Last Friday night at the Jackhammer leather bar in Chicago, Big Gay Horror Fan saw so many perfect mates!! (Well, for at least 5 minutes in a tearoom, that is!). There was a big bespectacled intellectual type who promised, much like an alcoholic Jim Morrison, to help me rip it on through to the other side! There was the burly Italian leather man who told me I reminded him of his wife’s pediatrician (oh the flattery!), and whom did indeed smell like a birthing room. There was, also, that scrawny middle aged punk rocker type who threatened to bind me up in his pink stretch pants if I didn’t recite the words to X-Ray Spec’s “Oh, Bondage, Up Yours!” backwards, in double time! After narrowly escaping that hot situation of almost uncertain doom, I realized that this backroom eclecticism reminded me most profoundly of today’s independent horror scene. There is a little bit of everything out there for terror freaks, everywhere, to enjoy!
For instance, Greg Holtgrewe’s Dawning takes on a grisly psychological bent as a brother and a sister join their estranged father and his wife at the old family cabin for a weekend of marshmallow roasting and reconnecting. Of course, a haunting woods’ presence is out to destroy their strained idyllic maneuverings and the late night arrival of a mysterious stranger seems to spell doom for them all.
While the talented cast (with special kudu’s to Christine Kellogg-Darrin’s strained stepparent) never quite gels as a familial unit and the oblique ending frustrates a bit, Holtgrewe does create a film of true intensity and a sequence involving daughter Aurora’s (Najarra Townsend) spookily lit flight from a car crash is a feast of cinematic beauty. Most importantly, though, Dawning’s emotional impact is highly viable, making one realize that the demons of the past can truly destroy you unless they are dealt with on a true and complete level.
Dawning will be released by Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films on June 28th, 2011.
On the other hand, the equally low budget Death Hunter: Werewolves Vs. Vampires, released on May 24th 2011 from MTI Video, is a frothily fun lark involving a determined husband’s attempt to rescue his pregnant wife from a vicious vampire clan. Of course, being bitten by a werewolf and trained by a cape clad, mad scientist definitely helps our exasperated hubby in his rescue attempts!
Filled with cheesy Ray Harryhausen style wolf effects, wobbly sets and the awkward introduction of group of horny college kids/victims well after the film’s halfway mark, Death Hunter is, ultimately, one of the reasons BGHF loves this genre so much! Directed with enthusiasm by Dustin Rikert, this film is just ridiculously fun! Starting with a bang by adding a surprise twist to the film’s opening kill sequence (often the best part of many horror films)and assisted by Shari Wiedmann’s softly effective performance as the hero’s missing wife, this is a time waster on the purest level, and if you know that going into it, you just might have a ball! Well, a fur ball, that is!
More information on Death Hunter: Werewolves Vs. Vampires is available at www.mtivideo.com