Thursday, December 23, 2010

"I enjoyed the hell out of Dismal" - Horror News

Take in the latest review of Dismal from Enjoyed the performances and loves a good backwoods cannibal movie. Well who wouldn't, right?

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Keeps it old school and does everything well" - Video Views

Video Views got a sneak peek at tomorrow's DVD release of Dismal and seemed to enjoy it, giving it 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars. They called it a "horror film that fans are going to want to check out." Impressed by the cinematography and setting to the production value and effects, but reviewer recommended it to horror fans, but what really pushed them over the edge was the acting. The acting "came as a pleasant surprise," and the reviewer really enjoyed the "stand-out" performances by leads Lydia Chandler as Dana and Bill Oberst, Jr. as Dale. He says Bill "does deranged perfectly".

Get on over to and read the entire review. And pick up your copy tomorrow (Dec. 21).

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Backwoods horror that hits all the beats" - McBastard's Mausoleum

McBastard took some time at his mausoleum to snag a copy of Dismal and give 'er a look see. What he found was nudity and killin' aplenty in a good ol' fashioned backwoods horror flick. He adds, Bill Oberst, Jr.'s character Dale is "a foreboding and demented son-of-a-bitch". Now that's some good stuff! Everyone wants a great bad guy and you can find more than one of them in Dismal.

To read the full review go HERE.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dismal covered in Fangoria

After a long wait, Dismal finally received its due with an exclusive in Fangoria, the world's leading horror mag. "We were anxious to get a piece in Fangoria and who wouldn't," remarks Dismal producer / publicist Christopher Cook, "but they wanted to wait until we had a DVD release date. It was a long wait." Dismal scribe and producer, Bo Buckley adds, "The movie (Dismal) had a run On Demand, it aired on Showtime and then The Movie Channel and we still couldn't get a mention. Now it's like the monkey is off our back."

As an added bonus there were mentions of Fearmakers' upcoming Bigfoot thriller Savage and their sub-division, Strange Stuff's zombie / comedy Death of the Dead. "It's cool," says producer Justin Soponis, "Having your film mentioned anywhere is cool, but Fangoria takes it to a whole new level."

The team at Fearmakers is proud of the films exposure and grateful for the entire cast and crew who braved the elements to make it happen. "We've built some wonderful, lasting relationships from that film," reflects Buckley. Some of those relationships followed Fearmakers to their next effort, Savage, including the producing team of Freezer Locker Films, VFX QuadraHelix, composer Ken Lampl, design team Steelcoast Creative, actor / stuntman Jack Harrison, DP Shawn Lewallen and others. They also reteamed with executive producer Jack Abele and director Gary King for Strange Stuff's Death of the Dead. "We worked with so many talented, passionate people," observes Soponis, "it would be foolish of us not to work with them again."

Dismal is now available for pre-order through many places including,, and more. Make sure you get your copy. Official DVD release is Dec. 21, 2010.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MTI Acquires Savage

AFM 2010 was eventful for Fearmakers. Savage will soon be available on DVD from MTI Home Video. MTI has been bringing you genre entertainment since 2004. Fearmakers is excited to be partnered with this company to bring you our beloved Bigfoot movie SAVAGE!

We'll keep you posted when we learn more details of an official release date.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fearmakers Black Friday sale starts early

Go to the Facebook Fan Page, click on the "shop now" tab and buy one of our great titles for an ultimate low price! Individual titles for only $6.99 plus shipping or buy our three pack for only $20 and FREE SHIPPING. You'll never get a deal like this again. Order them now in time for the holidays. They'll make a great gift for the horror enthusiast.

Savage stars Martin Kove (The Karate Kid, Rambo), Lisa Wilcox (A Nightmare on Elm St. 4&5) and Tony Becker (TV's Tour of Duty) and was called "the best bigfoot... ever" by Rue Morgue.

Dismal has appeared On Demand through Time Warner and Charter and aired on Showtime and The Movie Channel.

Death4Told stars Margot Kidder (Superman, Amityville Horror), Tom Savini (fx guru), Alicia Goranson (TV's Roseanne) and KC Armstrong (Howard Stern Show personality) and introduces Rich Sommer (Emmy® Winning actor of AMC's Mad Men) and Nar Williams (host of Science Channel's Science of the Movies) in their first feature roles!!!

And don't forget to pick up your official T-Shirt for a mere 7 bucks! Limited quantities. Don't be the one without it.

Order now. This offer ends when the weekend does.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veterans Day Sale - 50% off DVDs

Until midnight tonight, order any Fearmakers DVD and get it at HALF PRICE! That's right, in honor of Veterans Day and all the folks who protect us on a daily basis, Fearmakers is selling their DVDs at 50%. But you must place your order by midnight. Go to the Fearmakers Facebook fan page and click on "Shop Now" to place your order.

Fearmakers would like to thank the men and women who have served or currently serve in the armed forces. You are the ones who keep our nation safe and free and allow us to make movies and follow our dreams. We salute you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dismal On Demand

If you are a The Movie Channel subscriber and have On Demand you should be able to check out Dismal any time you want until Nov. 11. Don't miss an opportunity to see this gruesome flick from Fearmakers.

If you don't have TMC On Demand but are a TMC subscriber you can still see Dismal a few more times before it arrives on DVD. See the schedule below.


If you're anticipating the DVD release you can preorder now from and secure your copy. Or you can order from the Facebook fan page right now and get it before the public does. Click on "Shop Now".

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Nights 13 of 13: Vampire Killers

On our last night in honor of Fearmakers' sub-division Strange Stuff, actor / director / writer / producer, Jack Abele, reviews the horror / comedy Vampire Killers.

Vampire Killers
by Jack Abele

The boys at Fearmakers asked me to watch a movie and write up a review. They said since I've been producing and starring in their new Strange Stuff movies I should watch this film called Vampire Killers. I did, and boy what a movie. Now I like serious movies. Dramas and movies with substance. This movies was neither a drama nor did it have substance. Instead it's a movie full of nudity, lesbians and juvenile humor. Don't get me wrong, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but this isn't the kind of movie I'd generally watch for myself.

The movie is about this town cursed by a vampire queen and these two down-on-their-luck guys from London take a trip there after the lead guy, Jimmy (Mathew Horne), gets dumped by his on again, off again girlfriend for the 8th time. So they go to this remote town looking for girls and low and behold they find a van full of hot, young women looking for a good time. They all wind up at a cabin and party into the night. Pretty soon these lesbian vampires start seducing the girls and turning them into lesbian vampires too. So Jimmy, and his wise-cracking buddy, Fletch (James Cordon), have to save the town from the curse.

Okay, so the good. The script didn't have deep dialogue, but the acting from the main cast was pretty decent. The script was intentionally silly so not much can be expected in the way of deep, emotional performances. Aside from some of the breast baring girls, the acting was acceptable. Probably the best performance was by James Cordon who has good comedic timing. He made me laugh on several occasions. The girls were pretty and plentiful and most of them were topless, so if you're a guy and like that in your horror movies you'll like this one a lot. I guess if you're a girl who likes that you'll appreciate this movie too. The settings were nice and creepy although the movie isn't scary at all, and the editing was creative and played into the fun theme of the movie.

Now the bad. The story is too convenient. These guys happen to go to this cursed town. A bus load of hot girls just happen to be college student studying folklore, and Jimmy just happens to be a descendant of the guy who started the curse and subsequently the only one who can defeat the vampire queen. I understand it's a silly comedy but I felt the story could have been better woven. Most of the movie has good visual effects but there were a few moments where you can tell it's bad computer animation, particularly the blood. I've produced a few movies where CGI blood was used and I know that's hard to make look real on a low budget, so I don't fault them, but it wasn't all that good either.

Overall not a bad movie. I understand there is an audience for this kind of movie, a big audience, but if you like to drink wine with your dinners and prefer serious dramas to slapstick comedies this is not the movie for you. If you like fart jokes, gratuitous nudity, ridiculous situations and over-the-top gore, this movie is right up your alley.

Jack gives Vampire Killers

Jack Abele was the EP on Dismal and has starred in Strange Stuff's Death of the Dead and the upcoming Attack of the Alien Jelly Monsters From the Depths of Uranus. He has several more Strange Stuff projects slated to film next year. Additionally Jack writes, directs and produces his own films. His film Integro is available on DVD. You can find out more about Jack and his movies by going to his WEBSITE.

To see Jack in Death of the Dead, go to the Strange Stuff Facebook fan page and click on the "Shop Now" tab.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Nights 12 of 13: The Haunting (1963)

Actor / Producer, Harley Kaplan, finds the classics to be where true horror lies with his review of The Haunting (1963).

The Haunting (1963)
by Harley Kaplan


Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING is a chilling masterpiece that holds up incredibly well almost five decades after it was filmed due to the amazing craftsmanship of a remarkable director and cast. The plot, which involves a group of amateur psychics gathered together in an eerie, supposedly haunted mansion, was adapted from Shirley Jackson's gothic novel "The Haunting of Hell House." As Eleanor "Nell" Lance, an unstable young woman with a disturbing past, Julie Harris anchors the the story. Her tormented, no-holds-barred performance reveals a character who in the process of trying to flee her past ultimately crashes head-on into her destiny. In many ways, Eleanor is the "Hell" in Hell House. The film's other central characters, the questionable Dr. Markway (Johnson), the hipster Luke (Tamblyn), and the haughty clairvoyant Theodora (Bloom), orbit Nell until their combined powers push her into an unfathomable terror.

Wise's taut direction allows the film to build suspense cerebrally without the use of major Hollywood special effects. He allows the film to build at a novel pace, taunting the viewer to find the terror is his own mind. Remarkable sound effects supercede what is shown on-screen and the viewer is left shocked and terrified by the film's conclusion.

Today's filmmakers take note: DO NOT OVERDO IT! And, by all means, skip the 1999 re-make!!!

Harley gives The Haunting (1963)

Harley is still acting in New York, and when he's not acting he's casting others in movies. You'll be able to see him in the upcoming film, You Have the Right to Remain Violent. If you can't wait that long, check him out in Death4Told. Purchase your copy by going to the Fearmakers Facebook fan page and clicking the "Shop Now" tab.

You can find Harley on Facebook.

Halloween Nights 11 of 13: House (2008)

Visual FX wiz, Jerime Kenne, reviews a movie with heart, soul and some nifty visuals, House (2008).

House (2008)
by Jerime Kenne

House (2008) Is the story of one couple with some marriage issues and another couple with just plain issues. Both couples have car trouble and end up in the same backwoods B&B one dark and stormy night. Soon they are introduced to the residents of this creepy B&B. Adding insult to injury they soon find out they are locked in with this overly odd family while a psychopath waits outside for them to fulfill his request of one dead body by morning. During the course of the movie you find out each person is dealing with their own personal hell due to their past transgressions and how they try to work through them. The movie ends with people dying and a twist that you will probably see coming.

I picked house for a few reasons, it’s considered an independent and because it has a nice marriage of practical and visual effects (VFX). This movie has about 150 VFX shots, and for the most part all of them are pretty good. Like any marriage sometimes there is trouble and this film is no different. I’m not going to bore you with a nerd rant about VFX so you’ll just have to see for yourself. Michael Madsen, Leslie Easterbrook, and Bill Moseley do make great additions to the cast when they are on screen making House a fun watch. I would RedBox it or Stream it from NetFlix if you get a chance.

Jerime gives House (2008)

Jerime continues to do visual FX for film / TV. He has another project coming up with Strange Stuff called Attack of the Alien Jelly Monsters From the Depths of Uranus. You can see his other work in Fearmakers' features Dismal and Savage as well as their sub-division Strange Stuff's Death of the Dead by going to the Facebook fan page and clicking on the "Shop Now" tab.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Nights 10 of 13: A Nightmare on Elm St. 3

Beauty conquers the beast this night when the lovely actress Christina Rose reviews the third installment of the Nightmare series, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
by Christina Rose

So Halloween weekend is coming up, and I figured what better time then to watch a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ Marathon. I ended up watching four out of the series. In the end I ultimately decided to write my review on ‘Nightmare on Elm Street 3-Dream Warriors (1987)’. I didn’t choose this film because I think it’s the best out of the films that I watched (The best one in my opinon is the very first ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984). The reason I’m going to discuss the third film is because I loved certain parts of the film, and was so disappointed with others.

The film stars Heather Langenkamp, as Nancy, who returns to the third film after the second film bombed. I was happy with the fact that the producers brought her back as I enjoyed her performance in the very first ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’. Her character is quite a bit older in this film and instead of in high school she is now a professor at the Mental Institution in which the majority of this film takes place. The film opens with Kristen Parker played by Patricia Arquette being sent to the mental institution after it looks like she was about to commit suicide. That’s what’s so great about this movie!! Freddy attacks the children in their dreams, and makes their deaths look like suicides. The survivors get sent to the mental institution and continue to be haunted by Freddy in their sleep. What a brilliant way to start a horror film by having the film take place in a mental institution!

Some of my favorite Freddy deaths happen in this film. Totally disgusting and amazing at the same time is the death of Philip (Bradley Gregg). I loved the special effects of the ligaments getting pulled from every part of his body as Freddy uses him as a puppet to walk him all the way to an open window where it appears he jumps out the window to commit suicide.

There is great character development, and I thought each of the characters were interesting and unique. Some of my favorite performances were by Patricia Arquette, Heather Langenkamp, and of course Robert Englund as Freddy Kruger.

Once we get to the middle of the movie things start to get rough for me. In my opinion ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ is supposed to be scary, and yet still have a cheese factor to it. However, this film got way too cheesy towards the middle. The characters all enter a ‘Dream’ together to try to fight Freddy as a team. While in the dream they notice they all have “special Powers”. One character can backflip, another has the power of a loud scream, another is strong enough to bend a chair, another becomes a wizard, while the last one becomes beautiful? Wow! This is where the movie loses me. I don’t need to see special powers especially if they are dumb, uninteresting, and won’t do anything to save them from Freddy. And yet, some of the special powers actually do catch Freddy offguard for a brief second. They are no match for him when he actually ends up killing quite a few of them (which I enjoyed). Once again, I believe that the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ films should involved lots of deaths and not kids with special powers. I will watch ‘KickAss’ to see a film like that. In the end Freddy finally kills Nancy, and the kids eventually kill ‘Freddy’. However, In true Freddy Kruger fashion Freddy of course…lives on. (for severeal more sequels plus a reboot) :)

Christina gives A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Christina Rose is a dedicated actress with her credits listed on You can visit her site at and follow her social networks on Facebook: and Twitter. To see her in Fearmakers' sub division Strange Stuff's Death of the Dead simply go to the Facebook fan page and click on the "Shop Now" tab.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weeee're Baaaack!!!!

Showtime has added Dismal for a second run, this time on their sister network, The Movie Channel. If you missed it the first month, well here you go. You get a chance to watch it on cable one more time before the big DVD release Dec. 7, 2010.

Here is the upcoming schedule for Dismal airings.

Sat 11/06 10:35 PM THE MOVIE CHANNEL

Halloween Nights 9 of 13: Halloween 2 (2009)

Actor / Stuntman and Fearmaker bad guy, Jack Harrison, reviews the first remake by our review staff with Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 (2009)

Halloween 2 (2009) by Jack Harrison

Obviously a Rob Zombie film, and that alone will draw someone into watching it. You put the DVD in thinking two things: first - this is another remake, and second - how good is this going to be with a rock star as a new found director. It's not like just anyone can jump into the director's chair and do a good job. However, I have to tell you that I was really impressed with the direction and choices made on this film. I love the use of the young Michael Myers character in the set up. It takes the character out of the supernatural and humanizes him a great deal. After all, most people who suffer from some mental disorder or psychosis usually have early warning signals as a child. I understand the need for the Momma Myers character, but would love to see this guy take on the whole movie by himself. Norman Bates, Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, etc... are all driven by some weird unnatural relationship with their mothers. I think too much back story on a villain degrades some of their fear factor. You could tell that Rob Zombie wasn't holding back at all on his interpretations of the Halloween franchise nor would he appear to make any apologizes for it either. Near the beginning of the movie a young lady is being prepped for operation in the ER. The cinematography, sound design, special effects, and of course the acting will bring you as close as possible to one woman's suffering. It sets the tone for the movie and prepares you a little for what's in store for you as a viewer.

As an action actor / stunt coordinator, who has also played my share of villains in horror movies, I admire the choices made with the main character Michael. Played by a much bigger and more muscular Tyler Mane (known for Sabretooth in X-Men), the character has an effortless walk and strength about him. I also liked the departure from the white mask and the use of the hooded cloak jacket with a full beard in the traveling scenes. It did kind of remind me of Kane in Kung Fu though... traveling around fighting bad people he encountered. But this grasshopper was 7' tall and carries a monster hunting knife.

I really didn't see many huge stunts in the film. It was a physical film, but not anything too dangerous to shoot. The death scenes were done very well, but relied on great story telling and special teams, like amazing special effects and superior editing. My favorite kills in the film occur at the strip bar and also with actor Danny Trejo; who I met at HorrorFind 2009. He is a terrific guy that I later had drinks with that night at the hotel bar. He told me I should contact Steven Seagal's people about stunt doubling for him. I said, "Steven's getting a little older now, I may have missed the boat on that one." As usual, Danny does a very good job with his character. Rob Zombie succeeded with his vision of Michael. That's the way it's suppose to be done! Also, I like how Michael is unbiased in targeting victims. Man, woman, good, bad, friend, foe, it's all good... you're dead!

The only change I would have made is to lose so much of the dead mother's ghost with the flash back and dream sequences. Also, I wanted a much more mind blowing ending. But I'm a stunt coordinator and action junkie. Of course I think everything should be over the top. Otherwise, it was a great roller coaster ride of a horror movie and well worth the time to buy it and watch it.

Jack gives Hallowen 2 (2009)

Jack is very active as an actor, stunt coordinator and performer and keeps busy with his On 3! Stunt Team. You can see their stunt work HERE. Also check out Jack's Facebook page. If you want to see his work in the movies, catch all the stunts and Jack as his own horror icon Idiot in Fearmakers Dismal and the beast in the Fearmakers Bigfoot movie Savage by going to the Fearmakers Facebook fan page and clicking on the "Shop Now" tab.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Nights 8 of 13: Predators

Fearmakers Producer and marketing specialist, Christopher Cook, chimes in and reviews the most recent film yet by our review staff, Predators.

by Christopher Cook

BAM! You wake up in free fall and have no idea how you got there and what's going on. Where are you? Do you have a parachute? Will it open? Talk about a piss-you-pants loosen-your-bowels moment. Welcome to Royce's (Adrien Brody) world.

PREDATORS, released in July of 2010, is the story about killers who are dropped on an alien planet so they can be hunted by the Predators. Who kidnapped them and how did they pull it off? We don't know.

The killers are clueless as the audience, but they build on what little they know to gain an understanding of the situation and survive. This is the springboard for a story that results in.not much of a story. Who lives? Who dies? Who cares!

One highlight of the movie is when Noland (Laurence Fishburne) makes an appearance. It's a small part, but he knocks it out of the park. GO LARRY!!!

PREDATORS doesn't have much of a story, but it's still pretty fun if you don't have anything else to do and it's on cable anyway. What the hell. Don't buy it on DVD, don't buy it On Demand, but watch it if there's nothing else on. Meh!

Christopher gives Predators

Christopher has produced on all three Fearmakers features. To see them simply go to the Fearmakers Facebook fan page and click on the "Shop Now" tab and order your copy today!!!

Halloween Nights 7 of 13: Martyrs

High Tension may have put the modern French horror film on the map, but composer Ken Lampl reviews perhaps a lesser known, but very powerful film in Martyrs.

by Ken Lampl

MARTYRS (2008) Directed by Pascal Laugier is described as “One of the most ferocious horror films ever made”. That my friends is a gross underestimation of one of the greatest horror films of our time. I kid you not. I walked into my local Blockbuster Video and pulled Martyrs off the shelf looking for some simple horror snuff. I had no idea of the visual and psychological onslaught which was about to begin. It takes the graphic violence of Eli Roth’s HOSTEL, combines it with the metaphysical philosophy of Bergmans THE SEVENTH SEAL. The end will knock your socks off!

MARTYRS is more than a horror film, it is a philosophical and religious journey into then nature of existence. The plot twists and turns in a completely unpredictable fashion. What begins as a typical “torture snuff ghost” film turns into an existential crisis that Kierkegaard would have been proud of.

This is not a movie for the faint of heart. If you want horror film making at it’s best, this is it.

Ken gives Martyrs

Ken is a fantastic composer who has worked on a number of Fearmakers projects including Dismal and Savage and also completed the score for Strange Stuff's Death of the Dead. He's worked with director Gary King several times. You can check out his website at To hear his work on DVD you can purchase Dismal, Savage or Death of the Dead by going to the Fearmakers Facebook fan page and clicking on the "Shop Now" tab.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Nights 6 of 13: Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Thespian Mark Van Fossen, who played Billy in Death4Told, reviews a forgotten made-for-TV gem in Dark Night of the Scarecrow.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow
by Mark Van Fossen

It might seem unusual when you find a film that spans the vast cosmos of time and still creeps you out (just by thinking about it) long after the film has gone into the realm of forgotten works.

No reruns, no reminders in idle movie conversations with old friends or in books or articles, nothing.

Especially when that film was a made-for-TV movie that is currently approaching its 30th birthday.

Many years have gone by and many good, mediocre, and bad horror films have gone by with them but Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) is one of those rare gems that, surprisingly, doesn’t come up in horror chats too often. It should.

It’s a film that has stood the test of time, for me anyway, ever since it aired as a CBS prelude to Halloween back in the day. I recall watching this film in a strange living room in a strange house in a long-ago era where it seemed most houses lacked a sufficient supply of lightbulbs, almost like a horror film itself… (I wonder as I write this if I’m the only one who thinks of the late 70’s and early 80’s as some sort of half-assed Dark Age? Probably. But everything just seemed dim, and it wasn’t my outlook on life, I can promise you that.)

Directed by novelist Frank De Felitta and written by screenwriter J.D. Feigelson (whom by the looks of his photo could’ve been just as comfortable plowing fields as wielding a pen), Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a simple story of revenge set in the equally simplified landscape of rural, cow-infested, corn-overdosed America.

It follows the story of Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake), a mentally handicapped man who is wrongfully accused of attacking a little girl, then subsequently hunted and murdered for it by several ignorant townspeople.Consequently, Bubba’s ghost comes back in the form of a scarecrow (in which he was hiding at the time of his death) and exacts swift revenge on the four men who gunned him down. Simple enough, right?

Also starring Charles Durning, Lane Smith, and Jocelyn Brando (Marlon’s sister) as Mrs. Ritter, the film really is a strange and terrifying look at themes and elements that still stand strong today. Themes of paranoia and mistrust, hate-crimes and disillusionment. These elements just happen to be shrouded in a really kick-ass, yet eerie, horror story.The film, by most standards, is considered a B-Movie and has remained forgotten over the years until a sudden surge of popularity (thank you Internet) has thrust it back into the public eye. By most standards, it’s also considered tame. So if you’re expecting Saw or Wolf’s Creek or something really gruesome and bloody, you might be a little disappointed. The film was finally released for DVD and re-released on television in 2009. (Thankfully George Lucas had nothing to do with the re-release or Bubba the scarecrow would probably have been riding a Dewback… but I digress - again.)

Watching this film again recently, I can immediately see why I loved it as a kid, and still do. The acting is excellent and really sucks you into the story and the elements of terror and suspense are compelling enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. (Thinking about it now, this could very well have been the film that made me a die-hard fan of horror movies and started the imaginative ball rolling - or as some people like to say, “screwed me up in the head”.) Feigelson weaves the tale together with enough suspense and dark sinister qualities that keeps you biting your nails, if not at least thinking about your nails. Or somebody else’s nails. Or somebody else biting you. And the cinematography (for TV-movies of that generation anyway) could possibly be viewed as “ahead of its time”. It was shot beautifully and there are some moments in the film, regarding photography, that still catch me off-guard.

Originally planned to be a feature for the theaters, CBS bought the script and decided to produce it for the small screen under the now defunct Wizan Production Company. (This probably irritated Feigelson, though it shouldn’t, because someone will surely come along and remake it into a crappy feature in the coming years. Reminders of The Fog and The Hitcher come to mind.)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow may not be considered a classic, even with its reemergence and growing popularity, but if you haven’t seen this movie (but love those old creepy movies shot on grainy film) then do yourself a favor and see it. You won’t be sorry, I’m sure. It’s a fantastic little piece with great characters played by some surprisingly familiar faces and carries that air of suspense that may just reach out and stab you with a pitchfork. It’s also a movie that might just “stick” with you. I can confidently say that since watching this movie all those years ago I have never once driven the back roads of Ohio on late Autumn afternoons, past cornfields and farms, and hadn’t thought of Bubba the scarecrow lurking somewhere just off the road, his beady eyes following me, hoping for an engine failure... After all, Feigelson wasn’t dubbed the creator of the “Killer Scarecrow” sub-genre for nothing. So, go see Dark Night of the Scarecrow to find out why and have a Happy (and creepy) Halloween!

Mark gives Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Mark Van Fossen continues to act and is actively writing and developing his own projects. You can see him in Death4Told by going to the Fearmakers Facebook fan page and clicking on the "Shop Now" tab.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween Nights 5 of 15: The Human Centipede

Fearmaker founder, Bo Buckley, dissects one of the most talked about horror film in recent history, The Human Centipede.

The Human Centipede
by Bo Buckley

I really had no desire to watch this movie for entertainment value. It was out of pure intrigue over the widespread discussion the movie has generated that I just had to see it. What I found was after you get past the shock value that is three people being sewn ass to mouth there really isn’t much left.

The movie starts out like many movies we’ve already seen. Take your pick, two American tourists break down in a remote part of Germany on their way to a club. A creepy foreigner rolls up and spouts obscenities, because, let’s face it, all foreigners are creepy, right? At any rate there is no cell service and instead of driving on the rim until they find civilization they decide to hike to the nearest residence… THROUGH THE WOODS! All right, all is forgiven. I mean, it’s not like we’ve never seen people do dumb things to get the horror film rolling. So let me wrap it up. It starts raining and they find a house owned by a retired surgeon; but no ordinary surgeon, the leading specialist in separating conjoined twins. Well he’s a cuckoo bird now and he wants to make a human centipede so he finds a tissue match and sews them up. The rest of the movie involves having the surgically stitched travelers trying to escape.

As I mentioned, the squeamish part of the film is going through the play by play of how the doctor intends to attach the victims. Once you get through that 10 minutes you’re really left with not much else sans a terrific performance by Dieter Laser who plays the mad doctor. Dieter portrays the creepy kind of madman I saw out of Bill Oberst, Jr. who played Dale in Dismal, the film I wrote and produced. Dieter was very good and unnerving. The rest of the cast consisted of two actresses who, apart from a few scenes of being lost and repeating each others names (I’ll touch on this later), spend much of the movie with their faces shoved into a rectum, and a Japanese actor who literally screams the entire film and two German cops who are in the movie for 5 minutes. Thankfully Laser’s performance keeps you watching but in the end you’re left kind of empty.

There’s really no point to this movie other than shock value, and as I said, that’s just a few minutes of the film. But the story lacks the depth to make it more than just shock. What made the doctor go mad? Why does he want to attach 3 innocent people (other than his line “I hate human beings”)? What scientific discovery will he make? It’s definitely not like the Frankenstein-type films where there’s something to be discovered for science. But I did rent it from Redbox so maybe I got a cut version and there’s another version out there that explains it better. My other grip is the writing. Apart from the lack of story depth, one of my biggest pet peeves is when characters, who obviously know each other repeat the other character’s name every time they speak. Two girls taking a European trip together should know each other well enough not to say their name before every line. Listen to yourself talk to someone close to you today, how often to you say their name outside of talking about them or calling out to them? Probably not a lot. And stuff like that immediately draws me out of the experience.

Overall Laser’s performance and the 10 minutes of shock could be enough to check this movie out, but the dollar Redbox rental was about all it was worth to me. Although, I am curious to hear interviews with the two actresses about what they thought when they were going to spend 75 percent of the movie muffling into a stranger’s ass with no shirt on. That must have been an interesting discussion.

Bo gives The Human Centipede

To see Bo's work as a writer, producer and / or director, you can pick up one of his many titles by going to the Fearmakers facebook fan page and clicking on the "Shop Now" tab.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Nights 4 of 13: Texas Chainsaw Massacre

One of the seminal works in modern horror history is reviewed by one of the writers of Death4Told, Jim Palmquist.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
by Jim Palmquist

Being a child of the 80s, I frequented the mom and pop video star in my small hometown near Cleveland, Ohio. I took extreme delight in perusing the cover art of the VHS tapes in the horror section. It was not until I was 12, however, that my mom finally relented and allowed me to watch them. To this day, I have no idea why she agreed to such a pact as she hates horror films, but she did and boy did I take advantage. I watched every Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, Phantasm and anything else I could get my hands on. Watching those films though, there was one figure that stood out more than Jason and his machete, Freddy and his glove, Pinhead and his puzzle box and the Tall Man and his spheres. It was Leatherface and his chainsaw.

From the opening scroll voiced by John Larroquette telling of the heinous events that we are about to watch all the way to the iconic end with Leatherface swinging a chain saw wildly over his head, terror, fear and dare I say awe will grip your very being. Before The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, here was a movie claiming to be based on true events. And who could argue? We didn’t have the internet to verify such claims. And even though we do now, I still have people swear to me it is a true story.

Tobe Hooper, with a combination of skill and luck, gathered a group of unknown actors and filmed his masterpiece during the hottest four weeks of the Texas summer in 1973. Very common at the time, he shot his independently financed movie on 16mm film (some of the funding which came from the profits of a little movie titled Deep Throat). Not so common, he shot the script in chronological order. Both choices proved incredibly effective. The saturation and grain of the film, not to mention the excellent cinematography becomes a character itself. You can also feel the anxiety grow as the film pushes forward, both a product of the tension naturally built into the script as well as the cast’s exhaustion at the filmmaking process itself. Often overlooked, I also have to appreciate the sound design of the film. At times very annoying, but extremely effective, the senses are overwhelmed to the extreme with clangs, squeals and chicken sounds while our brain tries to process the visuals presented to us. As an audience, we are thrust into the macabre. And in the end, just like Sally, we can’t believe what we have just witnessed is happening.

Jim gives The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Jim currently writes and produces for the weekly blog which discusses all things nerd including movies, comics and video games. And if you want to snag some of Jim's movie writing work, pick up Death4Told at the Facebook fan page. Just click on the "Shop Now" tab.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Nights 3 of 13: Blood Gnome

Aaron Moorhead is the talented DP of Strange Stuff's Death of the Dead and a cinephile at heart. He prefers the ugly to the good and the bad and it doesn't get much uglier than Blood Gnome.

Blood Gnome
by Aaron Moorhead

Today I'm going to talk to you about one of my favorite visual travesties: Blood Gnome. This was introduced to me by a friend who found it in the dusty corner of Blockbuster's preowned bin. He paid six dollars. I paid the same to own it. I had to.

Blood Gnome is a horror movie that is about an eccentric reporter who is hunted by a group of interdimensional goblins that are invisible to the eye until you look at them through a video camera or you taste their blood, and they only attack if you're having strange bloodsport sex, or if you're the main character. They attack you by knocking things over or putting tiny cuts on your arms or legs. Damn, I just made this movie sound good.

Put simply, this movie has no redeeming qualities except for the occasional boob. The main character discovers everything by talking to himself, the cops are always "plainclothes with badges", and rarely does one event logically lead to the next. But even greater is this: the production values are the absolute rock bottom that I could possibly find on a movie with relatively mainstream DVD distribution, which is the whole point of my purchase and this review.

The whole work is shot on some kind of low-end digital camcorder, but not like Paranormal Activity where it's a choice. It's shot with standard setups: over-the-shoulder, reverse, wide, that is to say, it's not meant to be verite. It's the camcorder they had lying around before they decided to pick it up and make a movie. The lights are often in the frame. They are 500 watt worklights from Home Depot. The composition is never good, the sets are definitely the apartment buildings of the producers, the actors are their buddies, and this was shot on free weekends on-and-off for, oh, my bet is three weekends. It looks and plays like the movies that you shot in high school. For ninety minutes.

Here's why this is important. This movie is on the shelves, being watched by people who saw the cover art and decided to buy and/or rent, and is being reviewed by condescending losers like myself. It's visible, it's accessible, and at least two people have bought it, probably completely offsetting their production budget. But seriously, they made this movie quickly and haphazardly, unlikely to have made a film before, and with the worst possible final product, they still got a distributor to throw some money at it and the world can now see their work.

It's not as easy as it was to get distribution when this was made, but one will have to work hard to make something this bad anyway. They had a helping hand up to distro by throwing some boobs and blood, but ultimately the lesson to be learned here is this: if Blood Gnome did it, so can we all.

Aaron gives Blood Gnome
for taking the effort to actually complete the film

You can check out more of Aaron's work at PLP Films and pick up a copy of his beautifully shot horror / comedy / action masterpiece Death of the Dead by going to the Facebook fan page and clicking on the "Shop Now" tab.