Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News


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

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Due to some complications on my end this week, I wasn’t able to post this column last Friday, but you know what that means…two AICN HORROR columns in one week!

This week I’ve got a necronomi-corn, Ouija ghosts, underground torture, road trip madness, weird noises, dojo invasion, a psycho ex, inherited psychosis, and weird hornets!

On with the horror reviews!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)

SCORNED (2013)
Advance Review: BLOODSUCKA JONES (2013)
Advance Review: DEMENTAMANIA (2013)
And finally…Rachel Tatham’s PORCELAIN RISING!

New this week on DVD & Video On Demand from Brain Damage Films!


Directed by Travis Campbell
Written by Travis Campbell (story), Lauren Miller
Starring Nicola Fiore, Leesa Rowland, Tim Dax, Ruby Larocca, Lloyd Kaufman
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

While SLAUGHTER DAUGHTER is quite a weird title, it definitely matches the offbeat tone of this little film. Heavily influenced by Italian giallo in tone, gore, and even music accompaniment, this film by Travis Campbell (and co-written by Lauren Miller with Campbell) is a unique little gem that may be overlooked by those who pass low budget horror by for more clean and polished scares. SLAUGHTER DAUGHTER doesn’t seem to want to deny its low budget roots, but instead comes off as bizarre twist of Italian giallo and John Waters, if you can imagine that.

The story focuses on a young oddball named Farrah (Nicola Fiore) who when she is not fantasizing about sleeping with her serial killer pen pal Jackson Miles (the terrifying Tim Dax), she fantasizes about killing her overbearing mother Phyllis (Leesa Rowland). As Phyllis’ marriage to wealthy businessman approaches, Farrah seems bound and determined to make all of her fantasies a reality.

In many ways, this is a film that reminds me of HEATHERS and EXCISION, as the story follows a deeply troubled teen, out of place in the world she inhabits and harboring a darkness that ends up overpowering her and destroying her family in the process. In many ways, this is a typical story of teen rebellion fantasy as I don’t know anyone who didn’t fantasize about doing away with their family at one point or another in their teen years. But unlike EXCISION and HEATHERS, SLAUGHTER DAUGHTER is told from a white trash/alterna punk perspective more akin to the grungy and straight from the trailer feeling one gets from watching a John Waters film with all of the grime, sleaziness, and eccentricity that accompanies them. Here Farrah is the poster girl for the goth girl lifestyle with a over botoxed and make-upped mother and a family that may appear ideal on the outside, but are rotten to the core. Threats, lewd behavior, and all sorts of deviance go on behind the scenes, but to the outsider, Farrah’s family appears ok. But Farrah has the real world perspective to see through all of the bullshit and would rather take the path of her pen pal and be rid of them rather than spend another minute.

The performances are pretty over the top all around, save for Nicola Fiore’s Farrah who gives a subtle and more spite filled show. Her ideal mate, Jackson, played by Tim Dax is pants-shittingly scary not only because of his deviant behavior, but also in the way Dax looks as it appears he really does have a full face tattoo and while I don’t want to judge and I’m sure he’s a swell dude in real life, the monster he plays in this film is utterly convincing.

The film hinges on the decision as to whether Farrah decides to go through with her master plan to annihilate her family or not. The decision is as dark as the rest of Farrah’s fantasies and maintains the darkly comic tone which takes place from the start. The use of old Italian giallo music makes this film utterly unique, making everything seem overly operatic and serious, yet typical for a young schoolgirl’s idealistic viewpoint of the world. If you’re a John Waters and Greg Araki fan, SLAUIGHTER DAUGHTER is going to be right up your alley. Like the films of those directors, it shines a light on alternative and deviant cultures that rarely get the spotlight in bigger budgeted movies.

New this week on DVD & Video On Demand from Brain Damage Films!


Directed by Shane Cole
Written by Shane Cole, David Fite, Megan Lynn
Starring Megan Lynn, Kathy Sue Holtorf, Sabrina Carmichael, Bethany Brooke Anderson, Whitney Blair, Jon D'Acunto, Robert Dough, Elissa Dowling, Emma Jacobs, George Lofland, Dan Sutter, K.K. Ryder, Krista Reese, Linda Macon
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

While there are quite a few quality jump scares and a decent overall sense of ominous gloom to DEADLY PRESENCE, some sluggish pacing and lack of a full length story really hurts the film in the long run.

The story focuses on three friends (Megan Lynn, Kathy Sue Holtorf, and Sabrina Carmichael) who, on a girl’s night in, use a Ouija board to summon a spirit. Turns out they were somewhat successful, as one of the girls ends up killing herself and the other two have to deal with the evil spirits floating around and causing things to go bump and other things to go dead in the night.

I actually did jump a few times with this one, but for the most part it was due to the harsh transition between silence to sound bang which causes anyone with a pulse to jump. A creepy killer who places flowers in the mouths of his victims haunts the house where the suicide victim killed herself and Megan Lynn, who also helped write this film, spends most of the time creeping around a house that can’t be as big as it seems. There are long stints of this movie of Lynn creeping about listening and waiting for something horrible to happen with not as many scenes delivering on the scare.

Amateur acting doesn’t help. While I’ve seen far worse acting in horror films, there are some pretty amateur performances outside of the three starring women. Still, while the filmmakers behind this one seem to have a decent handling of how to build tension and pepper in jump scares, DEADLY PRESENCE ultimately feels like a film that could have been about a half hour to forty minutes shorter and been infinitely more effective. Sure, you’ll jump a few times as long as you don’t fall asleep between the starts. Having watched the whole thing through, I feel the people behind this one have a decent film in them. They just need to beef up the story to get there.

New from on DVD from Virgil Films!


Directed by Roger Sewhcomar
Written by Roger Sewhcomar
Starring Charlie Floyd, Devon Talbott, Andres De Vengeochea, Jessica Alexandra Green, Rena Washino, Yukiko Miyawaki, RaShelle Stocker, Matt O’Connor
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

When DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? came on deck to be covered here on AICN HORROR, due to the name alone, I had a feeling either the film was going to be very, very bad or one of those ballsy, weirdly titled films that doesn’t give a shit about what it’s called. Turns out, DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? is better than it ought to be for a low budget film that flirts with both torture porn and found footage, yet somehow offers up something pretty original.

I must admit that I myself am sick to death of torture porn. I feel that slicing away at a chained and bound human body piece by piece became more than old ages ago, especially in films where that’s all there is. Found footage I’m a little more tolerant towards, because sometimes the first person POV can still be effective depending on the monster involved and how tightly/originally they approach the found footage motif. DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? schmelds the two subgenres together, yet never really falls into some of the trappings of both types of films.

The film opens up with a man identifying himself as Stanley Farmer (Charlie Floyd), who we never truly see clearly since he is always the one holding the camera. Stanley acts as our guide through this sick world where everyone wants to be a star, and Stanley is more than willing to exploit that need to feed his desire to make a truly horrifying film. Seeking out would-be actors to read for a film which is already in the process of being filmed (unbeknownst to the cast), Stanley convinces these starry-eyed idiots to allow themselves to be chained up and bound in Stanley’s basement, thinking it’s all part of the movie. Right up until the knife or chainsaw or drill bit cuts through flesh, these idiots are sure it’s all in jest. Over and again, Stanley convinces people to venture into the lower levels of his home and Stanley films it all.

While similarities to the SAW films with a mastermind behind the screen creating elaborate machinations that require way too much contrivance in order to be accomplished are somewhat accurate, DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? feels more akin to such comments on society’s thirst for fame in more sophisticated films such as MAN BITES DOG and BEHIND THE MASK. While both of those films rely on a camera crew to show the bloodlust of the masses through the eyes of a killer, DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? is like a selfie with the same motif.

DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? deals with some themes deeper than your usual found footage and torture porn films. Sure there is a shaky cam in first person and a lot of people tied up and screaming, but the fact that the participants are so eager to put their lives on the line for a few seconds of stardom makes this film a bit meatier than the rest. There are some genuinely ironically funny moments in this film, and some moments of abject lunacy as Stanley dons a Hitler mask and brandishes a chainsaw in the final moments of the film. By this time, while it’s easy to hate Stanley for the sicko film he’s making, it’s hard not to understand why he wants to kill these idiots who follow him into his dungeon willingly. While it’s bound to drive folks sick of found footage and torture porn batshit, DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT? proves to have something original to say about both, and for that it elevates itself from its peers in both genres..

New this week on DVD, Video On Demand and RedBox!


Directed by Daniel B. Iske
Written by Scott Coleman
Starring Mark Booker, Matt Harwell, Melanie Recker, Daniel B. Iske, Michelle Schrage, Lara Adkins, Wendy Iske, Chelsie Hartness, Matt Tatroe, Sarah Wald, Nick Sanchez, Eliot Irvin, Mike Delange, William Wassem, Jessica Hotovy
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

EVIL DEAD is one of those films most people tend to shy away from in terms of homage. The film WITHER (reviewed here) did so and did so well. But for the most part, the concept of reading from an evil book and having everyone turn into the possessed is a route most films shy away from, most likely because doing so will automatically evoke a comparison to the amazing EVIL DEAD. In that sense, FIELDS OF THE DEAD is pretty ballsy for giving it the ol’ college try at taking a stab at this type of film. For the most part, the film is a pretty interesting take on the subject matter.

A college agricultural group goes on a field trip to an unpopulated area surrounded by forests, grass, and a thick unkempt cornfield, not knowing that on that site despicable things have happened. The opener teases us with a group of kids messing around in the cornfield, only to meet an untimely devise at the hands of one of their own who had become possessed. While a college road trip to a secluded locale is far from original in horror films, writer Scott Coleman and director Daniel B. Iske do a decent job of populating the film with decent actors who definitely have a target on their heads, but still make that wait in line for slaughter an amusing one.

The cast is the strongest thing about FIELDS OF THE DEAD, as most of them play clichés at first and break from those molds with some intimate moments and downright hilarious lines. In giving these kids something fun and clever to talk about, you feel for them. Usually I can’t wait for these actors to be murderized, but in FIELDS OF THE DEAD I was rooting for some of them to survive because the lines leaving their lips were so decently written and acted out. Standout cast members include Mark Booker as the team leader who is working on his thesis and refuses to leave when things get creepy, Matt Harwell as the likable clownster of the group who is trying to bed one or more of the female students on the trip, and Sarah Wald as a finicky townie who wants to be anywhere but the country. As I said, these are all clichéd roles, but the cast brings so much character and fun to them that they feel much more lived in and real.

The story focuses on a daughter of a farmer girl who has relations with someone and becomes pregnant, thus spawning a series of events of unholy proportions and cursing the land. Reading passages from her journal which is found buried in a field unsettles her spirit, and the research team begins turning on each other. The scares are frequent and decently played out. There’s an especially effective scene where a girl is seen over and over walking along side the road, making the driver freak out that works well despite the fact that it’s swiped from IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS. Other scenes make this one feel more like CHILDREN OF THE CORN and EVIL DEAD.

While not completely original, FIELDS OF THE DEAD actually does a good job of aping some great films. It also succeeds in developing actual characters rather than just setting up dominoes in the shapes of people who one can’t wait to see offed. Here character counts, and because of that strong screenplay with likable characters, FIELDS OF THE DEAD is worth checking out.

New this week on Bluray, DVD, & Video On Demand from Anchor Bay Films!

SCORNED (2013)

Directed by Mark Jones
Written by Mark Jones, Sadie Katz
Starring AnnaLynne McCord, Billy Zane, Viva Bianca
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

The presence of AnnaLynne McCord elevates this mini-revenge flick above what one might call Skinemax-level entertainment. The slender actress blew me away in last year’s EXCISION (reviewed here) and does a great job with crazy in SCORNED, a film that further distances the actress from her 90210 remake stardom.

The film starts right off the bat with action as Kevin (the incomparable Billy Zane) wakes up to find himself bound to a chair with his girlfriend Sadie (McCord) prancing around with a bottle of liquor. What originally looks like a scene of sexual debauchery quickly becomes something darker as Sadie reveals that she’s read Kevin’s recent text messages to one of her best friends, Jennifer (SPARTACUS’ Viva Bianca), which suggest the two have been having an affair. The messages say that Kevin will be breaking up with Sadie soon, clearing the way for him to have a relationship with Jennifer. Of course, Sadie isn’t thrilled by this discovery and spends the rest of the film torturing Kevin and Jennifer using multiple forms of torture.

And that’s…pretty much all this movie is; Sadie prancing around in skimpy outfits and bringing out one method of torture out to her captives after another. Everything from electrocution to hobbling a la MISERY is used in this film’s runtime and I’d be lying if it didn’t get a bit tedious halfway through. Sure forcing Kevin to go down on Jennifer at gunpoint might be entertaining for some to watch, but after an hour and a half of one torture after another, SCORNED shows its torture porn hand.

Still this is acting of a bit higher caliber and the last minute addition to a plot twist makes things pop until the very end. McCord is fascinating to me. Not only because she’s beautiful, but because she is a fearless actress that isn’t afraid to go to batshit corners of one’s psyche with the characters she plays. Here, she revels in her captors pain as a woman who was deeply in love having that love shattered in one fell swoop. For a film that would otherwise be set for the 11pm slot on Cinemax, McCord makes it much more watchable.

Don’t get me wrong. This film couldn’t be simpler in premise. Girl finds out her man is cheating. Girl tortures her man and his mistress for an hour and a half. Roll credits. But with a fun and smarmy performance from Billy Zane, a decent job as the somewhat clueless mistress from Viva Bianca, and especially the ballsy performance by McCord, SCORNED turns out to be more watchable than it should be.

New on Digital Download & Video On Demand from Devolver Digital!


Directed by Zachary Eglinton
Written by Zachary Eglinton, Brandon Walz
Starring Matt Mercer, Kalan Ray, Brandon Walz, Joanna Sotomura, Patrick Thomas Gorman
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Sometimes the simpler you go, the better things turn out. That’s why THE BATTERY (reviewed here) worked so well, and it’s the same reason Zachary Eglinton & Brandon Walz’s THE POISONING is such an effective little film too.

Like THE BATTERY, THE POISONING is a road movie. But while THE BATTERY takes place after zombies have overtaken the earth, THE POISONING happens in the here and now, with a pair of friends taking a road trip across the country which ends up stretching the limits of both of their bodies, souls, and sanity. Matt (Matt Mercer from the indie slasher MADISON COUNTY reviewed here) is moving to Hollywood to pursue hi dreams of being a Director of Photography. While she finishes the final days at her job, his wife Michelle (the spunky Joanna Sotomura) will be joining him later on, but in the meantime, Matt’s best friend Riley (Kalan Ray) is joining him for one last road trip across America. What they don’t know is that a long-time buddy of Matt’s, Chaps (Brandon Walz, who co-wrote the film), decides to invite himself on the trip. Chaps literally chaps both Matt and Riley’s asses the entire trip with his constant fucking around, preening, jabbing at Riley, and talk of a rock band he plays in. Chaps chips away at the duo until the breaking point, which coincides with the introduction of a hitchhiker (Patrick Thomas Gorman) who adds an even more unpredictable twist to this road trip.

What begins as a buddy road trip flick with shades of everything from PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES to THE HANGOVER to DUE DATE quickly turns into a nightmare more akin to THE HITCHER or the more recent Josh Duhamel/Dan Fogler road trip from hell film SCENIC ROUTE (reviewed here). Without giving too much away, the shift in tone in the latter portion of the film may turn away those thinking this is a quirky slice-of-lifer, but anyone who sees the title will be clued in that something amiss will be happening. And something pretty dastardly does happen in this film. It definitely shocked the hell out of me.

The thing that THE POISONING does so well is that it made me forget it was a horror film. I loved all three characters as they drove each other nuts on this trip--Matt being utterly spineless, Riley being overly sensitive, and Chaps being an unforgivable dick the while time. Despite the character flaws, seeing them whittle away at one another’s exteriors was really engaging, so when the hammer does drop in this film and the hitchhiker plays his hand, it takes you off guard as much as it does the trio. The results are fascinating, heartbreaking, and definitely unforgettable.

THE POISONING is one of those surprise movies that makes you wonder why you haven’t heard much about it. It starts very simply, and there’s a very rudimentary tone to the entire film, even when things go sideways. But what makes it shine are the performances by Mercer and Ray, and especially the fantastic performance by Walz as Chaps, who one can’t help but care for despite the moronically horrible things he does. Filled with natural acting and a pace that is completely unconventional, THE POISONING is about as unique a horror experience as you’re going to get.

Highly recommended.


Directed by Blair Erickson
Written by Blair Erickson, Daniel J. Healy (story)
Starring Ted Levine, Katia Winter, Michael McMillian, Monique Candelaria
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Supposedly based on real government tests that occurred in the late Sixties involving mind-altering drugs that were meant to be developed into all kinds of psychic weaponry, THE BANSHEE CHAPTER starts with what looks like authentic footage of scientist types being interviewed about the secret programs. While I’m not sure of the validity of all of the claims this film seems to be based upon, it does make for a compelling backdrop to cast a horror film.

And THE BANSHEE CHAPTER is an effective horror film. It takes an intriguing premise (secret government mind-control drugs), fills it with likable cast members (fresh-faced Katia Winter and the always fun Ted Levine, as well as TRUE BLOOD’s Michael McMillian), and loads it up with scenes that ooze scary. The story hinges on Winter’s character Anna, who is in search of her missing friend James (McMillian) who videotaped himself ingesting an experimental drug and then…something weird happens. Enlisting the aid of a Hunter S. Thompson type named Blackburn (Ted Levine), Anna finds herself uncovering a conspiracy involving mind altering drugs, strange short wave radio broadcasts, and melty creatures in the shadows. Though the terror is never really identified and is more of a concept than an actual monster, I found many moments utterly terrifying.

The thing is, the way THE BANSHEE CHAPTER was made is as curious as its premise. Just as the opening stock footage moments feel real, there’s an odd found footage aspect with the way this film is made. Occasionally, we get the point of view from a camera (as with the footage from the opening moments when McMillian ingests a mind altering drug called MK-Ultra), but later, things are taken in a more traditionally cinematic manner, yet the film is still shot in the cinema verite/handheld style one might find in a found footager, though there’s never a cameraman identified. Because of this, the tone of the film is quite odd in terms of the way it was shot. This oddness of camera style only adds to the slightly off feel you get about this film from the get-go. From minute one, there is an other-dimensional, trippy quality that I can’t deny.

THE BANSHEE CHAPTER often cheats with the scares as a blast of music is accompanied by a shocking image. These scenes got me every time, as director Blair Erickson builds to each of them in a manner that tackles the element of suspense well. Still, I can see how some might grow tired of the keyboard slam scare that most of this film relies on, and it’s too bad because a lot of the imagery of the warped creatures reaching out of the darkness and shuffling toward our heroes is really scary. Aside from the audio ballast, the use of sound is definitely creepy as the voices which appear over the short wave radios of a young child or female voice speaking in some kind of odd code paired with the tune of an ice cream truck is a nightmarish juxtaposition. These scenes where the distinctive broadcasts appear from nowhere are effectively haunting.

Though there is an over-reliance on the cumbersome jump scare paired with a music blast in THE BANSHEE CHAPTER, I have to give the film props for coming up with a truly original premise and following through with an execution that is sure to cause multiple leaps from your seat. I jumped from my own chair numerous times in the film, and was overcome by a sense of unease by the use of unnatural sights and sounds Erickson filled this film with. THE BANSHEE CHAPTER uses tried and true methods to scare, but also comes up with some new ways to terrorize the eyes and ears and take you on trips few films are creative enough to go on.

New on Video On Demand (and available on digital download & DVD April 8th) from RAM Releasing!


Directed by Jung Huh
Written by Jung Huh
Starring Mi-seon Jeon, Jung-Hee Moon, Hyeon-ju Son,
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

While this might feel like a home invasion film in parts, Jung Huh offers up a bit more in terms of suspense and tension than the type of home invasions we see stateside. Incorporating childhood innocence with urban legend, HIDE AND SEEK is a cut above most abode terrors you’re bound to see.

HIDE AND SEEK begins typically, in terms of horror with an opening kill. While this may be a clichéd way of opening things, Huh fills the scene with scares and jumps as a woman is followed home by a person in a biker’s helmet and black jacket. Though the person enters the apartment next to hers, the woman feels as if the helmeted guy has been spying on her and sets up a camera in her apartment to catch him. The opener does all of the right things by sticking to horror movie tome, but also delivering on some real scares, a promise to fans that the film ahead will be intense and brutal. And after seeing the whole thing, HIDE AND SEEK delivers on all of that.

Cut to a family which is the focal point of the film. A child’s voiceover says that there is an urban myth about squatters who live in one’s apartment when one is not at home. And when you come home and see a lamp moved or a beer from the fridge gone, it’s these squatters who are doing it and not our own absent-mindedness. This is a strong premise to play with and for a while; I was thinking that we were getting a kind of FIGHT CLUB-style film where the twist was that the helmeted assailant in black is going to be all a part of someone’s twisted imagination, but that’s not where this one goes. It remains much more in the here and now with a family home being invaded by someone who simply wants to blend in and take over, rather than steal it outright. The opener compares these squatters to baby owls who nestle into other bird’s nests after they’ve been accommodated and comfied up by the original owners.

Director/writer Jung Huh makes this a fast-paced film with a lot of action and movement. There are numerous chase scenes that are as tense as they come, and while most home invasion films seem to occur in one fell swoop in American home invader movies, this one spans numerous locales and beyond. In many ways, this is more like a haunting where the ghost follows the family after they’ve moved from the house, only to find that they are still being haunted in their new home. Once the helmeted intruder is identified, the movie is far from over, as a dangerous cat and mouse game is played involving the two lead children of the film.

Placing children in danger is about as easy as it comes to capture the audiences’ interest, but like those awesome Amblin films which really pulled no punches in term of kids in peril, HIDE AND SEEK makes you feel like these kids are not protected by Hollywood PC standards and that the danger they are facing is much more real and deadly. Seeing children elude and get captured and escape again from the helmeted assailant are a series of scenes that will most likely cause one to jump from ones’ seat and curl in a ball while watching. I know that’s the effect this film had on me.

More Hitchcockian than anything else, Jung Huh shows a masterful management of space, motion, and tension that few other filmmakers can do. HIDE AND SEEK is a tough as nails thriller that plays on everyone’s fear of what happens when one isn’t home like a cat with a ball of string.

Advance Review: Coming soon to DVD summer 2014!


Directed by Justin Armao
Written by Justin Armao
Starring Preston Gant, Jessica Dercks, Justin Armao, Maria Canapino, Travis Woods, Matt Kelly, Erin Holt, William Cutting, Andy Cauble, Duncan Tran, Ray Chavez Jr.
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Watch yo’ back, Drac! Bloodsucka Jones is here to take out all the vampires! BLOODSUCKA JONES is a low fi horror comedy which makes up for its amateur makings with some pretty potent humor and some over the top gore. Don’t go looking for polished edges, giant stars, or big budget CG work, but if you are looking for some lowbrow laughs and plenty of the red stuff, this is the film that’ll deliver in spades.

The story follows a lovable loser who happens upon a young woman who turns out to be a vampire. Though they are warned by the vampire’s family to make tracks, the couple decides to power through it and when a magic sword is found that was owned by the lead vampire, the couple find themselves seeking out the aid of legendary badass vampire glute-kicker Bloodsucka Jones.

Don’t take a second of this film seriously. I didn’t and while it feels very much like a slightly elevated backyard production, the quality of comedy throughout makes it all a whole barrel of fun. From Bloodsucka Jones’ propensity to toss his vampire hunters in training into battle blindly and without a lick of preparation to the vats of blood which explode from dead humans and vampires alike, this is one funny damn film. I especially like the way Bloodsucka Jones continuously defeats vampires by crushing their skulls under his white designer shoes.

Grab your favorite liquor and a bunch of buddies and watch BLOODSUCKA JONES when it comes to DVD later this year. The film makes fun of the vampire genre and almost every actor involved has a great sense of comedy and timing. Get yo’ ass ready for blood and laughs a plenty with this low budget vamp flick.

Advance Review: Currently touring fests (recently played at FrightFest 2013)!


Directed by Kit Ryan
Written by Anis Shlewet
Starring Samuel Robertson, Vincent Regan, Kal Penn, Geoff Bell, John Thomson, Holly Weston, Anthony Cozens
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

DEMENTAMANIA is a little thrill ride of a film, not the most epic of scope, but it does show that some good acting, some strong and surreal visuals, and some well-played CG work can make for a great film despite a small scale and a tight budget.

The film opens with a brightly colored hornet emerging from the skin of what looks to be a dead man. The camera follows the buzzing insect as it travels through a busy city, through a ventilation duct, and shot out into the pristine apartment of one Edward Arkham (Samuel Robertson) who we piggyback on throughout the rest of the film. Flopping around on the floor of Edward’s apartment, the hornet is stepped on by Edward and ends up stinging him as he squishes it with his heel. What follows is a lot like FIGHT CLUB with a bit more attention to gore, as Edward walks through his mundane and sad existence of going to work, getting drunk in night clubs, and basically getting into arguments and power struggles with all around him. The story follows Edward as he begins to experience hallucinations, seemingly because of the Technicolor hornet we saw him step on.

Edward is not a happy man. Actor Samuel Robertson does a great job of conveying his misery as his face is twisted in an almost permanent scowl. The actor has model-like good looks, but unlike the usual models who seem more like mannequins with barely a pulse, Robertson seems to have some acting chops here. Despite his utter hatred towards all he works with and his ex who he found sleeping with another man very recently, somehow, I guess because we see the hallucinations he is experiencing, I felt for the guy and that’s all because of Robertson’s performance. Robertson comes off as a more personable Sam Worthington and if that guy can get big jobs in Hollywood, this guy should have an impressive career.

What sets this film apart, though, is the brutality and vibrancy of the visual hallucinations Edward experiences. Most of the time taking the form of violent reactions to stupid people he runs into in public, these daydreams intensify in rancor as the movie proceeds, resulting in blood-spattered scenes of utter mayhem with Edward in the middle of it all screaming and laughing it up. Like FIGHT CLUB, there’s an air of humor in these reactions as it is what all of us might fantasize about from time to time when stuck behind an asshole in traffic or in line for the bathroom at a bar, but the sheer amount and the level of violence gives a clear indication that this is an unwell mind we are seeing.

While I felt the ending becomes a bit too clichéd and almost trite, the trippy ride there through the wings of an angry hornet named Edward was worth the trip. Bloody, brutal, and sometimes even beautiful as Kit Ryan intersperses some fun techno songs with funky lighting to spice up some of the scenes, DEMENTAMANIA may be a bit of a clichéd foray, but still a visually unique and downright brutal one worth taking.

And finally…here’s a creepy little story about a little girl and a spooky-ass porcelain doll that will hit all of the right beats to creep you the hell out. Directed by Rachel Tatham, here’s the super scary PORCELAIN RISING!

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.

Find out what are BLACK MASK STUDIOS and OCCUPY COMICS here and on Facebook here!

Interested in illustrated films, fringe cinema, and other oddities?
Check out Halo-8 and challenge everything!

Find more AICN HORROR including an archive of previous columns on AICN HORROR’s Facebook page!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus