F/X on THE MATRIX Trilogy. I believe it's got a loose plot where seven strangers are forced to tell their most terrifying stories to get out alive, then each story is a basically a short film and there's wrap around segments to tie it together. It screened at Midnight Madness in Toronto and has done a bit of the festival circuit.

"Steel Trap" comes from Dimension Extreme and it was written and directed by Luis Camara, who also did "Endgame" and "Ex Voto". It's about an extravagant party on the top floor of an abandoned skyscraper where five different guests receive text messages inviting them to join an exclusive VIP party being held on the 27th floor... when they get there, they realize they're trapped and the only way out are the twisted clues left by a murderous pychopath. Sounds familiar...

"Shutter" is the remake of the Thai film of the same name, which stars Josh Jackson and Rachael Taylor. The original is a great, creepy film and this one doesn't do it justice... as usual. It's about a newly married couple that discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. They fear that the manifestations may be connected, so they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved... The film wasn't screened for critics and was generally poorly rated.

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