SiREN is a very fun monster movie based on the short “Amateur Night” from V/H/S. In this feature length version, director Gregg Bishop takes the simple idea of the wolf in sheep’s clothing and adds a whole slew of hints at a much larger world full of mystical adventure and threats. Hannah Fierman returns as “Lily” the sweetheart of a monster who has big eyes and bigger teeth. Justin Welborn (The Signal) really shines as the villain of the story, the human/inhuman trafficker “Mr. Nyx.” Nyx runs an anything goes Eyes Wide Shut style club in a mansion in the middle of the woods of the southern town of Garden City. When groom to be “Jonah” rolls in with his groomsmen to celebrate his bachelor party, the excrement makes physical contact with a hydro-electric powered oscillating air current distribution device.
At first, the foursome of the groom and his men come off as templates of The Hangover gang, but the writers manage to give them a little more depth as the story progresses. All of our leading men turn in solidly charming performances. It doesn’t hurt that the creators of SiREN don’t settle for a simple douchebags in peril storyline. They give what could otherwise be a forgettable film an edge by including a veritable Star Wars Cantina of supporting creatures and weird patrons at Nyx’s club. Brittany S. Hall as “Ash” is a particular standout. The reveal of her character’s special talent suggests a magical world supporting the action of our… Continue reading
In Los Parecidos (The Similars) writer/director Isaac Ezban has created a loving tribute to the horror and sci-fi masterpieces of 1960s TV and film. The setup will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen an episode of “The Twilight Zone”. Onscreen text establishes that it’s October 2, 1968 as a rainstorm wails outside a remote bus station. A male actor delivers a voiceover narration in a clipped baritone in the sale of Rod Serling introducing one of the story’s ancillary characters “Martin”. Martin works the ticket counter and reads nudie magazines and listens to the radio to pass the time. A young man with shaggy hair and one hell of a beard “Ulises” is frantically trying to get to Mexico City as his wife is in labor in a hospital there. A young woman fleeing her abusive husband arrives; she too is trying to get to Mexico City to escape her abuser. An indigenous woman (possibly Mayan or Aztec) is also in the station. She is agitated and seems to be praying or performing some sort of religious rite in the corner. Meanwhile, as other characters arrive at the station, something truly bizarre begins to unfold as Martin spontaneously grows a beard and starts to morph into Ulises’ twin. From this point, paranoia and fear take over the proceedings as our stranded cast of characters try to deduce what is going on and who is responsible for it.
Fans of “The Twilight Zone” will appreciate The Similars. The vignetted photography and use of filters create a vintage look and Edy Lan’s musical score is a perfect homage to the work of Bernard Herrmann. This film really feels like a lost episode of the TV series that inspired it. Like Serling, Ezban works some political and classist… Continue reading
NICK JONGERIUS: Thank you very much! Really appreciate the attention and hopefully I’ve answered your questions to your satisfaction.
F: Besides the climax of 1931’s Frankenstein, I can’t think of a windmill being an important set piece in a horror film. You’ve built an entire film around one. Why?
NJ: Hahaha. There is a small part for a windmill in Sleepy Hollow, but I guess you are right. I think windmills have followed me my whole life. I was born on a street called the Saw Windmill street, which was near an old creepy windmill. Where I live now there are a lot of windmills too. They kind of creep me out, because they stand tall in the field and have no windows. If a swinging blade hits you, you will likely die. I really liked the idea of this thing that creeps me to be the arena for my feature debut.
F: The Windmill successfully blends classic tropes of slasher films, “The Twilight Zone,” and traditional ghost stories and legends. I feel like the “dark and stormy night” style of storytelling is in short supply these days, so what inspired you to bring it back?
NJ: Thanks. I hear what you are saying and I agree. Chris Mitchell (screenwriter) and I really love the old Amicus movies and Agatha Christie. These stories in which strangers get stuck with one another and once the shit hits they realize they have something in common. In that sense this film is definitely a throwback to these old movies. I like characters who are outspoken and differ from each other. It gives tension in a group and the horror elements change the dynamics constantly. The film… Continue reading
The Windmill is a slasher film and a spooky supernatural tale in the tradition of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and countless campfire tales. The film is very good and certain to please a wide variety of horror fans. It’s gruesome and gory, yet restrained when it benefits the eerie atmosphere. The acting is top shelf too, featuring the always expert Noah Taylor (“Game of Thrones”, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as the troubled doctor Nicholas and Charlotte Beaumont (“Broadchurch”, Jupiter Ascending) in the lead role of Jennifer. Jennifer is an Australian fugitive on the run in Amsterdam. She ends up with Nicholas and a diverse cast of characters on a tour bus in the back country of Holland. When their bus breaks down near a dilapidated ancient windmill, all hell breaks loose and the passengers begin to disappear one by one as is the tradition of any good slasher film.
What sets The Windmill apart from most slashers is the care taken in creating atmosphere. Who knew Holland’s countryside could be so ghostly and weird? The surroundings are evocative of sets from classic monster movies, but with enough grimy realism to make them worthy of being inhabited by modern characters. The story is given some additional depth by implementing the classic Serling-esque trope of anti-heroes as acceptable targets for supernatural punishment/redemption. Our protagonists all have checkered pasts that ultimately led them to the windmill. This trope can… Continue reading
Sarah (Chelsey Crisp, “Fresh Off the Boat”) and Matt (Michael Steger, “90210”) have moved into a big house in the country. Sarah is pregnant and the couple hopes to raise their new family away from the city. They’ve invited their friends Bree and Dave out to the new house to celebrate. Sarah’s estranged twin brother Eric and his girlfriend Skye crash the housewarming party, and they convince the group to spend the evening ghost hunting in the nearby ruins of a burned-out prison.
Bleed is the first feature film from writer/director Tripp Rhame (also a first for co-writer Ben Jacoby). The filmmakers were wise to surround themselves with veteran actors who do a good job of bringing to life an otherwise middling screenplay. Crisp and cast elevate a run of the mill straight-to-video offering to something better; a film that successfully creates a spooky remote atmosphere. In the first act, Sarah has a blow out on a lonely country road and a squirrelly small-town deputy comes along to help her change her tire. Actor Mark Ashworth plays the deputy and his performance is a stand out. I would have really enjoyed seeing much more of him and was disappointed that he didn’t have a larger role to play.
Much of the film features subtle makeup effects that work beautifully, without drawing too much attention to them. The digital visual effects, however, cheapened some scenes they were intended to enhance. These moments weren’t terrible or jarring, but some unneeded bigger visual moments were attempted that didn’t particularly benefit the end product. Bleed shines more during its more atmospheric and simpler moments. The film’s runtime is only 80 minutes, yet it drags a little in places. Bleed is an above average ghost story… Continue reading
NOTLP.com had the opportunity to ask Mr. Winther a few questions about Painkillers and his life in the movie industry Enjoy!
NOTLP: What attracted you to Painkillers?
PW: I love Science Fiction as an entertaining genre to reflect issues that affect our society today. The themes of our origins on the grand level and a tale of redemption on the personal level attracted me to Painkillers.
NOTLP: What three adjectives would the cast and crew of Painkillers use to describe you?
PW: Brilliant, Handsome, Humble.
NOTLP: One of your early jobs was as an Associate Producer on Roland Emmerich’s 1994 sci-fi action adventure Stargate. I saw some of that project’s DNA in Painkillers. Were you conscious of the similarities when you were making the film?
PW: Every film you make affects the ones you will make. Roland has been a great friend and mentor to me so certain aspects of his style have… Continue reading
NOTLP: How were you cast as Major Cafferty in Painkillers?
TP: Got a phone call from my agent that the director and producer, Peter Winther wanted to discuss a project with me. I read the script, liked it, we had a Skype conversation where I shared my thoughts on it and we signed not soon after.
I also suggested some casting ideas, one of which they were actually able to cast, Colm Feore as Doctor Troutman. He’s an amazing actor and i’ve always been a huge fan. I can’t tell you how excited I was to work with the man.
NOTLP: What three adjectives would the cast and crew of Painkillers use to describe you?
TP:… Continue reading
A sound collage from the DAMAGED Hearing 2006 Halloween Special, utilizing musical loops, movie clips, soundboards, sound effects, high frequencies and low pitches, backwards masking, and villainous unmasking. Constructed by Louis Fowler and recorded live on the air at KRFC Studios on October 31st, 2006.
Lincoln Taggert (Ronen Rubinstein) is a teen who is tormented by his classmates and his father (Andrew Bryniarski). One day he lashes out against one of the bullies at school injuring him, so Lincoln is sent to a camp for troubled teens. Lincoln makes fast friends with a fellow outcast named Isaac (Spencer Breslin, yes Abigail’s older brother) and an attractive young lady named Kaitlin (Grace Phipps). That’s pretty much where the good times end for Lincoln as he is swiftly targeted by the camp’s bullies led by the preppy and arrogant Willie (Maestro Harrell). Enter Moira (Sierra McCormick), a vengeful ghost that Lincoln inadvertently summons when he wishes all of his tormentors dead. What follows is sort of like if Moaning Myrtle killed Draco Malfoy and his friends on behalf of Harry Potter and Co.
First-time director Adam Egypt Mortimer does a competent job presenting the screenplay that he wrote with co-writer Brian DeLeeuw. My blood boiled as I watched Lincoln pushed around by all of the assholes in his life and I wanted to them reap the whirlwind as much as the character probably did. Ronan Rubinstein really sells the tortured teen bit during the first act of the film. His performance succeeds in bringing the audience on as an ally. It’s when the stakes are raised and the supernatural elements are trotted out at the end of the second act that we see cracks in the facade. When gravitas is called for in some of the dialogue driven scenes, Rubinstein’s delivery plays comically understated. This could be a deliberate choice, but it doesn’t jive too well with the film’s otherwise heavy subject matter. That said, Rubinstein is a striking screen presence that reminded me a… Continue reading
I made a silly fake movie trailer in iMovie to commemorate our recent trip to Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is a great city, and a visit should be on every horror fan’s bucket list. We’ll talk all about it on Episode 432 of the podcast. Enjoy!