Written and Directed by: Paul Soter
Featuring: Pell James, Johnathon Schaech, Jenn Foreman
After the marketing blitz of the After Dark Horrorfest films, some of which were fun and others were abysmal, the production company decided to branch out into the original content arena. These releases, done on independent-film budgets and often leaving any real lasting impact, are straight-to-DVD horror films that are more suited to screening on a lazy weekend afternoon on the Chiller channel than anything that would become someone's new favorite film. Still, I've been a fan of Johnathon Schaech since The Doom Generation, so when I saw Dark Circles sitting on the new release shelf at my local video store, I picked it up.
Directed by: Brian Netto
Written by: Adam Schindler
Featuring: Laurel Vail, Danny Barclay, Colter Allison
(This review includes spoilers.)
The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off yet another jam-packed year, one light on horror movies, but full none the less. One of the scary movies that was screened is Delivery, a horror/found-footage/reality TV/hybrid movie. Let's get right to the point: If you don't like any of those elements, or combination thereof, you will not like this movie.
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Written by: Moira Buffini
Featuring: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Caleb Landry Jones, Jonny Lee Miller, Sam Riley
Neil Jordan gave us one take on the vampire myth in the glossy 1994 Hollywood version of Interview with the Vampire. Almost 20 years later, he's back with a fang with Byzantium, a much grittier Brit rendition of those who walk by night. It's a much smaller story, although it too spans several centuries, but it doesn't quite manage to distinguish itself among the current glut of bloodsucker yarns.
Written and Directed by: Matthew Cooke
Produced by: Bert Marcus and Adrian Grenier
Featuring: Eminem, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, "Freeway" Rick Ross, "Big John" Harriel Jr., Skipp Townsend, Brian O'Dea, "Pepe," Barry Cooper, Mike Walzman, Susan Sarandon
The "War On Drugs" has been waged, in different incarnations, since the first attempts at prohibition in the early years of the 20th century. It's a class war, and a race war, engineered by men like Harry J. Anslinger, first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He firmly believed most drug users in the 1930s could be classified as "…Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."
Directed by: BJ McDonnell
Written By: Adam Green
Featuring: Danielle Harris, Derek Mears, Kane Hodder, Zach Galligan, Robert Diago DoQui, Caroline Williams, Rileah Vanderbilt, Cody Blue Snider, Sean Whalen
Adam Green's landmark franchise, Hatchet, has been controversial among horror fans since its debut in 2006. While some panned it as a rip-off of Friday the 13th and accused Green of being an overzealous fanboy hack, other fans bonded together to form a fiercely loyal fan club called The Hatchet Army who devour everything related to the series. These fans helped launch Hatchet into the stratosphere and ensured not only one sequel, but two.
We all know, of course, what happened on April 15, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts; as thousands of people ran a famous marathon through one of America's oldest and most historic cities, multiple explosions went off near the finish line. Many were killed or injured, and fundraisers have sprung up across the globe to help the community and the victims and their families. And one of the philanthropists lending a hand is one of horror's most beloved figures.
Written and directed by: Peter Strickland
Featuring: Toby Jones, Cosimo Fusco, Fatma Mohamed, Eugenia Caruso, Antonio Mancino, Tonia Sotiropoulou
A fond tribute to giallo, a hymn to analogue recording equipment, a vehicle for the irresistible Toby Jones – on paper at least, Berberian Sound Studio looks like it might be the best movie ever made. Peter Strickland's second feature is certainly a delight for the senses, indulging the audience in the intensity and theatricality of 1970s Italian horror, aural and visual details heightened for maximum effect. Unfortunately, the delicate plot threads spiral out of control in the third act, leaving the audience awash with all the delicious possibilities (mysteriously disappearing technicians, dead chaffinches, actresses taken ill, an unseen intruder lurking within the studio) that never come to pass. Nonetheless, this arthouse horror movie offers some noble, rather than the usual guilty, pleasures to genre aficionados.
Directed by: Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein
Written by: Renae Geerlings, Tyler Mane
Featuring: Tyler Mane, Muse Watson, Derek Mears, Leslie Easterbrook, Renae Geerlings, Susan Angelo, Alex Saxon
In early May, Dallas hosts a huge horror convention called Texas Frightmare Weekend. TFW always features some of the most prominent and exciting guests in the horror genre as well as some terrific screenings, and this year was no exception.
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof
Featuring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller
Star Trek: Into Darkness might just be the perfect summer blockbuster. (Yes, I know it's still spring, but my thesis stands.) It's big, it's loud, it's well crafted, it's immensely entertaining and quite clever (or, more important, feels clever in the moment). What else could you want from a major Hollywood popcorn flick?