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AICN HORROR: Celebrate Halloween with IDLE HANDS! Plus new horrors – Horror comedies THE SELLING & GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION! Spanish scares SHIVER! Possessed handgun action CALIBRE 9!

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

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Every day is Halloween here at AICN HORROR, but with this being our one year anniversary for this weekly column, I want to do this month right. Not only are we going to check out new horrors but I’ll also be looking back on some films centering on Halloween.

But before we start with the movie treats, here are a few news bits to snack on!

First off, be sure to check out this month’s FAMOUS MONSTERS MAGAZINE #258 which looks at all sorts of female horrors through the ages including an article by me focusing on witches in film. There’s also an interview with myself and the co-creators of my werewolf comic book FAMOUS MONSTERS PRESENTS LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF. LUNA #1 hits the racks at the end of October. How can you not want to check out a comic with werewolf monks hunting mountain climbers? If you haven’t told your comic store to order LUNA, please do so. And don’t forget to check out FAMOUS MONSTERS #258 while your at it!

If you’re a fan of early Romero (and who isn’t?!?), you might want to check out this link to a story sent to me from William Wilson, who did a write up on the original script of DAY OF THE DEAD, which, although it has a lot of the same elements of the final cut, goes off in many different directions. As William describes, a lot of the plot points show up in Romero’s later Dead films. It’s a truly interesting read for zombie heads like you and me.

Always one to look out for the indies, I hear that PORN STAR ZOMBIES (which I reviewed here a while back) will be playing at Brewvies Cinema Pub in downtown Salt Lake City on October 20th as part of a Zombie Double Feature (the other film screening is RE-ANIMATOR). The film will be released on DVD through R Squared films in February 2012.

And now, on with the show. This week we start a new feature, FEARNET’s Catch of the Week, checking out a film a week you can check out free On Demand on FEARNET! Though not on my cable service, FEARNET is also a cable channel playing all sorts of scary films all of the time!  Plus we have our usual helping of new horrors!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)
FEARNET’s Catch of the Week: IDLE HANDS
SHIVER (2008)
CALIBRE 9 (2011)
And finally…The Bad Ass Russian sings Istanbul!

FEARNET’s Catch of the Week:
Available free On Demand all month!


Directed by Rodman Flender
Written by Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer
Starring Devon Sawa, Jessica Alba, Seth Green, Eldon Henson, Vivica A. Fox, Jack Noseworthy
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Oh, take a trip back with me to a time when music was shown on MTV. Before texting and iPhones. Back when the term “slacker” was just introduced into the world’s vocabulary. IDLE HANDS is not a perfect film by a long shot, but with a talented cast and a concept that borrows heavily from numerous iconic films, the film proves to be a snapshot of the time it was filmed in and turns out to be a lot of fun too. Plus, the film takes place during Halloween, which fits nicely into our Oktoberfest of Fears we’ll be celebrating throughout this month here on AICN HORROR.

Anton is your typical slacker. He sits on the couch eating crap food, smoking pot, and watching MTV. Basically, Anton was all of us if you were young in 1999. Devon Sawa (whatever the hell happened to him?) plays the role decently and convincingly, as do his equally lazy friends, Mick and Pnub (played by Seth Green and Elden Henson). Though made long before SHAUN OF THE DEAD, there are a lot of similarities at play here as our oblivious trio of stoners don’t even know until after the last minute that a murderer is on the loose. In fact, in the first five minutes of the film Anton’s parents (which include the always funny Fred Willard, a talent wasted in this film) are killed by the serial murderer and it takes Anton almost two days to figure out that they are missing (and after he does, almost two minutes to get over their loss). Soon it’s revealed that there’s not a murderer on the loose, but a possession, as an age-old entity possesses Anton’s hand and, unbeknownst to him, forces him to kill.

IDLE HANDS borrows heavily from Bruce Campbell’s slapstick possessed hand routine from EVIL DEAD II, and later from the Oliver Stone and Michael Caine classic THE HAND, as Anton fights his own hand, severs it, then spends the rest of the movie trying to find it before it murders someone else. Fans of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON will also rejoice as the concept of the hand’s victims returning to life to haunt the murderer is replayed as Green and Henson do their best to provide comic relief as the undead who are still as lazy as they were when they were alive.

Though the plot contains holes you could drive a truck through, IDLE HANDS has a fun and somewhat charming cautionary message of the dangers of being a slacker and clumsily stumbles onto the psychological delusion of “good hand/bad hand” usually referring to guilt and masturbation. Beyond all of that, there are quite a few fun moments of slapstick and grossout humor as well as some heartwarming references to how music videos used to be such a huge part of culture back then. Plus you get to see some gratuitous T&A, a ton of potty humor, and the Offspring lead singer Dexter Holland gets his scalp ripped off. And expect a nostalgic blast from the past when Jack “Dead at 21” Noseworthy makes his appearance. All this and Jessica Alba’s toight pa-toot and you’ve got a winner on your…hands…ahem.

If you’re looking for doofy Halloween fun, IDLE HANDS is it and it’s available all month on FEARNET On Demand.


Directed by Emily Lou
Written by Gabriel Diani
Starring Gabriel Diani, Jonathan Klein, Janet Varney, Etta Devine, Nancy Lenehan, Barry Bostwick
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

THE SELLING is one of those horror comedies that may not scare the pants off of you, but it will make you laugh in all the right places. This one definitely works better as a comedy with horrific elements rather than a straight up horror comedy like SHAUN OF THE DEAD with equal parts comedy and horror. A real estate agent stumbles onto a house that was previously owned by a mass murderer. Now the agent (Richard Scarry, like the children’s book author, played by writer/actor Gabriel Diani) must try to sell the house, which appears to be very, very haunted. Richard is your typical nice guy, and selling a haunted house doesn’t sit well with him, but his mother is sick with cancer and in order to pay for her treatments, he’s got to sell the house at all costs.

Despite such dour concepts as murder and cancer, THE SELLING proves to be a laugh out loud success. All of the cast are comedically spot-on with their timing and delivery. Though it is a ludicrous situation, the conviction of Diani and his lummox partner Dave (played perfectly by Jonathan Klein) to sell the house and overlook all of the typical haunted house horrors was an absolute joy to see. This is a comedy with a lot of heart. The makers have seen all of the haunted house horror films. In fact, most of them are referenced throughout the story with bee attacks, bleeding walls, testy plumbing, portals to the unknown, and ghostly apparitions in extremely humorous ways.

The effects are fun and the budget is obviously on the lower end, but the real sell is the fantastic delivery from the charming characters and quirky laughs throughout. Plus it’s got a fun supporting cast like ROCKY HORROR’s Barry Bostwick as a reverend sent to exorcize the house and character actress Nancy Lenehan as Richard’s mom.

Though the laughs get somewhat sparse towards the end, there’s a fun feel to this film throughout. I especially loved a sequence where a possessed Richard tries to poison his co-workers with disastrous results. Looking for a good place to laugh till you drop? THE SELLING is the right place for you.

Available on DVD this week from Breaking Glass Pictures & Vicious Circle Films!


Directed by J.T. Seaton
Written by J.T. Seaton & Brad Hodson
Starring Peter Stickles, Michelle Tomlinson, Lynn Lowry
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

When I first heard of this film, I thought it was a documentary where a bunch of fans sat down with George A. Romero and tried to get him to stop making zombie movies. I mean, did you see SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD? Peee-hewww!

Though not as laugh out loud funny as THE SELLING (reviewed above), GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION will definitely spark a chortle from the old funny bone. I like this new trend in zombie films which look past the initial outbreak and focus more on what happens next. Though looked at with rotting tongue planted into decayed cheek, GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION doesn’t bother with the outbreak, but rather the blasé way society has accepted the dead into the equation. In this film, the zombies are more of an annoyance than anything, which in an absurd way is probably the way we would really all react to the zombie apocalypse if you think about it.

I laughed quite a bit at this offbeat comedy, which focuses on a group of friends who have gathered to confront their friend who has become a zombie. The gore is splattery and over the top. Though the acting is somewhat amateurish and the movie goes on a little past its expiration date, I found it to be a fun indie treat that made me laugh more than moan at the jokes being told and played out. This isn’t a barn-burner, but GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION has a lot of fun with a sub-genre that never fails to surprise me at how flexible it is. If you’re somewhat jaded at the inundation of zombie flicks to choose from these days, GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION is too--which is the reason why it’s so much fun.

New on DVD from Second Sight Films UK; Available October 17th!

SHIVER (2008)

Directed by Isidro Ortiz
Written by Hernán Migoya, José Gamo, Isidro Ortiz, & Alejandro Hernández
Starring Junio Valverde, Francesc Orella, Mar Sodupe, Jimmy Barnatán, Blanca Suárez
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

This treat from Spain is from the same folks that brought you PAN’S LABYRINTH and THE ORPHANAGE and it shows. There’s also a very heavy LET THE RIGHT ONE IN vibe going on in this chilling story of a photosensitive boy (he is allergic to the sunlight) who moves with his mother to a valley village where the sun never shines. Though there’s a fairy tale aspect to the film, it has enough modern sensibilities to cause genuine scares and well-played creeping dread.

The cast is top notch with Junio Valverde playing the boy Santi. There’s a melancholy about this kid who is cursed with an aversion to the sun, yet still is able to be innocent and playful. Valverde has a bright future and shows a broad range. Francesc Orella also delivers a powerful performance as his concerned mother.

The valley and the village itself have their own personalities in this film. There are some wonderfully filmed shots of the mountainside which blocks out the sun and the dark and deep woods which hide unknown terrors. Director Isidro Ortiz has filmed a beautifully scary film here.

And in these valleys and thick forests lies a secret. One that involves a little feral creature and a scandal the village long thought buried. Without giving too much away, in many ways this is a smart and modern retelling of the story of a werewolf and a vampire with all of the romance and glitter washed away.

This was my favorite film of the week. Equal parts fable and modern horror, SHIVER is a nerve-shredding film which taps into our darkest fears of youth and puts a fresh and wicked slant on it. It’s a truly chilling film and a can’t miss for fans of both old school monster fests and as well as more modern, cerebral terrors.

CALIBRE 9 (2011)

Directed by Jean-Christian Tassy
Written by Jean-Christian Tassy & Eric Cherrière
Starring Laurent Collombert, Nathalie Hauwelle, Phillippe Burel and Philippe Bussière
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

CALIBRE 9 is a kinetic symphony of blood, bullets and mayhem. Much like RUN, LOLA, RUN, this film kicks off with a bang and keeps running up until the last frame. This is not a film for the weak at heart. It’s a full throttle shot of adrenaline in movie form. Though CALIBRE 9 could be categorized as an action film, the fantastic elements in it secure its place here on AICN HORROR as well.

The story focuses on a city planner named Yann who lives a banal existence. Sure, he lives comfortably, but his life and job are meaningless to him. We know this because he tells us this numerous times in the film. After a shady business deal with an even shadier mayor goes wrong, Yann finds himself looking down the barrel of a shotgun. But have no fear, Yann has a handgun. But this is no normal handgun. This handgun is possessed by the spirit of a dead hooker and has the uncanny power to never run out of bullets and always hit its targets.

Sounds like a winning premise, huh? Well, it is!

CALIBRE 9 may not have the budget of some of your average Hollywood action flicks, but what it does have is the director’s frantically brilliant eye and vivid creativity. When the bullets start flying, the camera darts and swerves like a circus acrobat.

At times, this French film feels like it’s seen a whole lot of Guy Ritchie and Darren Aronofsky films. Occasionally the script is repetitious and derivative. But these are minor faults in an otherwise impressively agile and delightfully manic film. CALIBRE 9 recently played at the Fantastic Fest and is touring the festival circuit. It’s definitely a film worth seeking out from a filmmaker who is going to be a big name in action some day very soon.

And finally…friend of AICN HORROR Terrance Zdunich (writer/actor of REPO THE GENETIC OPERA and the awesome horror comic, THE MOLTING) sent me this video of The Bad Ass Russian singing his version of “Istanbul”!

Enjoy, comrades!

See ya, next week, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Mark is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and will be releasing FAMOUS MONSTERS first ever comic book miniseries LUNA in October (co-written by Martin Fisher with art by Tim Rees) Order Number AUG111067! Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!

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