Edward Furlong and Tracey Gold Square Off Against Arachnoquake – You have to give it to the SyFy channel. What their original features lack in quality and budget, they make up for in pure audacity. It’s reached the point where we suspect they don’t even care about a script before greenlighting new projects – they just look at a title, and if it’s crazy enough, they move forward from there. How else can you greenlight something like Arachnoquake?
Terminator 2’s John Connor (Edward Furlong) and Growing Pains’ Carol Seaver (Tracey Gold) team up to fight hordes of giant albino spiders who’ve been released from their subterranean prisons and are now wreaking havoc on New Orleans in director Griff Furst’s (Swamp Shark) latest B-movie masterpiece.
There’s no official air date set for Arachnoquake, but expect it sometime in 2012.
New Trailer for Foreign Chiller The Squad Debuts – If there’s one thing we love around here, it’s horror movies involving the military. Flicks like R-Point and Dog Soldiers show that you can put well-armed and highly trained soldiers against supernatural menaces and still have a compelling feature. Because of that, we’ve been really excited about Jaime Osorio’s The Squad since it first blipped onto our radar awhile back.
The film tells the tale of a squad of soldiers sent to investigate a Columbian military outpost after the army loses contact with the base. When they arrive, they find everyone -- save for a mute woman in chains – slaughtered. As they try to uncover what happened, they’ll be forced to fight an enemy they’ve never prepared for – with what appears to be horrifying results. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think. There’s still no release date for The Squad, but we’ll keep you posted as it inches closer to its debut.
MDC's Scott Weinberg Unveils His Best and Worst Horror Films of 2011 -- Our own Scott Weinberg is a horror geek's horror geek -- and the maven of the macabre has recently revealed his top 20 best and worst horror films of 2011 right here at Movies.com. You might be wondering if there were actually 20 horror films worth seeing in 2011 -- and as Weinberg proves, there were. While some selections have inspired debate (is We Need to Talk About Kevin really a horror film? We say yes), there's no going wrong with any of the films Scott has chosen as the year's best. I've yet to write a best horror of 2011 piece, and honestly, there's really no need for me to do it now -- I can point to Scott's list and say "those are the films I'd have picked," although I did like Red State more than Scott did.
Help Restore Manos: The Hands of Fate for a Blu-ray Release – Hailed as one of the worst films ever made (and the basis for one of the greatest episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000), director Harold P. Warren’s campy horror film Manos: The Hands of Fate has earned a cult following over the years. Unfortunately, the version everyone has seen was taken from a battered theatrical print that had degraded quite badly, but since there were no better prints out there, it seemed as though we’d never see a high quality version of the film – until now.
Cameraman Ben Solovey has uncovered a pristine workprint of the Manos – and with your help, he’d like to bring it to audiences on Blu-ray. To fund the new transfer, Solovey has launched a kickstarter page where appreciative cinephiles can donate cash to make sure this cult classic schlock flick is preserved for future generations. The project has already passed the $10,000 goal (it’s sitting at over $15,000 donated as I type this), but keep giving – all the extra funds raised will go to doing even more to ensure that fans get the complete Manos experience. One potential perk? A commentary track with all of the surviving cast members. That alone should make you reach for your checkbook.
Kidding aside, Manos may not be a great film, but it is an important piece of cult film history – and anyone who loves horror and low-budget filmmaking should swing by the page and donate as much as they can toward what is assuredly a worthy cause.
Intervision Set to Bring Olaf Ittenbach’s German Splatterfest Burning Moon to DVD – German filmmaker Olaf Ittenbach is revered amongst horror fans who love their movies gory, and one of the director’s most infamous films is about to turn up on DVD in America. Mark your calendars, because Valentine's Day will see the release of Burning Moon – one of the goriest, violent, and repulsive German splatter flicks of all time.
Intervision is set to unleash this blood-splattered epic (shot on VHS, no less) on unsuspecting audiences on the most romantic day of the year, because nothing says love like wall to wall carnage and a newly unearthed 45-minute long documentary on the making of this gore classic.
Ittenbach stars in the anthology flick as a twisted junkie telling his sister two disturbing bedtime stories – one about a serial killer who slaughters an entire family, and the other about a murderous priest’s descent into Hell. Needless to say, this is not a film for those with weak stomachs – the final act of the priest story is one of the most overtly gory set-pieces I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine what it will all be like with English subtitles…
Adding a copy of Burning Moon to your DVD collection will set you back $19.95 – which seems like a small price to pay for one of the goriest films ever to emerge from Germany.
Rammbock: Berlin Undead isn’t the first German zombie film (which is a bit of misinformation that seems to be floating around out there – Olaf Ittenbach’s Premutos predates it by over a decade, though), but it may well be the most competently made and serious walking dead flick to ever emerge from the country. It’s not a great film, but it does just enough things right to keep fans of the genre happy.
Michael (Michael Fuith) is hurting after his girlfriend of seven years, Gabi (Anna Graczyk) dumps him. He heads to Berlin under the pretense of returning the keys to her apartment, but his real plan is to woo her back into his arms. Unfortunately, he arrives at her place just as the zombie apocalypse starts. Michael winds up trapped inside the apartment with Harper (Theo Trebs), an apprentice worker who was doing some repairs in the flat. It’s the end of the world, and all Michael can think about is how to find the woman he loves…
Running just under an hour in length, Rammbock is an interesting film that feels incomplete. The movie cuts to credits just when things are starting to get interesting, and it’s unclear if this was by design or because director Marvin Kren simply ran out of money. I admire any film that comes in, tells a tale, and exits before overstaying its welcome, but this is one instance where the abbreviated running time actually works against the story being told.
Part of this is because Rammbock uses zombies as something of a MacGuffin. While the film presents itself as just another movie about the zombie apocalypse, the truth is that Rammbock is really more concerned about love and relationships and things of a personal nature. This isn’t a particularly groundbreaking approach to the zombie narrative – guys like Romero have been using zombie flicks as metaphors for years – but Rammbock does manage to present these ideas in a way that’s not as ham-handed as most zombie flicks out there.
Unfortunately, Michael’s not a particularly interesting or likable lead. I don’t expect every zombie film hero to be a skull-crushing tough guy, but Michael’s so dweebish that it becomes more annoying than endearing. One could try to draw comparisons to Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, except Simon Pegg makes that character someone the audience can root for – which puts him light years ahead of Michael.
The film’s one genuinely appealing character is Harper, but he plays second fiddle throughout. When the film ends, it closes at a point where Harper could become a more important part of the film – which is a disappointment. Perhaps Kren and company were hoping to set up a sequel…
The zombies on display are fairly gruesome looking, which makes it all the more disappointing that they rarely ever chomp on people. When they do, it’s relatively bloodless – which is the last thing I expected from a German zombie flick. Couple that with the fact that Rammbock’s zombies are of the running variety, and well, it’s a bit of a downer.
The zombie action might not be perfect and the script might need some work, but director Marvin Kren’s visuals are impressive. The film is set in a series of limited locales (mostly apartment building interiors), but the whole thing is presented with a muted color scheme and stylish set design that highlights the bleak mood the film is working so hard to portray. Kren uses the drab visual aesthetic of the film to craft a mood of hopelessness and despair – even though talking heads on the TV are insisting that the situation is under control. Rammbock is Kren’s first lengthy feature film, but I’m already interesetd in seeing what he does next.
Ultimately, Rammbock is a flawed little film that manages to overcome most of its shortcomings. I suspect at least some of my issues with the movie stem from an overall feeling of zombie fatigue as the walking dead continue to overrun popular culture. That being said, I still love zombie movies and books and comics and videogames and I can still appreciate a good story with rotting corpses in the main cast. Rammbock is a decent story, albeit one that ends sooner than it should have. They say you should always leave an audience wanting more – so in that regard, the movie is a success. It’s not perfect, nor even a cult classic in the making, but Rammbock is still worth catching if you like zombie films with some actual subtext.
Horror on the Horizon
Now that Christmas is behind us, it's finally safe for horror flicks to return to the multiplex. 2012 is set to kick off with the release of Paramount’s demonic possession flick, The Devil Inside.
The film is presented in the faux documentary style of movies like Paranormal Activity. Here’s the official plot breakdown:
“On October 30, 1989, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) committed 3 murders during an exorcism performed on her. She has since been in a psychiatric hospital in the Holy Church in Rome.
In 2009, twenty years later, her daughter Isabelle (Fernanda Andrade) and a film crew try to find a pastor/scientist to help Maria. Isabelle starts to question whether she herself will one day be possessed. Maria's possession proves to be unlike anything in the history of Christianity. It goes horribly wrong, and the only piece of evidence is the footage caught by the film crew.”
The trailers for the film look decent (check one out for yourself below), but it should be noted that The Devil Inside was directed by William Brent Bell – who also gave us the dreadful 2006 horror film, Stay Alive – a movie about kids dying in a videogame.
Will Bell be able to break free from his past failings and deliver an early season chiller to please the masses? We won’t know for sure until the film possesses theatergoers on January 6th.