Category Archives: Indie Film

‘Volumes of Blood': The Best Horror Anthology Since Trick-r-Treat

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It has been 8 years since the release of the 2007 horror anthology Trick-r-Treat , and ever since, there have been horror anthologies released in its honor, but none of them have even come close to the quality of the film. Thankfully, that has all been changed by P.J. Starks, Nathan Milliner (yes the guy that does all of those awesome Scream! Factory and HorrorHound covers) and Todd Martin. Volumes of Blood is an anthology film that horror fans can be proud of, it’s not some cheap knock off of what has already been done, it is gory, original and for a lack of better terms, fucking amazing!

Synopsis:

A sociology student gathers several friends at the local library on Halloween night to help him create a new urban legend with deadly consequences; Lily is in for a late night of researching and needs something to keep her going. It isn’t until she’s approached by a stranger that her luck may change – for the worse; a typical night of work for a librarian becomes a classic ghost story with a modern twist. Sometimes you can’t keep a bad book down; Sidney is allowed to stay after hours to study for a test. It’s not until she awakens in the darkened library that she realizes the truth of what lurks among the books after midnight. She better pray she doesn’t become the prey; Paige faces regrets that she’d do anything to take back. When an ancient and arcane spell book falls into her lap, she decides to make a grave decision. Be careful what you wish for, it might just kill you.

Volumes of Blood stars Kristine Renee Farley (Happy Hooker Bang Bang), Jim O’Rear (The Deepening), Roni Jonah (Hell House), Jason Crowe (The Zombie Movie), Jakob Bilinski (Obsolescence), P.J. Starks (A Mind Beside Itself), Kevin Roach (Happy Hooker Bang Bang) and a host of other indie horror greats. The biggest complaint many people have about indie films in general is the lack of talent and overacting, but this cast was phenomenal. There were scenes that required a bit of an homage to the corny acting of the 1980’s, but it was done intentionally and only enhanced the overall quality of the film. For example, the opening scene, I felt, was a beautiful nod to the 80’s slasher films, Friday the 13th in particular. As a fan of that sub-genre, I couldn’t have been more proud of the execution of the scene and the fact that it was even done at all.

Grab from the opening scene of Linda
Grab from the opening scene of Linda

The score of a horror film has always been just as important to me as great writing or a flawless cast, and Tony McKee’s score was incredible. It was no overly dramatic and matched the theme and feel of the film perfectly. At approximately 6 minutes in, there is a nod to Halloween via music.

Volumes of Blood had every element a horror film should have and so much more. It is going to be extremely hard for anyone else to top this anthology. If you’re looking for a film that will make you jump, possibly make your stomach turn, that will get your date clinging to you like cheap fabric on a hot day and pays a wonderful tribute to all of the classics, Volumes of Blood is the film for you. I could not find a single element to complain about, which is a rare occurrence. I truly cannot recommend this film enough.

Still Gallery: 

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Trailer:

Be sure to like the Volumes of Blood Facebook page for more behind the scenes pictures, festival/convention announcements and other news.

 
 

Kickstarter: Occam’s Razor- A USC Thesis Film

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Independent horror is the backbone of the genre today, the world of horror would not be the same without hardworking film school students taking risks. USC film student, Alex Parslow, has created a kickstarter campaign to help fund his thesis film, Occam’s Razor

What is Occam’s Razor? It is an atmospheric horror film in the vein of films like The Exorcist, Shutter Island and Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Synopsis:

Set in 1851, “Occam’s Razor” is about a post-mortem photographer who is called into a small community where dozens of children have mysteriously died. He soon realizes the spirits of the deceased are trying to communicate to him, leading him to uncover the town’s dark and twisted secret.

Characters sell a film just as much as the screenplay, and the concept/character art that I have seen for Occam’s Razor looks phenomenal. Period pieces are very difficult to make look historically accurate, but the team behind this film nailed it.

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There are two very notable Hollywood names involved with Occam’s Razor, Beth Grant (No Country for Old Men) and Carmen Argenziano (The Godfather: Part II). Grant is set to play the role of Sister Edith and Argenziano is set to play the role of Father Russo.

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The filmmakers behind this sure to be great film have spent the last 3 years honing and developing their skills at USC School of Cinematic Arts, the #1 ranked film school in the world. Meet the crew below.

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Director’s Statement:

“Occam’s Razor” is at once a graduate USC thesis film as well as a proof of concept for a feature length version of the same story. The film is a classic Gothic horror with a unique twist, set in a conservative religious town in 19th century Pennsylvania. The film is to be directed by USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA-candidate Alex Parslow, who co-wrote with Andre Kovalov. The two recently made a splash with their script Apex Dark, which landed them on both the “Hit List” and “Young and Hungry List,” for best unproduced screenplays in the industry. Through this they have secured representation with Lee Stobby Entertainment and are already taking meetings on the development of “Occam’s Razor”, and are eager to develop a fully conceived version of the short. In addition, both Director Alex Parslow and Producer Jonathan Maurer are co-writers on upcoming James Franco films, “Actors Anonymous” and “Don Quixote: The Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha”.

Parslow’s goal to create Occam’s Razor is currently set at $10,000, and of that sum, $1,435 has been raised. There are currently 21 days left to help fund this film, the campaign will end on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 2:59 am EDT.

Links:

Occam’s Razor Kickstarter Campaign

Occam’s Razor Facebook Page

Review: Contamination- A Convention Story

424283_165263613592014_696506072_nConventions of all genres are filling our nation giving horror, sci-fi and pop culture fans alike a platform to mingle with one another and meet their favorite genre celebrities. Most of us only get to see what goes on in front of us, but thanks to State Of Mind Productions and the Contamination convention in St. Louis, fans now have the opportunity to see behind the scenes and fell the true essence of a convention. 

I was recently granted the opportunity to watch and review Contamination- A Convention Story. What is Contamination? Contamination is a convention held in St. Louis that blends together horror, sci-fi, pop culture and stars from the adult entertainment world into one event. I am normally not a huge fan of documentaries, but this one is worth the watch.

I have personally been to a few conventions and have had the opportunity to meet some of my horror heroes, and they have been some of the best experiences of my adult life. The only problem with meeting some of these celebrity guests? You’re not really sure if they are really that into it, but Contamination- A Convention Story gives an in-depth look into not only the conventions, but the guests, and they are all genuinely fantastic human beings.

You get to hear from some of the biggest names on the convention circuit such as Kane Hodder (Hatchet), Tony Todd (Candyman), Bill Johnson (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and many more. It is great to hear how they truly feel about conventions and the fans they encounter.  

If you are looking for an informative, genuinely amazing documentary on a convention and the feel of what it is like to attend one, I would highly recommend picking up Contamination– A Convention Story. It is not ridiculously long like many other documentaries, but it is packed with interviews, fan insights and much more.  

Trailer:

For more information on this fantastic documentary, visit the official site, ContaminationTheMovie.com and like the Contamination- A Convention Story Facebook page.

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If you are interested in learning more about the actual Contamination convention where horror, sci-fi, pop culture and adult entertainment collide, visit the official site, con-tamination.com and like the Contamination convention Facebook page. Don’t forget your gas mask!

Team Necro Announces Indiegogo Campaign and Premiers Teaser Trailer for Cannibillies

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Team Necro is preparing to put the Wrong Turn series out of business with their upcoming cannibalistic masterpiece, Cannibillies. Not only are they preparing for its release, but they have announced plans for the sequel, Cannibillies 2: Gathering of the Carnivorous

Anyone that has ever made a film knows that it costs money. Team Necro shot Cannibillies on a zero dollar budget, but need your help for some post production costs and some equipment to help them make the sequel even more brutal than the first. They have launched a campaign via Indiegogo to help cover these costs. Your donations will go towards getting Cannibillies out on DVD, the production of Cannibillies 2, a digital recorder, a used camera body, a lens that captures multiple angles in one take better tripods and a couple of LED lights. The left over amount will go towards blood and effects for the second film. There are 30 days left to donate towards the $1,666 goal. Every dollar counts.

Want to see what you will be contributing to? Here is the very first teaser trailer for Cannibillies!

Not a visual learner? Then, read the synopsis below.

Eve is a single mother who raised her three children the best that she could. Eve’s children all were brought up with the word of God. A sense of right and wrong. The art of self-reliance. And a belief that nothing is more powerful than the bond of blood. To the outsider, they appeared a loving family that relied on each other, and the bountiful gifts that God brought them. To those that stepped foot into Eve’s house, like Abigail and her friends, they saw a different side. The side that stayed hidden behind the front door of the Iscariot house. The side that was just out of view from anyone passing by. The dark side. Genesis, chapter 9, verse 3; “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Abigail and her friends would not only be killed here, but would also become food for the Iscariot table.

If you like what you see and want to be a part of helping Indie Horror and Team Necro, you can donate >>>HERE<<<.

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Team Necro is looking to release Cannibillies in April of 2015 and begin shooting Cannibillies 2: Gathering of the Carnivorous in May of 2015.

To keep up on all things Cannibillies and announcements for the sequel, like the Cannibillies Facebook Page and follow them on twitter and Instagram, @cannibillies. Be sure to visit Cannibillies.com for even more awesome pictures and news.

Also, be sure to support Necro Girls Magazine and all of Team Necro, they are fantastic people with the passion and creative drive the horror genre has been missing. Like the Necro Girls Facebook Page, and if you like what you see there, you can subscribe to the magazine and much more at NecroGirls.net.

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The Other Side: The most unique zombie flick to hit the screen. (Movie Review)

other2With the popularity of The Walking Dead, zombie shows and films have been growing in popularity faster than zombies multiply. The only problem with that, they are all trying to be The Walking Dead and they are all very similar in content. The Other Side thankfully has changed this mundane pattern. Based off of a short film by the same name, this is the first feature length film from Orchard Place Productions.

Written and co-directed by Chris Niespodzianski, The Other Side stars Chad Conley (Mason), Danielle Lozeau (Werewolf Rising), Chuck Hendershot(It Came from Yesterday), Jack Davis (Bray Road), Robert Liscio (Confessional) and Christine Starkey. Most of the actors and extras in this film as well as the crew are from the Pittsburgh, PA area where the film was shot,and what better place to shoot a zombie flick than the zombie capital of the world? All of the music featured in the film is also from local Pittsburgh bands and artists, and it all sounds awesome.

I am over the zombie scenarios being set in the city. I am so happy to see that there is finally a new zombie film that takes place in the middle of nowhere. All locations featured in the film can be found around Pittsburgh and Claysville, Pennsylvania. The entire film took place in the woods and countryside. 

The Other Side is a film that Romero would be proud of. The slow buildup is reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead. All of the events leading up to the real action were believable and exactly what I would expect to see happen right before the zombie apocalypse. The script was well written and the cast was phenomenal. 

The film boldly boasts practical effects, and they are fantastic. The zombies are not at all over done, the makeup is basic, much like those in a Romero film. They also run as apposed to a lumbering walking pace. I love this concept, zombies have always been more terrifying to me when they look and move more like those that are still alive. 

The audio and video quality is amazing. A lot of indie films tend to be grainy and the audio can be a bit scratchy, but not in this case. 

What makes The Other Side so unique is the absolutely insane plot twist at the end. During the film, you will feel as though you are watching a normal zombie film. The whole film is fantastic, but the last five minutes will absolutely blow your mind. The Other Side is everything a zombie film should be and much more.

I highly recommend this film to any fan of zombie films that are over the Hollywood zombie scene and looking for something that will actually make you think. I would love to see a sequel.

You can purchase a copy of The Other Side at TeamOrchard.com. You Can also see the film if you are planning to attend this year’s HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati (for screening times, check with HorrorHoundWeekend.com). Be sure to like The Other Side Facebook Page for stills, announcements and just to show the cast and crew some love.

Synopsis:

It’s just another routine day in Elkwood, PA… or is it? People are missing, and lives will be changed forever once the haunting truth is revealed.

Trailer:

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Horror Block Short Film Festival *Contest*

10_2914_HB_Ann_HorrorBlockShortFilms_Launch_rev2-2Attention aspiring horror filmmakers, Horror Block, the monthly subscription box filled with all kinds of horror goodies, is hosting a short film festival. If you have dreams of becoming the next John Carpenter and you think you have what it takes to make the scariest, most terrifying short film, read on.

Horror Block will begin taking submissions for their short film festival on December 1, 2014. There are only a couple simple rules to follow, you must have an active subscription to Horror Block. These subscriptions are $20 a month, which is not too shabby if you if you calculate the value of the products you receive, and the entry fees of most other festivals. You can pick up your subscription at HorrorBlock.com. Short films should be no longer than 10 minutes in length.

There will be cash prizes for 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, Best Visual Effects and Best Scream.

  • 1st Place- $10,000
  • 2nd Place- $5,000
  • 3rd Place- $2,500

Not a bad payday. 

For more information on this contest, be sure to check out Horror Block on Facebook, twitter and Instagram (@horrorblock).

Good Luck!

Short Film Review: ‘Home Sweet Home’

Indie horror and short films are the backbone of the genre right now, and they seem to be about the only way to find original material anymore.  I was contacted about reviewing a short film by Adam Krause titled ‘Home Sweet Home’.  This short is currently on the festival circuit and from what I’ve seen, shows a great deal of promise.

MoviePosterCreditsWritten/Directed/Produced by: Adam Krause

Starring: Heather Marie, Justin Koehler, Eric Heuvelman, Steve Golla, Dylan Olson, Benjamin Agustin

Runtime: 28 Minutes

Script 4 Sale Productions

Set in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Synopsis:

In the middle of a massive house hunt, a young married couple finds an obscure listing for a “For Sale By Owner” house way out in the country. Ignoring advice from their realtor, the young couple drives out to the house to take a look. Appearing temporarily uninhabited, they see no problem with entering the house for a closer look. But the horror that awaits them is far, far worse than any cramped living area or leaky basement.

‘Home Sweet Home’ is one of the most incredibly written shorts I have seen in a long time.  The arch of the story may have been completed in 28 minutes, but it was just as good if not better than many of the feature length films I have seen recently.  The beginning of the film was startling and contained quite a bit of action for an opening scene.  The middle part of the film was a moderate pace, and the film closed out with a shocking, action packed end.  Every bit of the film went together seamlessly.  One thing that makes this short truly horrifying is the fact that this is something that could truly happen.

A big complaint with short films usually has to do with cheesy acting and bad video quality, but none of these were an issue in ‘Home Sweet Home’.  The video and audio quality were HD quality, and I could easily hear the actors with minimal to nonexistent background interruption .  There was no grainy appearance of bouncing camera.  The acting was phenomenal.  There was no over or under acting.  Everyone was believable and sold the script well.

The killer/villain and effects, whether a short or feature length film, can very easily make or break a horror film.  ‘Home Sweet Home’ quite honestly had one of the most unique, creepy killers I have seen in horror.  Not only was he creepy, but he killed with one of the most bizarre weapons ever to be used on screen.  Both aspects were creative, well thought out and very original.  As far as effects go, there weren’t an over abundance used, which I like, but the ones that were used were great.  Very believable.

Final thought: I loved ‘Home Sweet Home’ and would love to see more from Adam Krause.  There wasn’t anything I could find to complain about.  I loved the originality of the film.  Truly Indie horror at its finest.

To keep up to date on this film, like the ‘Home Sweet Home’ Facebook.

Trailer:

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Interview with Klayton Dean: Writer/Director of ‘Box Kutter Killer’

1385782_590312734349176_619165639_nWith remakes and re-imaginings taking over Hollywood, the Indie scene is where the original material is hanging out.  I was approached by Klayton Dean about his new horror/thriller short ‘Box Kutter Killer‘.  I did an interview with Mr. Dean about his upcoming short.

Box Kutter Killer‘:

Written and Directed by: Klayton Dean

Produced by: Sébastien Rousselet

Studio: Terror Visions

Synopsis:

An everyday citizen pushed to the edge of insanity finally breaks leaving behind what was once to be a quiet existence, now a media driven nightmare.

Interview:

LBoH: Where did the concept from Box Kutter Killer come from?

Dean: Wanting to create a over the top goriest of slasher films. Budgetary reasons restricted my vision as well as the overflow within the independent market of gore films…I want to change things up, make something that’s a little more serious that can be viewed with a overall message.

LBoH: How long did it take to write this short?

Dean: I am constantly adding changes to the script, tweaks here and there but the actual first draft script, 20 mins.

LBoH: Can you briefly describe Box Kutter Killer?

Dean: A film about what could happen when you push someone too far. We all have breaking points and I’m sure at what point or another we have all felt isolated and alone.

LBoH: If you had to compare the gore level of Box Kutter Killer to any other film, which would it be?

Dean: I would say it’s equivalent to the slow burners of the 70’s. Not balls to the wall but when the gore comes…look out. If I had to name a film of recent, Sella Turcica comes to mind.

LBoH: When can fans expect to see this short?

Dean: Early 2014

LBoH: Where will fans be able to view Box Kutter Killer?

Dean: At festivals.. eventually we plan a limited DVD release

LBoH: Are you currently working on any other shorts?

Dean: Yes. I Can’t say what yet but I can tell you it will be featuring a “Collective” of talented artists.

LBoH: Any plans for a feature length film?

Dean: Yes. I am currently working on my first feature film entitled, “Mos Maiorum”

LBoH: Any advice for other indie writers out there?

Dean: For filmmakers…..JUST DO IT. GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO IT. Make something that lasts.

 

To stay up to date on ‘Box Kutter Killer‘, be sure to like the Official Facebook Page and follow the twitter page!

 

Movie Review: Standards of Living (First feature length film to be filmed on an iPad)

SOL-POSTERWhen the majority of us think about movie production, we think lots of cameras and high-tech setups, but can a quality film be made on something  as simple as an iPad 2?  The answer is yes!  ‘Standards of Living‘ is living proof that you don’t need a multi-million dollar camera to make a quality film.

Standards of Living‘ was written and directed by Aaron Mento and presented by Ocular Migraine Films.  The run time is 1 hour and 28 minutes and is the first feature length film to be filmed on an iPad.

Plot:

Peter Sayer is an awful stand up comedian who desperately wants to be funny. One night, after Peter bombs on stage, a mysterious man named Mr. Randall offers him a unique opportunity. Mr. Randall reveals that he has the power to make things disappear, and when he makes them reappear they are “improved.” A bent nail becomes straight, a tarnished coin becomes polished, and an empty saltshaker comes back full of salt. But Mr. Randall wants to make a human disappear…to find out where these objects go, and why they come back improved. Peter volunteers to “disappear” with the hope that he will come back funnier…but the bizarre truth about Mr. Randall’s powers is no laughing matter.

 

Standards of Living‘ was conceptually a great film and very well written.  The character of Peter was someone that you could really feel for. SOL - Peter (1) He dreamed of being a stand up comic, but sucked at it and was completely tormented by the audiences he performed for.  The cast were all great.  The “Stranger” reminded me a bit of a younger Robert Englund.

There were a lot of great aspects to the film, mystery, alternate universes, deception and a few moments of humor.  The makeup and effects in the film were also very well done.  Mr. Randall’s nasty wounds were quite grotesque but looked very real.

The one thing that worried me about this film was that it was shot on an iPad, so what Shooting with the iPadwould the video quality be like?  Well it was fantastic.  No graininess to the video at all.  The audio was a bit off from time to time, but that could have been my connection.

The editing was spectacular.  There were no obvious edit points and the film moved along seamlessly.

Over all, this was a very entertaining film.  I can see ‘Standards of Living‘doing very well and gaining quite the following.  I am a sucker for indie films and highly recommend ‘Standards of Living‘ to all you indie fans that appreciate a creative piece of work.

Be sure to like the ‘Standards of LivingFacebook page, follow Aaron Mento on twitter and subscribe to the Ocular Migraine Films YouTube channel.

To watch the film, CLICK HERE

Here is the teaser trailer for ‘Standards of Living‘ via the Ocular Migraine Films YouTube:

*All links are functional and go to described destinations*

Malcolm McDowell To Star In Giovanis Brothers’ Film ‘BEREAVE’ With Your Help

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Malcolm McDowell
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Neve Campbell

I recently received an email from Evangelos Giovanis about a new project from the Giovanis Brothers called ‘BEREAVE‘.  This film is set to star the icon Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), the lovely Neve Campbell (Scream) and the talented JJ Feild (Captain America), but first they need your help.

BEREAVE’ has become Mr. McDowell’s passion project.  Malcolm believes so deeply in this project, that he has become the Executive Producer of the film.

Before I get into how you can help, here is a bit about the film.  ‘BEREAVE‘ is a feature length drama/romance.

Synopsis:

Fatally ill and unable to reveal this secret to his family, Garvey thinks he has figured out how to die alone. Suffering the mortal fears, Garvey’s behavior becomes erratic. But when his beloved wife Evelyn mysteriously goes missing on their anniversary – he must live to save her! In that short time, Garvey realizes what life still has to offer and in following his journey; we do too.

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JJ Feild
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Evangelos and George Giovanis

For those of you that do not know who the Giovanis Brothers are, they are Evangelos and George Giovanis.  They have self-financed all of their film projects by building, working and selling small restaurants.  Critics compare them to early Scorsese, Tarantino, and John Cassavetes.

This may not be a horror film, but the incredible cast is enough to put me behind it.  The Giovanis Brothers have created a KICKSTARTER campaign to group fund this project.  Much like all other campaigns on KICKSTARTER, there are benefits for each level of donation.  You will only be charged if the film reaches its funding goal.

BEREAVE‘ is currently at $38,112 pledged of the $100,00 goal.  This campaign will only be open until October 5, 2013 which leaves only 16 days to help bring Malcolm McDowell, Neve Campbell and JJ Feild together for this incredible film.

If you can not donate, please spread the word! Every little bit helps.

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Below are links to keep up to date on ‘BEREAVE‘ and where you can contribute to this piece of history.

KICKSTARTER Campaign: Click Here

Facebook: Click Here

Twitter: Click Here

A brief video from the Giovanis Brothers and Malcolm McDowell