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What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. This week I’ve got two versions of the same Lovecraft tale, butt demons, post-apocalyptic love, post-life love, vampires, Vikings, ghosts, and torture! Just the way grandma likes it!

On with the horror reviews!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)

Retro-Review: DIE MONSTER DIE! (1965)
DIE FARBE (2010)
BAD MILO (2013)
Advance Review: limp. (2013)
And finally…HP Lovecraft’s THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE!

Retro-review: New this week on BluRay from The Shout Factory!


Directed by Daniel Haller
Written by Jerry Sohl (screenplay), H.P. Lovecraft (from "The Colour Out of Space")
Starring Boris Karloff, Nick Adams, Freda Jackson, Suzan Farmer, Terence de Marney, Patrick Magee, Paul Farrell, Leslie Dwyer, Sydney Bromley
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug

Unlike Poe, HP Lovecraft kind of gets the shaft when it comes to film adaptations. While Poe’s stories often made light of the most physical of fears (most often, the fear of being buried alive), Lovecraft often went otherworldly and often categorized his horrors as indescribable. This, of course, is difficult to capture on film since the great unknown and that great indescribable terror differs from one person to the next, which may be the reason no one seems to be satisfied with what few adaptations Lovecraft has of his work.

While it’s filled with moments that are kind of kitschy cool, you’re not likely to find indescribable terror from DIE MONSTER DIE. The hokey effects and overacting are sure to cause more laughs than shudders. Still, there are a lot of reasons to pick up this film. First and foremost, it’s the first time it’s on BluRay. Though the special features only include a trailer, the film itself is cleaner and more clear than I’ve ever seen this schlocker before--and most likely clearer than it ever should be.

Now the film itself is far from a classic, but it does have a lot of old school Hammer-like charm as a traveler named Stephen (Nick Adams) seeks Witley Castle in the village of Arkham but no one wants to give him the time of day. Wandering through a barren and decayed land, Stephen finally finds his destination: a decrepit castle housing an equally decrepit old man in a wheelchair, Nahum Witley (played by an aging yet still very creepy Boris Karloff), his wife Letitia (Freda Jackson) who hides in a veiled bed, and his beautiful daughter Susan (Suzan Farmer) who Stephen had a relationship with when she was studying abroad. Upon arrival, Letitia confides in Stephen and tells him to get Susan out of the castle and leave immediately. Of course, if Stephen did so this wouldn’t be a horror film, and as Stephen investigates he finds the land around the castle is filled with bizarre fauna, surreal monsters, and a woman in black who wails in the midnight hours. Everything ties back to a fallen meteorite from the beyond which has drastic effects on all in its vicinity. Nahum has been experimenting with the meteorite, using it to warp the plants and animals. It all boils down to a climactic showdown as Stephen tries to smuggle Susan out of Dodge and out of the clutches of her possessive father. But Nahum’s diabolical experiments aren’t making the exodus easy.

Like a Hammer film, DIE MONSTER DIE is set in a gothic castle. Though a more modern tale, the film has that aged quality seen in most Hammer films as if it were filmed in a far-off land, with eloquently painted backgrounds instead of real landscapes and outdoor scenes set up looking more like stages because that’s where they were filmed. At the heart of the film, again like a Hammer film, is a passionate romance where the dashing hero must swoop in to rescue an otherwise-detained beauty.

But unlike the classic monsters Hammer often dealt with, this film deals with Lovecraftian unknowns of vague shape and description. Because of this, director Daniel Haller tries some experimental effects instead of classic monster makeup with mixed results. The film’s distinct effects are both fascinating and goofy all at once. I loved the pulsating green veins animated over the actors to signify the infestation of the mutated fauna, and the magnified shots of real squid out of water and flipping around. These unconventional effects almost make up for the final monster, which is simply a person wrapped in aluminum foil and given a green animated glow. I couldn’t stop laughing at the hokiness of the way the final monster looks like a heated up Jiffy Pop tin.

There’s a lot of fun to be had at this oldie but goodie. While it might not exactly capture the menace of Lovecraft’s original story “The Colour Out of Space”, the offbeat effects and the appearance of Boris Karloff late in his career make this one worthwhile.

Available on DVD, BluRay, and digital download here!

DIE FARBE (2010)

Directed by Huan Vu
Written by H.P. Lovecraft (short story), Huan Vu (screenplay)
Starring Paul Dorsch, Jürgen Heimüller, Ingo Heise, Philipp Jacobs, Michael Kausch, Olaf Krätke, Marco Leibnitz, Ralf Lichtenberg, Patrick Pierce, Erik Rastetter, Friedrich Schilha, Marah Schneider, Leon Schröder, Alexander Sebastian Curd Schuster
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Another adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space”, this time from Germany, adheres a bit closer to the original source material and shucks away all of the romance stuff that schmaltzes up DIE MONSTER DIE. The experimental and unique film is DIE FARBE, translated from German to mean THE COLOUR, a word Lovecraft uses to describe the unique aura emanating from a meteorite which crashes in the middle of a rural area turning the entire land around the impact crater into a land that is unlike any seen on Earth before.

Director Huan Vu makes every scene unique by utilizing the absence of color with vast landscapes and hardly noticeable computer effects in this black and white tale of nature driven mad by forces beyond the stars and imagination. Vu only uses color in the latter portion of the film as the effects of the meteorite are evident, but until those brightly colored patches set against the black and white backdrop, everything is in shadows and light which makes the effects much more seamless and realistic. There’s a scene with a giant animated hornet sitting on a woman’s head that will have you wincing. There’s just something about the lack of color in this film that makes it all feel more ominous and real.

The story follows a young man named Jonathan (Ingo Heise) who is in search of his father, who went missing at the tail end of World War II. Following breadcrumbs that lead him to Germany, Jonathan meets a strange man who tells a story of the Gartner family, whose farm rested on the site where the meteorite hit. When the meteorite dissipates into the air, the military and science teams investigating it believe the threat to be gone, but instead it was absorbed into the land itself causing all types of horrors for those who live in the area. The fate of the Gartners is palpably terrifying, reminding me of another loose adaptation of Lovecraft’s tale that I had forgotten about starring Wil Wheaton called THE CURSE—speaking of which, I’m going to have to seek that one out as it’s been ages since I’ve seen it and what I remember was pretty damn dour and effective.

Though it didn’t bother me much as I don’t mind reading subtitles, DIE FARBE feels as if it doesn’t know if it’s a film that wants to speak English or German or both or some kind of weird amalgam of both languages. At times, it felt odd having the subtitles on as there are parts all in English, then there are huge chunks in German. Again, not a big deal, but something that distracted me from the film itself.

But nothing deters from the fact that this is one of the most artistically beautiful adaptations of a Lovecraft work to date (Vu is set to direct another Lovecraft adaptation THE DREAMLANDS next, which looks to be even more expansive). At times some of the acting is a bit lacking, but the visuals in DIE FARBE make up for it. DIE FARBE aka THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE is definitely a film that shows that Lovecraft’s work is not unfilmable. Vu’s talented eye makes every scene sing, and I can’t wait to see what kind of otherworldly horror the director has in store for us next.

Available now on DVD, digital download, and Video On Demandx from Breaking Glass Pictures!


Directed by Chris Sun
Written by Chris Sun
Starring Michael Thomson, Billi Baker, Allira Jaques, Holly Phillips, Sean Gannon, Darrell Plumridge, Christian Radford, Mirko Grillini
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Don’t get me wrong. If I had a daughter and she was kidnapped, raped, and murdered, I might fantasize about trapping the killer in my basement and torturing him for days. On paper, DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL might seem like a film with some kind of message or maybe some kind of cathartic experience for the filmmakers if they, heaven forbid, ever lost a child, but that doesn’t necessarily make for an entertaining movie or a movie I really would want to watch. But since this is a review column and DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL is being released this month, watch it I had to do.

Michael Thomson plays Derek, a divorcee trying his best to take care of his precious little girl Georgia (played by the adorably toe-headed Billi Baker). When Georgia is abducted from her home and later found dead on a beach, Derek is distraught at the loss and catatonic for months until he happens upon a piece of evidence the police overlooked. Instead of turning the evidence over to the police, Derek abducts the abductor, bolts him to his pool table in the basement, and sets out to torture him for six agonizing days.

In no way am I feeling sorry for the abductor. The torture he goes through in this film is pretty deserved by anyone who would destroy a young life. But just as I don’t want to see the heinous act against the child (it is not shown in the film, thank god), I don’t really feel the need to see the torture of the kidnapper either.

And boiled down to its base elements, that’s what DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL is: a lengthy, tasteless, grueling torture sequence bookended by the crime itself and the aftermath. Sure the filmmakers might be trying to make a point with the violence, but highlighting it in this manner gives off the notion that it’s the violence that is the point and not the harming of a child. Spotlighting a 40 minute torture sequence is not making a point. It’s pounding that point into the ground so deep that you forget why you started pounding in the first place.

The torture porn subgenre seems to have run its course, but occasionally a film like DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL surfaces and reminds you that there was a time when every other film was like this. I wasn’t a huge fan of the genre then, as it attempted to explain itself by saying it was conveying a message when in fact it only highlighted the torture and gore. Seeing a torture porn film now is like having someone show up to a dance club and doing the macarena, expecting people to act like it’s something fresh and new. The film will make you wince and groan at the acts committed by both the torturer and criminal. In that sense, I guess it is an effective torture porn film. DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL is capably acted, well shot, and deftly made, but with the bulk of the film focusing on the decimation of a body piece by piece, no matter how valid the reason, it’s still torture porn to me.

New this week on DVD and Video On Demand from Leomark Studios!


Directed by Martin Gooch
Written by Martin Gooch
Starring Claira Watson Parr, Ben Shockley, David Wayman, Nicola Goodchild, Leslie Phillips, Michael McKell, Linal Haft, David Acton
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

More of a fantastical tale with a heart of gold rather than a true horror film, AFTER DEATH deals with elements one would often associate with the genre. Yet with a solid cast, a quirky script, and some clever twists, AFTER DEATH turns out to be the feel-good movie about death of the year!

When their elderly father Jeremiah (Leslie Phillips) passes away, his two sons and two daughters return to their childhood home to say goodbye and try to find out the mysterious events leading up to his death. Jeremiah being somewhat of a tinkerer and mad scientist, the events around his death are murky. But upon returning to their childhood home, the siblings begin acting as if they’ve never left, with old rivalries and alliances forming as if they’d never left and grown up.

What works best here are the quirky relationships that are exemplified by the talented cast making up the siblings played by Claira Watson Parr, Ben Shockley, David Wayman, and Nicola Goodchild. The familiar way the group talks with one another, hesitant to form bonds which have been stretched through time yet being drawn closer by memories of tales of fairies caught in traps, ghostly sightings, and debates about who was a better Dr. Who. The strength of the familial ties is evident in the strong writing that skirts the edge of over-saccharinated musings, but never falls in.

There are some nice twists throughout this film, and the fantastical elements definitely become more prominent as the story goes on, but never does writer/director Martin Gooch go overboard with the otherworldly stuff to the point of throwing it off of being a wonderfully-acted snippet of a family coping with loss in their own special way. Horrific elements like ghosts, spirits trapped in machinery, and even the Grim Reaper himself show up, making it ok in my book for this one to be covered in this AICN HORROR column, but the best part of this film by far is the strength of the acting and the heartwarming scenes they play in.

New this week on DVD, digitial download, Video on Demand & iTunes from Kino Lorber/Horizon Movies!


Directed by Adam Bartlett & John Pata
Written by Adam Bartlett & John Pata
Starring Joe Belknap, Mary Lindberg, Michelle Courvais, Aaron Christensen, Sam Lenz, Jess Ader, Matty Field, Jake Martin, Mark Muetzel, Steve Herson, Cheri Sandlin, Fran St. Andre, Jason Ryf, Reva Fox, Adam Loper
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Some films blast out of the gates with goodness, while others take the slow burn route. With patience being on the minimum these days, I’m sure there might be a few of you who are likely to turn off a film midway if it’s not ticking all the marks for you. Me, I’m more of the patient sort, especially when it comes to horror, and it’s a good thing. Had I been the type to walk away from a film because of a rather slow start I might have shuffled past a film like DEAD WEIGHT, but had I done so, I would have missed out on a true indie gem.

Writers/directors Adam Bartlett and John Pata offer up a script that increases the heat from the first second to the last, but only in small increments. The story of a world gone sideways with no real explanation as to what it is that has set the world off-kilter is a powerful one here. Instead of focusing on the zombie fx or comet animation or even radioactive glows in the sky, DEAD WEIGHT focuses on the survivors themselves. In true THE WALKING DEAD fashion (and Romero zombie films before it), the horror comes from the interaction between the humans and how humanity ebbs away like sand through a sieve.

The film opens on Charlie (Joe Belknap) as he slowly starts his day, shuffling through his morning routine zombie-like and hardly awake. His girlfriend Samantha (Mary Lindberg) calls him and tells him to turn on the news, and this is the first indication that something is wrong. Apparently, there are outbreaks of some kind all across the Midwest and with Charlie being in Toledo and Samantha being in Minnesota doing an internship, the couple immediately make a plan to meet somewhere in between. Thus begins a journey for Charlie to find his girlfriend. The story takes place between the barren present and the vibrantly colored past, which tells the tale of these two lovers in reverse, from their last words on the phone to one another to the first time they met. In between these scenes is Charlie’s arduous trek across the county, encountering infected humans, ill mannered rednecks, horrible weather, abandoned houses, and the limits of his own sanity. Teaming up with some other survivors, Charlie does what it takes for him to get to his girlfriend, no matter what the cost to his humanity.

This being a lower-budgeted film, the acting is a bit choppy at times. Though I’ve seen far worse, there are a few members of the cast that have that wooden delivery amateur actors do best. That said, there are a lot of strong performances here, including Aaron Christensen (writer of HORROR 101 and HIDDEN HORROR – review coming soon) as the earnest leader of a group of wanderers. Steve Herson plays one of the few earnest and kind souls the group crosses paths with, and Michelle Courvais plays a mother-like figure to Charlie. Joe Belknap, who plays Charlie himself, is really good here as the lead. Though he is an unconventional hero to follow, his transformation is fascinating to see from the beginning to the end of this film. Belknap has a young Ethan Embry kind of look about him that feels earnest even when the things he does aren’t so much. His performance in this film is really outstanding.

DEAD WEIGHT is a film that picks up momentum in the last half despite its slow beginning, culminating in a finale that really took me by surprise at how impactful it was. While most great zombie films serve as a metaphor for something else, this one is a twisted little take on how long-distance relationships are often a difficult journey to take. While low budget, the film really does have a strong script and story, and the filmmakers seem to go out of their way to focus on the characters themselves rather than the spectacle of the zombies--so much so that you really don’t even see the zombies until the very end, but by that time, I was wrapped up in this post-apocalyptic tale of lost and found love. If you can look past the low-budget trappings, you’re likely to be impressed at the high-quality emotion and character of DEAD WEIGHT.

New on DVD this week!


Directed by Evan Tramel
Written by Evan Tramel
Starring Danielle Lozeau, Andrea Monier, Anthony Fanelli, Robin Steffen, Bill Oberst Jr., Brandon deSpain
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

While most films try to distance themselves from BLAIR WITCH PROJECT by avoiding some of the more annoying parts of that film (which I actually liked quite a bit, though I will admit that there are parts that make me want to stab my eyes out), BLACK WATER VAMPIRE is going to hope its viewers forgot about or never saw the fifteen year old film, since it’s basically the exact same film except instead of a witch there’s a vampire…oh, and it’s also in the snow.

What made me scratch my head until it bled watching this film is, why would a vampire hang out in a snowy forest? Bats naturally live in caves or trees and are not necessarily animals one might see flying around in the frozen months, but for some reason, in this film, it’s the natural habitat for a half man/half bat creature that hangs upside down from trees and attacks campers. Though applying logic to a specific genre of film like a vampire movie is often a ridiculous thing to do, one would think there would be some core aspects of the legend that this film would adhere to, but apparently rules are tossed out with those old Twilight posters on your wall as this vampire not only lives in the cold, but also swoops around in the daylight as well as there are plenty of scenes in this film of the black-skinned beastie popping out right in front of the camera in the waking hours.

The story focuses on one student reporter’s desire to find out the truth behind a man accused of sucking every drop of blood out of numerous girls found naked in the Black Water forest. Raymond Banks, the man accused of the murders, is played by Bill Oberst Jr. who gives the only performance worth a damn in this film. Oberst does loony well, and really shines in his brief appearance when the camera crew visits the prison he is set to be executed in. But once the four person crew of reporters venture into the icy forests, everything goes BLAIR WITCH with lots of shaky cams wandering around the woods, lots of scenes of people looking at maps and getting lost, and lots of murky shots in the night where we are searching for something but only get darkness. And lots and lots of screaming names in the woods.

Now, one thing that sets this film apart from BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is that we actually do get to see the monster here. We actually get to see lots of the monster, in clean and clear shots. I have to admit, the design of the vampire itself is pretty damn scary and I did jump a few times as the camera panned through the darkness and focusing on the warped creature screaming at the camera.

That said, this is a film that is said to have been footage found in the middle of the forest. Now, assuming this is true, the hysteria after viewing this film as it clearly depicts some kind of creature attacking and killing the people involved would be, pardon the pun, batshit. What made BLAIR WITCH and other more successful found footage films work is that there is room left for mystery--that if this film was found, it was vague enough to suggest something mysterious going on, but not blatantly proving it and shooting it clear as day. In BLACK WATER VAMPIRE, the camera falls exactly at the right time to catch an attack; people pick up the camera and keep it running for no reason. And no context is even given as to how and why this film is NOW being shown.

Had the opening scenes of BLACK WATER VAMPIRE explained that this footage we were about to see was recovered by the police and after investigation Raymond Banks was released from incarceration with little or no explanation given to the public, it would have been both intriguing and telling a story about the footage instead of just plopping it in front of us with no semblance of context or real world weight…but there I go rewriting bad movies again.

Ending with a scene so shamefully stolen from not only PARANORMAL ACTIVITY by also ROSEMARY’S BABY if you can believe it, BLACK WATER VAMPIRE owes a lot to a lot of much better films. Lacking real direction, originality, and even an accurate depiction of a vampire, I recommend passing over BLACK WATER VAMPIRE if you cross its path some dark snowy night, because according to film, that’s where vampires like to hang.

New this week on DVD & digital download!


Directed by Yusry Abd Halim
Written by James Coyne
Starring Dominic Purcell, Natassia Malthe, Conan Stevens, Craig Fairbrass, Jon Foo, Ron Smoorenburg, Jesse Moss, Patrick Murray, Tegan Moss, Byron Gibson, Trevor Coppola, Geoffrey Giuliano, Anteo Quintavalle, John Reynolds
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

It’s been a while that I’ve seen a film worth as many unintentional laughs as VIKINGDOM. In no way is this a good movie, but if you’re the type who like to revel in bad cinema like a pig in slop, getting together with friends to MST3K the hell out of a film, then this is the next film you should cue up.

The story follows a Viking named Eirick (PRISON BREAK’s Dominic Purcell) as he tracks down a magical horn to stop the tirade of a lost god who refuses to die as worship of the Norse Gods fades and Christianity spreads across the land. In the opening scene, Eirick falls in battle and names his brother the new king, but his lover, the goddess Freya (Tegan Moss), brings him back from the realm of the dead so that the world isn’t taken back into the old dark days. This is a story about a quest and a noble battle. The stakes are as high as the drama. If only this film lived up to all of that.

Before I rip into the film, I do want to mention as few positives that are going on with VIKINGDOM. The film does have a couple of decent battle scenes. Using the technique made mainstream by 300 and made common by SPARTACUS, the battles (mostly set to green screen) are full of slo-mo acts of strength and brawn and CG blood spatter. The film also adds something no Viking film has dared to do: namely, add kung fu with the highly capable kung-fuing from Jon Foo, who plays Yang, a freed slave turned Viking and who also serves as a visual as to what Dave Grohl and his band have been fighting all of these years. Foo makes things pretty dynamic, especially in the battle scenes where the kicks and spins bring a fun, new, yet ridiculous element to the mix. I also quite liked Conan Stevens’ portrayal of the resurrected Norse God Thor, who plays the big villain of the film. Sure it’s campy, but I kind of dug both the portrayal of Thor as a bad guy (since most are used to seeing the character portrayed in a heroic light thanks to Chris Hemsworth and Marvel) and the look of the god, who is more representative of the way the Norse God was described in mythology as having bright red hair, though I will admit the CG enhancement of the hair makes it look almost like a clown wig at times. Thor has some great scenes where he brutally tears apart the humans around him, crushing skulls, slicing heads in two, and flattening faces with hammers. Sure, the effects are highly CG, but it’s the gory kind of CG that’ll make you cheer.

Now on to the bad…which is, basically, everything else with this film. The quest itself is ridiculous, as Eirick is sent out to retrieve a horn from Hel so that he can blow it in the face of Thor. That’s right; he’s supposed to blow a horn in Thor’s face to defeat him. Something about that makes me laugh so hard it hurts, and I’m sure that wasn’t the intention of writer James Coyne and director Yusry Abd Halim.

The second most unintentionally hilarious thing in VIKINGDOM is the horrid wig work. Everyone except Dominic Purcell, who seems to have grown his hair out for the role in an attempt at method acting, wears the worst wigs this side of a Tyler Perry film, making the entire Viking army who are supposed to be badasses look more like drag queens. The cosplay costuming doesn’t help much, either.

What else is so bad it’s good here: Thor’s obvious styrofoam axe, repeated arrows to the face, overly done CG backgrounds, a Gandalf wizard wannabe who pops in and out of the narrative, unnecessary kung-fu, cardboard acting. Even Purcell, who isn’t a bad actor, seems to be bored as hell by all of this, and acts as if his puppy died throughout. Purcell farts out an inspirational speech before the last big battle that’s supposed to be the BRAVEHEART inspirational moment but feels more like he’s reading from a mattress tag.

I think if the filmmakers were to have approached this as more of an intentional comedy, it would have been more successful. As is, VIKINGDOM wants to be so many other films (CONAN, THOR, 300, BRAVEHEART, LORD OF THE RINGS), but really fails to live up to any of them. Director Yusry Abd Halim seems to be shooting for the moon here, as the runtime is almost two hours bookended by a screeching metal soundtrack. So that’s two full hours for you and your friends to down booze and make sharp remarks at this film. Overly serious and utterly ridiculous, VIKINGDOM is good for some unintentional hilarity and a few fun and brutal battle scenes, but nothing much else.

New this week on DVD & BluRay!

BAD MILO (2013)

aka MILO
Directed by Jacob Vaughan
Written by Benjamin Hayes, Jacob Vaughan
Starring Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Patrick Warburton, Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Mary Kay Place, Toby Huss, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kumail Nanjiani, Diana Toshiko
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

More reminiscent of the stylings of Frank Hennenlotter’s BASKET CASE and BRAIN DAMAGE than David Cronenberg’s more serious and disturbing body horrors, BAD MILO is surprising in a lot of ways in that it deals with a pretty gross and potentially hilarious subject while offering up a little heart as well.

THE STATE and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER star Ken Marino plays Ken, an angsty man who has always had bowel issues. His beautiful wife Sarah (played by COMMUNITY’s Gillian Jacobs) is as forgiving and understanding as they come in regards to Ken’s pooper issues--much more understanding than his buck-passing boss (Patrick Warburton), his deadbeat dad (Stephen Root), and his breezy mom (Mary Kay Place) who just married a man her son’s age (Kumail Nanjiani). But when the stress starts to mount, Ken’s issues with his bunghole continue to bother him and in the first minutes of the film, we find out that Ken has some kind of polyp that seems to be the heart of the issue. When tensions continue to mount, it turns out the polyp is actually a little demon living in Ken’s asshole and this little steamin’ demon likes to come out and play dirty every now and then!

Sorry, I had to say it.

As I said in the opening paragraph, BAD MILO surprised me in that, though it’s about a butt monster, it’s a surprisingly heartfelt tale with Marino and Jacobs actually giving some sincere performances playing a couple who love each other despite a physical ailment. It’s kind of a beautiful tale of tolerance and acceptance, two things I didn’t see coming from what I had heard about the film and the humor I often expect when THE STATE alum are involved. Milo himself is actually pretty damn cute and lovable, though I’m sure he smells pretty bad with the combination of puppetry and CG making the little guy look damn near alive.

That’s one of the issues I had with this film. I actually cared about this little guy, mainly because he can’t help what he is, and also because he is doing his best to “wipe” out the stressors in his host’s life for him; when Ken has to fight back against the little guy, you actually feel sorry for it. And feeling sorry for an ass monster is not what I thought I’d do going into this film.

While the humor is there, it’s not as over the top as I expected, either. I laughed quite a bit at the well-timed jokes and scenarios played out by the extremely talented cast--especially Patrick Warburton, Mary Kay Place, and Stephen Root, but also Peter Stormare as an open-minded psychologist and Toby Huss as a no nonsense-talking doctor. But as offbeat as the concept of the film is, things are pretty safely played as far as the poop humor is concerned. That’s not to say this film doesn’t go full-on with the gore and red stuff, but for the most part this film, which could have more than likely turned the stomach, instead surprisingly warmed my heart. So if you’re looking to go into this one to find a gross-out comedy, I think you’ll be shocked at how sweet this little stinker of a movie is.

Advance Review!

limp. (2013)

Directed by Shaun Ryan
Written by Shaun Ryan
Starring Eoin Quinn, Anne Gill, Jack Dean-Shepherd, Laura Canavan Hayes, Shane Lennon, Sinead O'Riordan,
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

I never thought I’d use the word “breathtaking” to describe a film about a necrophiliac, but never say never, I guess.

That’s exactly what Shaun Ryan’s new film limp. is: breathtaking. From the opening scene that will send chills down your spine as a young boy tells the tale of a game of hide and go seek that takes a terrifying turn to the final moments that are both heartbreaking and mortifying, limp. is definitely not a film for the impatient or easily offended, but if you’ve got the appreciation for absolutely beautiful filmmaking technique and offbeat subject matter, limp. is the film you’ve got to see.

Eion Quinn plays Mr. Grot, an introverted man who has difficulty connecting with the real world. This is quite obvious when we first see him staring at a couple openly being affectionate in a restaurant. When his staring is noticed, the man threatens Grot, who cowers at the aggression. Little do they know that at home, the quiet man has a dead woman laying in his bed. Ryan takes us through mundane scenes of Grot dressing the dead woman in a gown he just purchased, dancing with her, setting her up at dinner, taking part in sparkling conversation, and, of course, making love to her. While this sounds disgusting, Ryan refuses to make it so as he switches between realities to show the woman in an animated state through Grot’s eyes and then back to the real world where he’s interacting with a corpse. But as the dead woman (played by Anne Gill) begins to rot, so does both Grot’s sanity and his relationship with her.

While the subject matter is bound to disgust most and repel many from seeing this film, I have to repeat that despite the ghoulish themes, limp. is filled with sights and sounds that will more likely make the heart swell than the stomach churn. Shots of gorgeous sunsets, flying seagulls, slow zooms through a long hallway, and slo-mo to sped-up actions make the film a feast for the eyes. Ryan’s color palette is equally impressive, as the world in Grot’s mind is vivid and lively while the real world is washed out and dull. Accompanying the sumptuous sights are sounds that are equally impressive as the piano score bathes every scene with classical melodies and well-timed repetitive chords.

Despite its hour-long runtime, there may be some who get bored with the slow pace of limp. as the film really takes its time to develop. But through this patient filmmaking you are sucked into the life of Grot, and dammit if this film doesn’t make you feel sorry for this disgusting little man despite the laws and taboos he breaks. limp. is a film that will fill you with unease making such a heinous act so damn engrossing and, hell, I’ll say it--endearing. Filmmaker Shaun Ryan is a true find and I can’t wait to see where his patient eye for the beautiful and the uncanny will take me next.

And finally…one more time with THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE, this time it’s a reading from the original story by HP Lovecraft. Enjoy this Lovecraft Radio Drama of THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE!!!

See ya next week, folks!

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written comics such as THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be a feature film from Uptown 6 Films), Zenescope’sGRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13 & UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES – THE HUNGER and a chapter in Black Mask Studios’OCCUPY COMICS. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark also wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.

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