Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Salute Your Shorts: Thrill Kill

Thrill Kill Poster 2

With a budget of $130 and a four hour shooting schedule, Zach Shildwachter’s debut short film, Thrill Kill, made its bloody online debut today.

The short focuses on a man (played by J. Buckner) who is living out a movie inspired fantasy that involves a bank heist gone wrong, necrophilia and a gorgeous woman (Agata Stasiak) on the verge of death, and it all takes place in a speeding '77 Mustang.

Sound exciting?! Well, it is, so take a moment to check out Thrill Kill for yourself, which I have conveniently embedded below:

If you’d like to learn more about Thrill Kill as well as keep up with Zach’s upcoming projects, please take a moment to check out The Studio On Mars at www.thestudioonmars.com. Zach’s a good friend of the CNAMB crew (of one), so show him some love and support!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Youngblood (1978): True Tales from the ‘Hood

youngblood 1978 movie posterOpening with a mean slo-mo basketball sequence filled with short shorts, knee high socks and other questionable, yet eye appealing, 70s fashion, we are introduced to an afro clad young man named Youngblood. It’s immediately clear that Youngblood (Bryan O’Dell) is one cool cat who’s brimming with style and swagger, but as a young man living beneath the weight and pressures of South-Central Los Angeles, he begins to make some bad decisions, including dropping out of school to join a local street gang called The Kingsmen. The Kingsmen are your typical low-level street gang, but as the film unfolds, they begin to get into heavier and certainly more dangerous shit as they aim to take out a major drug cartel, resulting in an all out war.

Written by Paul Carter Harrison and directed by Noel Nosseck, Youngblood is a fairly standard, urban set morality tale with enough depth to give the characters and the world they live in some weight. While he has turned to a life of crime, Youngblood (as well as his counterparts) is very much a victim; a victim of the pressures of being a young black man growing up in a neighborhood where life is nothing short of a daily struggle. Youngblood is forced, largely in part due to peer pressure, to live up to the negative perceptions of what a black man should be, something that has been thrust upon him by society, his friends and even himself.

youngblood 1978 movie poster 3

Of course, bad decisions also come with being a dumb kid; a dumb kid too egotistical and immature to know better, and most bad decisions stem from ego and/or immaturity. Furthermore, Youngblood has no male role model to teach him what it takes to be a “man.” In fact, the closest thing he has to a father figure is his brother, Reggie (David Pendleton); however, Reggie isn’t on the straight and narrow himself, essentially being a high level version of Youngblood. Though, it should be said that, to no avail, he does try to keep Youngblood in line. The only truly positive influence on Youngblood would come from his mother, but unfortunately, however, her influence and strength is yet to be seen let alone understood by Youngblood at this point in his life. Her sacrifice as a hardworking single mother is commendable, even if it goes unnoticed by Youngblood, but there is little she can do to block his unfolding path.

youngblood 1978 movie review 1

One character who does play a major part in Youngblood’s life as both a role model and, in a way, a father figure, is the leader of The Kingsmen, Rommel (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs). Rommel is nearly as prominent as that of the titular character, and in many ways, is going through life in a fashion that is parallel to Youngblood, just from a very different angle. Rommel is living with his own issues as a man, being a Vietnam vet who feels as if he’s been left behind, despite the fact that he sacrificed his life for our country.

As is the case with so many veterans, Rommel HAS been left behind to a certain extent; however, there is also a part of Rommel that uses this as an excuse to not do better for himself and his wife. And again, this likely comes from pride. It should be said that Rommel’s wife is, in theory, very similar to Youngblood’s mother, in that she is the strong female backbone holding up the fort, while her husband is out acting like an immature child. The women in Youngblood are certainly the only grounded characters, holding together a weakened structure without the help of no one.

youngblood 1978 movie review

As you’d expect from a film such as Youngblood, there are lessons to be learned and consequences to be paid, and they are certainly paid in full, making Youngblood fit in perfectly with your typical morality tale driven film. And that’s not a bad thing. The unfortunate aspect about the tale of Youngblood is that it’s a story that could be told about any number of nameless youths living in America right now, something that makes the film as relevant today as it was when it was released in 1978.

Monday, June 10, 2013

‘The Purge’ Prize Pack Winner!

After an epic battle for the ages, a winner has been declared and crowned king of The Purge. Who will it be?! You’ll have to watch the video to find out!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Win A ‘The Purge’ Prize Pack!

The-Purge-2013-Movie-PosterI believe that most of you are aware of The Purge, but allow me to enlighten you anyway: The Purge is a horror film set during a time when all crime has been nearly eradicated due to a yearly “purge” where, from sundown to sunrise, all crime is completely legal.

During this purge, one family comes under attack by a group of criminals, forcing the family to do what they must to survive the night. And this is where the contest comes in: if you lived in a world where a yearly purge occurred, what measures would you go to in order to “survive the night?”

To find out how you would fare, take the quick quiz below, then share your results as well as your email address in the comments section, and you will be entered to win an exclusive The Purge prize pack that includes a t-shirt and mask. The deadline to enter is Sunday, June 9th, so act quickly so you can get your hands on this nifty little prize pack!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The ABCs of Death (2013): Horror Alphabe-DIE-zed

The ABCs of Death Movie PosterThe concept behind The ABCs of Death is simple yet somewhat brilliant in theory. As the title suggests, this anthology film consists of 26 tales of death brought to life by 26 different directors, each of whom was given a letter of the alphabet to focus their story on. Each filmmaker was given free rein to do whatever they please with their story, so long as the title began with the letter they were assigned as well as a death to go with it.

As I said, brilliant in theory, but does The ABCs of Death deliver on its concept? Well, it’s difficult to review a 26 story anthology when there are so many parts that make the whole, so what I decided to do was give a simplistic mini-review for each short followed by a letter grade. This way you can skim each one and get a feel for how I reacted to each and every story as well as get an idea of my general thoughts on the film as a whole.

Before you move forward, however, it should be said that I mostly copied the notes that I took when I watched the film, so there will be moments where I break from the segments to talk about my feelings on the film at certain points during the movie. A sort of editor’s note, if you will, all of which will be wrapped around by a pair of *asterisks*.

A is for Apocalypse
By Nacho Vigalondo

A confusing look at a wife as she attempts to murder her husband while the apocalypse unfolds around them. Doesn’t make much sense, but it’s nicely shot and there is some seriously brutal knife violence.

Grade: B-

B is for Bigfoot
By Adrian Garcia Bogliano

A horny couple attempt to scare a young girl to sleep with a terrifying bigfoot story, giving them the opportunity to “bone” without interruption. Using such tactics for selfish means, however, bites the couple in the butt in this basic story that feels a little hollow.

Grade: C+

C is for Cycle
By Ernesto Diaz Espinoza

A well made and fascinating time travel focused short that follows a man through a time vortex located in his backyard shrubbery. This one does quite a bit with a little time.  

Grade: B

The ABCs of Death horror movie review 1

D is for Dogfight
By Marcel Sarmiento

D is as simple as a man fighting a dog in an underground street fight. Well, dogfight, would be more fitting, I guess. This one is, overall, satisfying and certainly gorgeous in terms of photography and the dazzling use of slow motion.

Grade: C+

*I’m very impressed with the high production value on display thus far. So far each short looks pretty fantastic and has its own distinct style.*

E is for Exterminate
By Angela Bettis

A creepy crawly tale about a man and the spider that is constantly “bugging” him. This one features some nice CGI work, and it’s simple premise makes for a satisfying little slice of horror comedy that, overall, feels complete as a short film.

Grade: B

F is for Fart
By Noboru Iguchi

A Japanese girl farts, which set off a series of transcendent female farting in this short that’s almost too strange and silly to enjoy. And that’s coming from a guy who LOVES farts. Especially his own.

Grade: D

G is for Gravity
By Andrew Traucki

A first person account of a man who drowns himself in the ocean. Too simple to be satisfying let alone poignant.

Grade: F

H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion
By Thomas Malling

Seemingly set during WWII, H features a human-styled dog enjoying a strip tease from a human-styled cat who, unbeknownst to the dog, is a Nazi who wants to steal his power. I think? Outside of the visual look and the strangeness of this one, it didn’t capture my attention in any way whatsoever.

Grade: D+

The ABCs of Death horror movie review 3

I is for Ingrown
By Jorge Michel Grau

A woman is held captive by a man who injects her with something. I don’t know... this one looks great, but makes little sense.

Grade: C-

*By this point, The ABCs of Death is getting a little tedious, and I’m not even halfway through it yet. This does not bode well for my future...*

J is for Jidai-geki (Samurai Move)
By Yûdai Yamaguchi

A Japanese man makes a bunch of silly faces before committing Seppuku. That’s it.

Grade: D+

K is for Klutz
By Anders Morgenthaler

A nicely animated tale of a woman dealing with her turd, which has come back from the toilet to haunt her. Meh.

Grade: D+

*Yeah, things are getting very bleak.*

L is for Libido
By Timo Tjahjanto

A couple of men are strapped to chairs and forced to masturbate to an array of disturbing imagery. If they refuse to tug away, they get a spike in their butt. An unnecessary attempt at being controversial and shocking when it does a better job of coming off as stupid and pointless. Even the nudity cannot help this one out of the bottom of the barrel.

Grade: F

'M is for Miscarriage
By Ti West

A woman is shown fetching a plunger so she can unclog a blood-filled toilet. Despite being Ti West, who often makes movies that go against the grain of the genre proper in a way that can be almost alienating, I have a feeling he mailed this one in without much thought. Very unfortunate.

Grade: D-

N is for Nuptials
By Banjong Pisanthanakun

A man surprises his girlfriend with a talking bird who helps him make a proposal, but the bird soon sends him to the doghouse. Kind of funny. I guess.

Grade: C-

The ABCs of Death horror movie review

O is for Orgasm
By Bruno Forzani & Héléne Cattet

Seen through a series of brilliant imagery and fantastic sound design, a woman achieves the orgasm to end all orgasms as well as her life. Those familiar with Forzani and Cattet’s Amer will have a good idea of what to expect and likely see the brilliance of this one. Those who have not, however, will likely hate it.

Grade: B+

*Even after this solid and much needed entry, I cannot believe that I am still here taking notes and watching this thing. Again, tedious comes to mind, and I’m starting to feel like I’m knowingly wading into shark infested waters.*

P is for Pressure
By Simon Rumley

This one follows a financially poor woman who goes to extreme measures to provide for her children after a boyfriend steals all of her money and leaves her. I was a little confused about this one, but I think there’s a lot of depth that might be better appreciated upon multiple viewings.  

Grade: C+

Q is for Quack
By Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett

The filmmakers break the fourth wall and play themselves as they attempt to figure out how to deal with the crappy letter they’ve been dealt, Q. This is certainly one of the more entertaining shorts, and the ending is as satisfying as the humor.

Grade: B+

R is for Removed
By Srdjan Spasojevic

Surgeons remove patches of skin from a man’s deformed back only to reveal that each portion of skin is a piece of film stock. This one looks pretty good and I dig the body horror, but I have no idea what the hell is going on, nor do I even care at this point.  

Grade: D+
 The ABCs of Death horror movie review 4

S is for Speed
By Jake West

Grade: D-

*With this last one, I have simply become tired of taking notes for each letter and, worse yet, I’m tired of paying attention. I’m almost completely checked out and only in it for the review by this point. These waters are getting very choppy.*

T is for Toilet
By Lee Hardcastle

A funny claymation short about a boy who takes a deadly poop.

Grade: B-

U is for Unearthed
By Ben Wheatley

This short is all shot from the perspective of a demon who is under attack in the woods by townsfolk and clergy, who seem to be attempting to exorcise the unseen creature.

Grade: C

*Again, my energy to keep going here is nearly depleted. The temptation to turn this thing off is starting to take over. Will I make it?! Seriously, I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown.*

V is for Vagitus (The Cry of a Newborn Baby)
By Kaare Andrews

A cool looking sci-fi actioner with some great special effects and a moderately intriguing premise.

Grade: C+

W is for WTF!
By Jon Schnepp

Another short featuring the filmmakers trying to come up with ways to deal with the letter W, all of which are nicely realized in some form or another. Similar concept to ‘Quack’, but actually very different in its end result.

Grade: C+


X is for XXL
By Xavier Gens

After a bunch of assholes make fun of a heavy set woman, she goes to extreme measures to measure up to the perception of women in magazines and on television. The results are absolutely brutal and quite satisfying.

Grade: A-

The ABCs of Death horror movie review 2

Y is for Youngbuck
By Jason Eisener

A revenge tale that gives a young boy the chance to get back at a creepy pedophile. This one really delivers as a whole and features some gorgeously garish style drenched by a seriously badass soundtrack.

Grade: B+

Z is for Zetsumetsu (Extinction)
By Yoshihiro Nishimura

Not all that positive about what’s happening in this one, but there’s a lot of nudity and Nazis featured in this psycho-sexual orgy of nonsense. Whatever.

Grade: D


There are few words that I can use to describe how badly The ABCs of Death fails. Regardless of the few strong entries and interesting concept behind the film, this anthology is simply an inconsistent mess that does nothing to keep the viewer hooked for more than a few segments.

I do love that there's so much diversity in style and with the directors involved, and having filmmakers from so many different countries contribute to this piece is fantastic; however, that is also a part of the overall problem, as The ABCs of Death simply doesn't feel cohesive as a piece of anthology cinema.


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