Indie Horror

All posts tagged Indie Horror

Review: Necroplasmosis

Published June 17, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

necroplasmosis

In the early ‘90s, long before the days of instant internet accessibility, those who loved their ladies of horror had two places to go: the glossy, more mainstream Femme Fatales magazine and the grittier, homegrown Draculina. Harkening back to that underground Draculina vibe, writer-director-performer Henry Frias Leon and co-writer-lead actress Courtney Perkins create something very visceral with Necroplasmosis, their latest short film.

Perkins plays Lucinda, a photographer with slightly macabre subject matter, and Leon is the obsessed filmmaker who is following her around. Strong and resourceful, Lucinda ultimately finds the most cutting way to deal with an errant beau here. Nicely, unlike the days when Hugh Gallagher seemed to control everything that came out of Draculina, Perkins and Leon seem to be equal partners in Necroplasmosis. Thus, the world they create seems free of exploitation and centered around mutual interest.

Here’s hoping, though, that future installments will show Lucinda taking out her skills of vengeance upon all those right wing bigots and power figures that are still threatening to keep women from their equal rights.

Until then, be sure to check out this initial DIY work at:

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: Deviance

Published March 31, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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Deviance is probably not the gay themed horror film that the community wants right now. With our liberties in danger and the powers-that-be convinced that we are less than deserving of normal rights, a movie about a queer hustler and a possible homosexual serial killer is probably not the shining beacon of positivity that activists are looking for. Even in ordinary circumstances, writer-director James Hennigan’s dark look at perverted lust and unsavory life choices may have earned a raised glance or two. But art is not supposed to be politically correct or follow conscionable trends. Thus, this is an often brave and revealing piece of celluloid.

High school student Connor (Hennigan) is living with his drunk, abusive father (Greg Thompson) and his concerned sister (Tracey Allyn). When he is caught kissing another boy, he is thrown out of the house and takes to the streets. Meanwhile, the shy, sheltered Milton (Tim Torre) is under the sway of his extremely religious mother (Melissa B. Robinson). His obsession with a handsome jock soon takes a twisted turn, though, and, as a result, his family life is completely blown apart. Years later, Milton is still struggling with his violent impulses while Connor’s continued reliance on prostitution to make ends meet collides with a moment of murderous rage, as well. The two outsiders are eventually drawn together and, as the movie races to a close, only one may make it out alive.

Deviance-mainFilled with strong performances and a look at homosexual sensuality that owes much to the grisly novels of alternative queer icon Dennis Cooper, Deviance also deals honestly with how bad parenting and the extreme tenets of hypocritical faith can destroy the souls of the young, no matter their orientation. Hennigan, Thompson, Allyn and Robinson shine in their various scenes, committing fully to their roles, whether sympathetic or not. But this is Torre’s show. He physically embodies all the awkwardness of Milton’s desires with a concise neediness and skilled precision. It’s a powerful, multi-leveled performance.

Hennigan, meanwhile, directs with a taut understanding of his two troubled protagonists. In a minor misstep, has take on the surprise ending is more in keeping with the slasher motif and seems at odds with the film’s layered and dramatic tension. But, if it means more films with Torre as Milton, then it is a forgivable offense. It is about time that we have a gay monster to march up the body strewn paths previously occupied by Michael, Freddy and Jason and this character just may be the one to do it.

Deviance is available for viewing on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Deviance-Tim-Torre/dp/B06WP55DN5

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: Blessed Are the Children

Published February 2, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

blessed-are-posterWillow, the adorable toddler in the apartment across from me, always seems to be in front of my door when I’m making a quick exit for work or the grocery store. She, breathlessly, will tell me about her adventures at her babysitter’s house or how her cat, always misbehaving, has stepped on her feet again. I’ll cluck, encouragingly or sympathetically (whatever the case may call for), and hurry on my way. If that is stalking, I’ll take it.

Traci, a woman breaking away from a violent relationship, in director-writer Chris Moore’s emotional Blessed Are the Children, though, finds herself, unfortunately, fixated upon by some violent, mask wearing strangers after her visit to a women’s clinic. These mysterious villains are soon obliterating the men in her life and are also putting Traci and her roommates, Mandy and Erin, in harm’s way, as well. Could these figures be tied in with Traci’s disapproving mother or is there something much more malevolent at work here?

Whatever the answers, Moore is to be highly commended for taking a series of social issues and placing them, firmly, in the context of the traditional slasher film. He delves into all the reasons that Traci (a finely modulated Kaley Ball) decides an abortion is the right decision for her and, with the effervescent help of actress Keni Bounds, he creates one of the strongest lesbian characters to ever benefit a genre film with Mandy. Fun, mothering and complex, she is the standout personality here.blessed-are-mandy

Granted, it’s a fine line to walk in a film wallowing in violence and retribution. There is always the chance that certain viewers will assume that Moore is suggesting that Traci and Mandy deserve any bad tidings that come their way. But by the film’s end, one almost imagines that it is this duo, along with Arian Thigpen’s delightfully awkward Erin, that are the real “children” being referred to in the movie’s title, so lovingly are their quirks, foibles and devotion for each other explored. 

Nicely, Moore also provides the expected bloodshed and several twists are sure to give audience members’ a nice sense of surprise, as well. One almost wishes the final act of the film was a bit tighter, but the penultimate moments of the movie are chillingly and haunting rendered, making this project, as a whole, an extremely memorable one. Most importantly, this fadeout also provides a prescient and poetic mediation on the current state of the world, one where hate and bigotry seem relentless and never-ending and we are all innocents in danger of losing not only are freedoms, but our very lives, as well.

https://www.facebook.com/childrenareblessed/

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: The Barn

Published January 26, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

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Murderous ghouls in horror films can get away with almost anything…stabbings…beheadings…castrations. But stealing someone’s bag of candy? Well, then they may just have some serious retaliation on their hands. The dynamic resurrected killers in Justin Seaman’s ambitiously fun The Barn discover this the hard way when the film’s determined hero Sam and Josh, his plucky best friend, come after them to retrieve their purloined goods. Oh, and of course, to avenge their friends’ deaths and bring a halt to the dreaded Feeding which is sure to cause world doom. the-barn-2

But this visceral adventure is also a wake-up call for the youthful Sam (an effective Mitchell Musolino), who is full of holiday pranks and addicted to mindless diversions. Chastened into public service, after a joke-gone-wrong, the resourceful Sam eventually figures out a way to do his good deed while on a road trip to see his favorite metal band. Unfortunately, he and his friends stumble upon a remote barn and unleash a trio of monstrous entities that soon lay siege to their bodies and to a small town’s Halloween celebration. Therefore, it is up to Sam to embrace his imminent adulthood and try to save the day with Josh’s (the engaging Will Stout) assistance.

Adding greatly to the film’s throwback appeal, writer-director Seaman luxuriates in some memorable killers and some epic set pieces here. His terrible trio, The Boogeyman, The Candycorn Scarecrow and Hallowed Jack, drip with a satanic moodiness and are far creepier than many of the killers that populated the incredible number of imitative slashers that hit the video shelves in the mid to late 80s. A bloodbath at a local dancehall is also amazingly well choreographed by the multi-hyphenate and brings to mind projects as diverse as Brian DePalma’s Carrie and Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys.

the-barn-1Cameo appearances by Friday the 13th’s Ari Lehman and Linnea Quigley, America’s true goddess of horror, add to the movie’s appeal, as well. In particular, it is fun to watch Quigley, who played saucy victims in such memorable titles as Graduation Day and Night of the Demons, as she does a creative 180. Here, like in her effective turn in Full Moon’s Trophy Heads, she plays an uptight religious matron, the source of Sam’s initial downfall. With a sly sense of humor and a soft authority, she gives the production its star power – something that, given the artistry involved here, wasn’t necessarily needed for the project, but does provide a nice bonus for true fans of the genre.

The Barn (and its related goodies) is available for purchase at www.thebarnmerch.com. More information is available at https://www.facebook.com/TheBarnmovie, as well.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: Party Night

Published December 29, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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From torrential rainfall to broken hearts to pyrotechnic teens, prom nights have always had the potential for disaster. Unfortunately for them (and lucky for us), the soon to be graduating friends in writer-director Troy Escamilla’s fun throwback Party Night find that this particular rite of passage can be very deadly, as well.

Here, sensitive Amy and crew head to her boyfriend’s uncle’s remote house for an intimate celebration after their prom. Of course, girls have been disappearing at an alarming rate, nearby, and the six young adults soon find that they have landed right in the killer’s lair. Amid drunken relationship trauma and the angry rhythms of growing pains, members of the group are soon separated from each other and meet their fates at a stealthy killer’s savage hands…and his various knives and assorted kitchen pottery, as well. Soon the ever reliable final girl is fighting for her life as gallons of red stuff spews and lives are irreparably damaged forever.

With loving reverence, Escamilla plays with the familiar tropes of these films…an important event, a secluded location and lots of bloodshed. We get the expected characters, as well, with the intelligent, slightly awkward heroine, her sensitive boyfriend and a variety of sexually adventurous and hard partying companions. But as a writer, Escamilla adds nice shades of angst and normalcy to his stock personas, giving all of the major characters a nice sense of depth.

The actors also accomplish much in making this an effective exercise. Nicely, they are a diverse lot, culturally, and despite a bit of awkwardness here and there, they deliver solid performances. Laurel Toupal is, perhaps, the most natural and endearing as Amy, with her final moments ringing with true emotion. Tommie Vegas, meanwhile, brings a nice sense of effective sass to Molly while Ryan Poole and Drew Shotwell each perform with a natural grace and a definite color of urgency when the stakes of their characters’ lives are thrown into savage turmoil. Nicely, as an antidote to the expected female nudity, it is Poole who spends the final third of the film shirtless while Toupal’s Amy fights for her life in a formal gown.

The film’s true highlights, though, just may be Mark D’Errico’s gloomy and prescient score and Heather Benson’s special effects work. Benson’s wounds are simple yet effective, but she definitely luxuriates in the red stuff, making Party Night one of the bloodiest slasher films ever made, a fine achievement for a film made from a very obvious love for the genre, but very little cash.

https://www.facebook.com/partynightmovie

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

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Movie Review: Murder for Pleasure

Published November 15, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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The only time I care about cereal killing is on those mornings when I wake to find that my box of generic Frosted Flakes is empty. Writer-director Derek Braasch’s early hours, however, find him more interested in the mind of a surprisingly vicious serial killer named Victor in his latest feature film, Murder for Pleasure.

What is, perhaps, most gratifying about this bloody dive into the mind of a sadist is how Braasch, and his co writers Anthony Pellizzeri and Mike Miller, capture, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the mindset of an unbending patriarchic male with their lead character.  Victor, quietly and thoroughly played by Nick Bender, attacks his victims for their supposed sins – promiscuity, homosexuality, lack of romantic interest in him, abortion – with the fervor of the religious right. It is a portrait of unchecked masculinity that is surprisingly representative of our current and often violent, misogynistic culture.

Beneath the copious amounts of gore and symbolic torture porn, Braasch also supplies some truly striking visual moments – a scene of watery child abuse is potent and a dream sequence that spells the end of Victor’s latest, unrealistic coupling is full of languid purpose, as well. In fact, Braasch works with a nightmarish quality throughout the film’s running time, creating an almost unreal universe where Victor’s crimes are never punished.

A bit too meandering at times, with major characters and motivations sometimes revealed far too late in the proceedings, Murder for Pleasure is still an ambitious project that lovers of cinema about unrepentant murderers will probably find very enjoyable.

https://www.facebook.com/Murder-for-Pleasure-535499069797697

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: Night Terrors

Published September 15, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

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While, perhaps, considered blasphemous by some, this critic maintains that Night Terrors killer Santa segment provides more visceral enjoyment than the classic And All Through the House from 1972’s Tales from the Crypt. Sorry, Joan and friends!

Here, a rampaging Claus obliterates a group of likeable punks in a rundown house. Full of humor and bloody mayhem, this jolly (yet very murderous) stranger makes quick work of these youths in a variety of brutal ways and then, thankfully, makes his way onto the typical (and very annoying) suburban family next door. Interestingly, the fact that writer Alex Lukens and director Jason Link create very enjoyable and relatable victims makes the violence seem all the more random and unnecessary. These are the type of people that populate your favorite local bands or write that anarchistic blog that you adore and are the exact opposite of the obnoxious and privileged denizens of the popular slasher projects from the ‘80s. Thus, their demises, while fun, are littered with a touch of rare poignancy.nt-santa

Baby Killer, the second story in this well executed independent horror anthology from Weird on Top Pictures, benefits from some emotional immediacy, as well. Here, writer-director Lukens goes for broke, creating some of the film’s most disturbing visuals, including the savage murder of a young child, as a mad scientist-type goes on a killing spree trying to save his dying daughter. Although, actor Richard Hackel fills his determined patriarch with such anguished passion that it is hard not to feel for him. Meanwhile, Miranda Howard’s Sandy is equally effective as she, valiantly, fights for her life and that of her unborn child.

nt-baby-killerThe final story, Abstinence, is full of gooey madness as a viral infection, caused by sexual contact, takes its toll on a college campus. Most notably, actors Sean Jones and Joe Bachan add plenty of bro-type humor while Asia Rain is an effectively attractive presence as the woman worth dying for.

Admirably filmed on a budget of $5000 with mostly non-actor types, Night Terrors even succeeds with its wrap-around segment,  featuring an annoyed older sister (the invigorating Alyssa Benner) spinning scary tales to her relentlessly sleepless brother (a cutely exasperating Dominic Crawford).

You can rent this fine indie terror achievement at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QU8OOY4 or purchase it and other goodies at www.weirdontoppictures.com.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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