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AICN HORROR looks at new horrors on DVD: EXIT 33, STRIGOI: THE UNDEAD, and advance reviews of DEADHEADS, & GRAVE ENCOUNTERS coming soon to theaters!!!

Logo by Kristian Horn
What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. This week we have another handful of new horrors and even a few advance reviews for those looking for something worth seeking out in theaters soon. But before we do that, there were a few newsbits from yesterdays column I want to repost just in case you missed it.

Let’s start off with a little catch up. Horror wise, this was an amazing con for me. Check out my own panel AICN COMICS: HORROR ON THE PANELED PAGE in its entirety here. It was a fantastic panel featuring some of horror’s best writers offering their insight to all things horror. The discussion played out to a packed auditorium and covered a wide range of topics.

Secondly, I announced an upcoming project with FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND called LUNA, a werewolf story like nothing you have ever seen co-written by myself and Martin Fisher with amazing art by Tim Rees. The four issue miniseries will be released in October. Check out the full story here.

In other news, here’s an exclusive snippet from the upcoming zombie opus VS THE DEAD. This indie zeek film looks to be a lot of fun. Enjoy this hardcore, bloody exclusive!

Here’s another teaser trailer for a new film that was sent to me called EVIL ROAD that looks moody and cool.

Now let’s crack open a fresh can of new horrors, shall we?

(Click title to go directly to the feature)
EXIT 33 (2011)
And finally…LIVING DOLLS!

Available on DVD this week from Breaking Glass Pictures!

EXIT 33 (2011)

Directed by Tommy Brunswick
Written by Mark Myers & Norman Koza
Starring Kane Hodder, Antoinette Nikprelaj & Jerry Reid
Find out more information on the film’s Facebook page!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

The acting is pretty amateur. The budget is low. The production is too. So why is EXIT 33 worth checking out?

Because it’s got Kane Hodder in it, that’s why.

Now, if you don’t know who Kane Hodder is, I want you to go right now and do your horror movie homework. The man is somewhat legendary in horror circles as THE man behind the mask, one of the only actors ever to play Jason Voorhees more than once and the man who brought his own distinct style to the role. Hodder is usually covered in make-up and prosthetics in his films, so any time the guy gets a break in a film without having to cover his pie hole, its ok by me. Here Kane actually does a great job as a murderous gas station attendant with an eye for pretty eyed girls.

No, Kane won’t win any nods from the Academy with this role, but for someone whose face is usually covered in latex, the guy seems pretty comfortable and confident in front of the camera. He gives a sullen and twisted performance here and even has a chillingly pleasant voice to boot. I’ve met Kane Hodder at a few cons in years past and every time he’s been a gentle giant, always looking to talk and shake hands with fans. He couldn’t be more different than the monsters he plays on screen. EXIT 33 is a bit rough around the edges and by the book when it comes to slasher films, but the gore factor is prominent and convincing throughout and the ending is actually pretty chilling. But it’s Hodder’s performance proves that more folks should give this guy a chance to act without his face covered by sports equipment.

Available on DVD this week from Breaking Glass Pictures!


Directed by Faye Jackson
Written by Faye Jackson
Starring Constantin Barbulescu, Camelia Maxim & Catalin Paraschiv
Find out more information on the film’s Facebook page!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Though many won’t have the patience to sit through this somber little vampire film, I was fascinated at the way STIGOI: THE UNDEAD shed light on a culture that I am completely unfamiliar with. Though we all know that Dracula comes from a setting much like the Romanian township featured in this film, his trek to England is what folks remember most about Stoker’s classic piece of lit. STRIGOI peels away all of the Hollywood glamour often attributed to the modern vampire and tells a straight up tale of the undead through the eyes of the extremely traditional and superstitious population of modern Romania.

I was fascinated by the traditions followed involving death and dying observed in this film. Though set in the modern day, STRIGOI is a somewhat timeless piece of cinema. The horror is almost secondary to the age-old rituals and mores observed by the town. Often played for its ludicrousness; such as sitting with a corpse for a fortnight drinking vodka to make sure the body does not rise as a vampire, the tradition is scoffed at by our protagonist Constantin (played by the deadpan Constantin Barbulescu), but writer/director Faye Jackson never makes fun of the culture. Her lens focuses on the intricacies of this culture’s superstition and how important it is within their day to day life.

This story of a couple murdered by a lynch mob who rise from the dead to enact revenge is a subtle slice of Romanian culture, and thus different than most vamp flicks out there now. STRIGOI: THE UNDEAD isn’t explosive or over the top. The gore isn’t in your face and the actors don’t ape for the camera. But it is an effective little horror film, destined to be overlooked unless you want to take a chance, heed my advice, and check it out.

STRIGOI: THE UNDEAD is released on DVD this week and is available through Breaking Glass Pictures!

Advance review!


Directed by The Pierce Brothers
Written by The Pierce Brothers
Starring Michael McKiddy, Ross Kidder, Markus Taylor, Thomas Galasso, Ben Webster, Greg Dow, Natalie Victoria, Eden Malyn, Harry Burkey, and Leonard Kelly-Young
For more info on where to see DEADHEADS check out the film’s website here and Facebook page!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

It’s been a while since I have seen a horror film that actually warms my cold dead heart. Ok, it’s been a hell of a long time. That is, until I had a chance to see this film. DEADHEADS is a lighthearted comedy about two strangers on a roadtrip. One is a wise-cracking slacker who goes where the wind takes him. The other is a dedicated nice guy, in search of his lost love. Along the way, these two gents encounter forces of all kinds that work against them achieving their goals, but love won’t stop these two from pressing on. Oh yeah, these two guys are zombies.

Though THE DEFILED (a film I reviewed earlier this year and one I whole heartedly recommend) is one of the first films I’ve seen with a zombie protagonist, that film was a relatively wordless film, since the zombie star was one of your typical Romero zombies. The tone is dire and the story is bleak. DEADHEADS is the polar opposite. Due to a scientific experiment, Brent and Mike have become conscious zombies; zombies who retain their minds, though their bodies are rotting. Sure there are Romero zombies shambling around too, but Brent (Ross Kidder) and Mike (Michael McKiddy) are unique. They’ve escaped their lab after being experimented on for three years and now the lab wants them back. Mike, on the other hand, just wants to find his girlfriend. So Brent and Mike set out to do so, teaming with a mindless but lovable zombie they name Cheese and an elderly old man who doesn’t give a shit that they’re zombies as long as he has someone to talk to on the road. The quartet face scores of zombies, a government hazardous material disposal unit made up of a sensitive scientist (Greg Dow) and a gung-ho meathead who talks like a descendant of Macho Man Randy Savage (Ben Webster), and a survivor deputized by the government to track them down.

DEADHEADS shines by incorporating grossout humor with horror standbys seamlessly, but doesn’t forget to make you actually care about these characters. There are a lot of laughs to he had, taking full advantage of the fact that these guys are the undead with pieces of them falling off and being used as props no live character could do. Writers/directors the Pierce Brothers have turned in a punchy script that goes into the realm of sweetness without the sour aftertaste, most relationship comedies often leave you with. When can you say you left a zombie film feeling pretty good? DEADHEADS is an energetic horror comedy mash-up that leaves you with that very feeling.

Advance review! In select theaters throughout August then available On Demand August 25th!


Directed by The Vicious Brothers
Written by The Vicious Brothers
Starring Sean Rogerson, Juan Riedinger, Ashleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray, & Merwin Mondesir
For more info check out the film’s website here.
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

My guilty pleasure is GHOST HUNTERS and all reality TV like it. Give me a night vision cam wandering a dark hallway and my ass is glued to the couch and my eyes to the TV. So I’m the right audience for GRAVE ENCOUNTERS, a “found footage” film about a paranormal investigation team; one of the first, according to the producer’s intro, and the tapes found inside of a haunted sanitarium have never been released...until now! The producer at the beginning assures the viewer that nothing has been altered in these tapes and that the only edits were for time constraints. With that set up, the film ominously starts and we are introduced to our host (Sean Rogerson), the occult specialist (Ashleigh Gryzko), the sound guy (Juan Riedinger), the cameraman (Merwin Mondesir) and the medium (Mackenzie Gray). What stars out as a routine investigation by a bunch of jaded “investigators” gets real really quick and soon this team who don’t believe in ghosts encounter something all too real and scary.

And GRAVE ENCOUNTERS is really scary. Do you know those moments in GHOST HUNTERS when the camera is tracking through corridors and over the shoulders of the hosts and you’re just waiting for something to jump out or happen? Those shows live on that anticipation, since, let’s face it, nothing ever really does occur. In GRAVE ENCOUNTERS, shit actually happens on screen, but done so in a way that doesn’t seem staged (at least for the most part). At first, this film plays it by the book, investigating the grounds in the daylight, interviewing eyewitnesses, setting up equipment but soon the moments in between takes start to show up as the host is filmed giving the groundskeeper twenty bucks to make up a scary eyewitness account and talks of shots that amp up the scares for the audience are discussed. This film is well paced and patient, relying on the age old set up technique for these shows which tells the backstory of each location, with the audience knowing full well that this will be the spot shit goes down later. When over-the-top medium (Mackenzie Gray) shows up to chew the scenery, you almost believe him, until the host yells cut and they laugh at how inane his “contact with the dead” schpiel is. In showing these scenes, writers/directors The Vicious Brothers capture how different these characters when the camera is rolling than they are in real life, but when stuff starts moving on their own, that gap lessens.

The performances are actually pretty well done here with host Sean Rogerson playing both a convincing talking head as well as a scared as shit victim of the whole situation, often flip flopping between both in the same scene. One of the challenges in these faux reality shows is that the actors must seem natural in front of the camera and lines don’t seem scripted. The entire cast does a damn fine job of doing this throughout.

The other challenging aspect of all found footage films is finding a reason to continue filming when the shit goes down. Here, that moment is sold with Rogerson’s orders to keep rolling despite his crew rebelling against him. But when stuff starts going completely off the reservation, you soon stop questioning why the camera is rolling and just roll with it because the locale and the situations are too creepy to care.

The last half hour of GRAVE ENCOUNTERS is a funhouse ride with shit jumping out at you every other second as the crew wander around in the dark. I watched this in a dark room in the middle of the night by myself and, I’m not too ashamed to admit, I was scared shitless a few times. Yes, a lot of these scares have been used in previous films and most of the scares are due to a loud burst of volume or shit rocketing toward the camera out of the blue, but there’s a carnival haunted house feel to GRAVE ENCOUNTERS that makes it stand out from most of the GHOST HUNTERS knock offs out there. Convincingly acted and filled with jumps and jolts, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS is everything you wanted to see in all of those reality shows, but never do.

Find out when and where you can check out GRAVE ENCOUNTERS here.

And finally…here’s a short film from the USA Saturday Nightmares from the 80’s which scared the ever loving shit out of me as a kid. Enjoy, THE LIVING DOLLS!

See ya, next week, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!

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Check out FAMOUS MONSTERS’ website here!

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