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What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Beware there be trippy Englishmen, hungry super models, haunted homes, rampaging robots, werewolves, future serial killers, holy rollers, epidemics, killer cops, evil mothers, and naughty nurses ahead! On with the horror reviews!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)

Retro-review: TWILIGHT ZONE Season One Episodes 31-36 (1960)
PMS COP (2014)
DEAD STOP (2011)
FLU (2013)
NURSE 3D (2013)
Advance Review: THE BUTTERFLY ROOM (2012)
Advance Review: EAT (2014)
And finally…51Deep’s THE GHOSTING!

Retro-review: Collecting the entire series in a new Collector’s Box Set on DVD from Image Entertainment!


Episodes 31-36
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug

With the release of the Complete Season Collector’s Box Set of TWILIGHT ZONE on DVD from Image Entertainment a few months ago, I’ve been celebrating by checking out each episode and tossing out my two cents on a semi-weekly basis. Now that I’m also looking back at the MONSTERS TV series which was just released in a swanky box set, I’ll be switching back and forth between the two series on a bi-weekly basis to cover both over the next few months. Having covered the last two seasons of TZ a while back, I’ve decided to go back to the beginning. Season One was where Serling was honing his talent as a storyteller, amassing a collection of talented writers, directors, and stars, and the series was just beginning to show the signs of being one of the most influential horror/sci fi series of all time. Let’s proceed into THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season One…

Episode 1.31: The Chaser
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Written by Robert Presnell, Jr. based on the short story by John Collier
Starring George Grizzard, Patricia Barry, John McIntire

The highlight of this episode is the interaction between George Grizzard as a pitiful man in love with a woman who doesn’t return that love and an enigmatic chemist named A. Daemon played by John McIntire. Daemon’s apothecary is an amazing scene to behold with shelves to the sky filled with books and potions and one particular love potion that is the answer to all of Grizzard’s dreams. While this might be seen as roofie-ing someone in this more jaded modern age, it’s somewhat quaint as slipping his love a love potion has a much more innocent tone to it. Though this episode is rather predictable in the “be careful what you wish for” category, the scenes with Daemon make it worth checking out.

Episode 1.32: A Passage for Trumpet
Directed by Don Medford
Written by Rod Serling
Starring Jack Klugman, Ned Glass, John Anderson, Frank Wolff, Mary Webster

Jack Klugman plays a down on his luck trumpet man who has a problem with the drink. After an attempt at suicide, he finds himself in a purgatory like zone where he moves around without being noticed by anyone else around him. This is sort of an IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE with a lot less saccharine and more hard edged reality as Klugman gives a great sympathetic performance as a lovable loser, even though it’s pretty evident that he can’t play a lick on the trumpet. John Anderson, who was somewhat of a TZ regular, appears as Gabriel who offers Klugman a choice to live or die. The scenes where Klugman walks the streets screaming to be noticed is resonant and haunting and though there are plenty of stories like this one where a man is given a choice on how to live or relive his life, this one is one of the best ones.

Episode 1.33: Mr. Bevis
Directed by William Asher
Written by Rod Serling
Starring Orson Bean, Henry Jones, Charles Lane

Already Serling begins to repeat himself in this first season as the titular character played by Orson Bean is offered to relive his life as a serious businessman and shuck his lackadaisical and child-like lifestyle behind him. While many TZ’s are quaint snippets of a more innocent time, this one is more prolific as it resembles films like BILLY MADISON or STEP BROTHERS as a man-child is forced to grow up and live his life like others. “Mr. Bevis” is a charming little episode, though, with a big heart, mostly due to Bean’s wholesomely dopey performance.

Episode 1.34: The After Hours
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Written by Rod Serling
Starring Anne Francis, Elizabeth Allen, James Milhollin, Patrick Whyte, Nancy Rennick

The eyes of the Scarlett Johansson-esque Anne Francis is what makes this episode one of the most frightening of the first season. Of course, it also has to do with mannequins coming to life which is a concept that is always creepy as hell. This episode takes its time and uses that time to amp the suspense to high pitch levels as Francis tries to figure out why she keeps being directed to a mysterious 9th floor of a department store building and why she is the only one who seems to know about it. Some tight shots of creepy mannequins and some trick photography makes this one episode that will definitely get under your skin. While some episodes have lost the impact through the years, this one still retains it’s chill.

Episode 1.35: The Mighty Casey
Directed by Alvin Ganzer
Written by Rod Serling
Starring Jack Warden, Robert Sorrells, Jonathan Hole, Abraham Sofaer

Serling’s love of baseball shines through here as he tells a tale of a down and out baseball team lead by the always lovable Jack Warden and what seems to be the answer to his prayers when a man and his robot enters the field. The episode is a standout as a little research showed that the entire episode was reshot because the original star of the episode Paul Douglas died of a heart attack after completing the shoot and Serling put up his own money to have the entire episode reshot with Warden taking his place. Ironically, the final product is a fun tale about how having a heart can change a person, even a robot.

Episode 1.36: A World of His Own
Directed by Ralph Nelson
Written by Richard Matheson
Starring Keenan Wynn, Mary LaRoche, Phyllis Kirk, Rod Serling

Finishing up season one, Richard Matheson writes a quirky little tale about writing starring Keenan Wynn. The viewer is lead to believe at first that he is a cheating husband, but soon it’s made clear that whatever he says into his writer’s Dictaphone comes true and the woman Wynn is interacting with is merely a product of the writer’s imagination. This episode is full of fun performances and even more fun surprises including an appearance by Rod Serling himself actually stepping out of the omniscient narrator role and interacting with the characters. It’s the fourth wall breaking ending of this episode that makes it a standout episode and an entertaining, albeit unscary way to end the season.

And that’s it for Season One. Tune in next time as we tackle the final two seasons (Seasons Two and Three) of TWILIGHT ZONE.

Previous TWILIGHT ZONE Episode Reviews!
Season 1: Episodes 1.1-1.6, 1.7-1.12, 1.13-1.18, 1.19-1.24, 1.25-1.30
Season 4: Episodes 4.1-4.5, 4.5-4.8, 4.9-4.13, 4.14-4.18
Season 5: Episodes 5.1-5.7, 5.8-5.14, 5.15-5.21, 5.22-5.28, 5.29-5.36

Look for more TWILIGHT ZONE Episode Reviews soon!

New this week on DVD from Brain Damage Films!


Directed by Sean Canfield (“Father Land”, "Closing Costs"), Scott Dawson (“Freddie and the Goblins", "Closing Costs"), David Sherbrook ("The Morning After", "Closing Costs")
Written by Sean Canfield (“Father Land” , "Closing Costs"), Scott Dawson (“Freddie and the Goblins", "Closing Costs"), David Sherbrook ("The Morning After", "Closing Costs")
Starring Zack Fahey, Mike Pfaff, Marguerite Insolia, Anthony Berhle, James Howell, R. Daniel Long, Nicholas Leonard, Luke Bishop, Michael Brouillet, Laura Owen, Russell Maltz, Keith Lewis, Scott Dawson, Adam Conn, Kristpher Elder, Heather Higginbotham, Patrick Merrick, Andrew Kramer, Scott Donko, Candace Musolino, Amy Roiland, Jonathan Raczka, Laura Raczka, Summer Perry, Christopher Irwin, Megan Harmon, Sean Canfield, Fidel Castro Jr.
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

DEAD ON APPRIASAL is an anthology of sorts focusing on one real estate agent trying his best to sell a particular home which seems to be the site for all sorts of bizarre and gory horrors. It’s as good as any hook to tie together a group of stories and though this film is pretty low budget, there is a lot of fun to be had as some of the ideas are actually pretty good and the effects are definitely over the top.

”Closing Costs” ties this film together as it features the real estate agent who is stuck with trying to sell off this cursed house. It’s not really clarified why this particular piece of property is a magnet for weird happenings, but the how’s are not really the priority here. These portions of the film are directed and written by all involved and does a decent job tying everything together. I especially like the purple demon who shows up spitting bile and twisting around like a Tazmanian Devil on smack.

Of all of the short stories involved, I have to give it up to “Freddie and the Goblins” which focuses on a member of a band who takes residence in the home only to find his fellow band members to be metamorphosizing into little goblins. The monsters themselves are puppets and grotesque ones at that. This short gets really gory as Freddie fights tooth and nail against the wee monsters. Blood and gore a plenty flies all over the place and this one ends on a pretty haunting note; one of the best stories of the bunch.

But not the only story with merit as “The Morning After” takes place…the morning after a party held after the house is purchased. While most of the roommates of the house are drinking their asses off, one of the roomies pitters in his room with a beehive like fossil which he recently found. When the fossil opens, it begins to spread a sort of THING-like virus which spreads to the groggy remnants of the party who wake up the long after the party is over. The effects of this segment are rudimentary, but at the same time, they are the type of backyard low fi effects that always impress me. Though it’s light on story, this one is high on low down and dirty gore, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

“Father Land” is a much more cerebral and haunting tale and the outlier of from the rest of the group of stories as it takes moments of quiet to build tension, deals with a much more serious subject (PTSD in veterans returning home from war), and it slows things down for the viewer to actually feel something for the characters. Though, like the rest of the film, the acting is not top tier; it really feels like this is a tale that people were trying not only to shock and scare, but also make a point, which sets this one apart from the rest of the stories, but gives the entire film bit more depth because it’s included.

This is not the most cleanly made or succinctly executed film. It’s rough around the edges and the low budget stuff many scoff at. Still DEAD ON APPRIASAL shows a lot of promise for the effects men and storytellers involved as they made a film that excels despite its shortcomings. Hopefully, this group of individuals gets a bigger budget for their next one and they can continue to exceed expectations.

New this week on DVD from Midnight Releasing!


Directed by Christian Grillo
Written by Christian Grillo
Starring D.C. Douglas, Tom Detrik, Carmela Hayslett, Tammy Jean, Bonnie Loev, Tom Atkins, Michael Berryman, Lloyd Kaufman, Steve Blum, Brian Anthony Wilson
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Try as it might, APOCALYPSE KISS isn’t the most successful of dark future sci fi ventures. It tries to swipe elements from BLADE RUNNER and other dirty future tales and incorporate elements from AMERICAN PSYCHO, but most of the swipes are so on the nose, that it comes off as copycatting instead of homage.

While one might be lead to believe that Tom Adkins, Michael Berryman, and Lloyd Kaufman might be the stars of this film by the posters for APOCALYPSE KISS, it turns out they only appear for a few scant minutes into the film in minor roles. The stars here are a pair of young women Katia and Gladys (Carmela Hayslett and Tammy Jean, respectively) who happen to kill a drug dealer and become the target to a serial killer named Adrian (D.C. Douglas) who is pissed that they are stealing his headlines. Tom Detrik plays Jerry Hipple, a PI who wants to bring them all in.

The cool thing about APOCALYPSE KISS is that it’s a noir tale set in the future. Sure, that’s BLADE RUNNER, but we don’t get many of those and this film tries very much to toss us into a future world that isn’t all polished and clean. With a bigger budget and some more talented actors, the film would actually have been decent. As is, it’s digestible as the effects used are pretty rudimentary and the acting is digestible at the very most.

Actor D.C. Douglas is pretty charismatic and downright funny as a serial killer who doesn’t want to be upstaged by a pair of junkies. But his character is a complete rip off of AMERICAN PSYCHO’s Patrick Bateman right down to his morning getting’ ready ritual and his penchant to put down bums. Hayslett and Jean are nice to look at and have quite a few sexy scenes that make this feel a bit like something one might find late night on Skinemax. And Detrik is ok as a washed up PI, but he’s playing more of a cliché than a role.

APOCALYPSE KISS is ambitious, but there are too many things, mostly lifts from other, better films, that weigh it down. Take those swipes away and there’s not much left to enjoy in this film, but there is something to say about the effort made here.

Available exclusively today streaming from Full Moon!

PMS COP (2014)

Directed by Bryon Blakey
Written by Bryon Blakey
Starring Cindy Means, Heather Hall, Daniel Skinner, Mickey Stone, Elaine Jenkins, Megan Dehart, David J. Lee, Rachael Edlow, Kristin Mothersbaugh
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

There is a game I would play with friends where we would throw around idiotic ideas that sounded brilliant at the time, but of course, we were shitfaced on whiskey at the time. The thing is, a good title is only the tip of the iceberg. While a title may lead to millions of potentially awesome paths, it also may take paths less rudimentary. So while the concept of SHARKNADO is pretty awesome, the execution…well, it’s goofy, but not all that. With a few exceptions, I kind of feel the same way about PMS COP.

PMS COP follows Mary, a cop who has anger issues. In the opening moments of the film, she catches a clown rapist and beats the shit out of him, which is captured on TV cameras. Sent to a therapist, Mary is deduced to have issues with PMS and turns out to be the perfect candidate for a new pharmaceutical company who is developing a new PMS remedy. Agreeing to the treatment, Mary realizes the drug works, but when her partner is killed in a robbery gone wrong, it triggers an unstoppable juggernaut inside of Mary. During that flubbed robbery Mary is killed, but PMS Cop was born.

Now, I have to give it up to this film. It’s mighty brave to take on PMS and not find yourself at the receiving end of a smack or a cold shoulder by your significant female other. That said, since they did go there, tasteless as it is; it is a lot of fun in brief staccato beats. There are a few moments in PMS COP that are downright awesome. There’s a scene where PMS-sy rips the jaw from a mouthy wife-beater that is beyond awesome. There are also a few nicely brutal moments in the film as PMS-sy escapes from the facility she is being tested on with true TERMINATOR style. These moments are the kind of fun that probably spurned from that initial spark from which the concept of the film must have shot.

That said, there are some rough moments in between these few cool beats that drag this film down. It’s as if all of the good ideas were used in the first half of the film with the last half being an extended escape scene from the testing facility and then its over. Despite the fact that I hear it’s a myth, PMS COP simply has no climax.

I can actually feel the slaps I will eventually receive when all of my female friends read that last sentence.

I laughed a lot when I first saw the title of this film and quite a bit at the beginning, but as this film went on and the ideas began to peter out, I wish the filmmakers would have kept spinning that idea-maker a bit more before jumping into production. As is, PMS COP is entertaining, but those moments are…spotty to say the least.

Aww, man, am I gonna get it…

New on DVD!

DEAD STOP (2011)

Directed by Jonas Stolpe
Written by Josh Jacobs
Starring Cathy Baron, Jon Briddell, Sarah Flannery, Devin Leigh, Nikki McKenzie, Brian Ramian, Michael Rupnow, & Nikolai Stolpe
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

A while back, I reviewed a movie where a bunch of kids were trapped in a van with a rampaging bear trying to break in when they break down in the woods called BEAR (reviewed here), which was pretty uninspired. The folks behind that film need to take notes from DEAD STOP, which basically has the same premise, but with a different monster and a whole lot more success at inspiring fear.

DEAD STOP is about a group of kids traveling across a desert when their van dies on them. Soon they find themselves trapped with the sun going down, but just when they think matters can’t get any worse; a hairy creature that looks to be a cross between a werewolf and a Sasquatch is stalking and massacring them as they leave the vehicle. What transpires is claustrophiobic and fun.

Director Jonas Stolpe takes his time at the beginning establishing these characters before shredding them to pieces when they get trapped in the van. This film makes good use of the WOLFEN style POV shots of the monster bounding after them in the arid landscape. Reminiscent of another “trapped in a car with an animal outside” classic, CUJO, the film really does highlight just how stranded and helpless these unlucky souls are.

The filmmakers have a good eye for locale and did a great job of suggesting terror without really showing much of the creature—which is really my only complaint of this film as it lacks the essential “big reveal” that most movies of this kind have. In some ways that’s kind of refreshing as with this budget, a reveal of a man in a furry suit would most likely be lackluster. Still, I wanted to see what the hell this beast was doing all of the clawing, biting, and rampaging.

While some won’t like the fact that a clear shot of the creature isn’t in this film, it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me since this one establishes tension and delivers in thrills without showing the beast. DEAD STOP is full of subtle terrors and has an ending both haunting and satisfying.

New on DVD from CJ Entertainment!

FLU (2013)

Directed by Sung-su Kim
Written by Yeong-jong Lee, Sung-soo Kim, Jae-ho Jung
Starring Jang Hyuk , Soo Ae, Tom Bauer, Park Min Ha, Andrew William Brand, Kahlid Elijah Tapia
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

This week I was practically debilitated by the flu. I usually try to be pretty flu conscious; washing hands, staying clear of those who are sick, take my vitamins, but it is inevitable that every year, I get hit by at least one flu bug that knocks me on my ass. So FLU is not the movie I was looking forward to viewing this week as it hits a bit too close to home, if you know what I mean.

FLU was a highly popular film in Korea and it’s been compared to both CONTAGION and OUTBREAK, but it really feels like a more successful epidemic gone gargantuan flick as the main characters are much more relatable and though this is a broadly scoped film, director Sung-su Kim keeps everything grounded by focusing on one woman and her daughter caught up in the middle of a bird flu outbreak.

Like many catastrophes, the beginning of this contagion is small as a shipping crate full of illegal immigrants lands in Korea full of dead bodies and one survivor who immediately flees when the container arrives. As the man wanders the streets, he spreads the flu at an astronomical rate, causing mass hysteria and contagion. Soon the number of infected outnumber those who aren’t, with a group of doctors and rescue workers fighting the clock to find a cure. Centering this film on a young girl named Mirre (Park Min Ha), her mother who is a disease specialist Dr. Kim (Soo Ae), a rescue worker named Ji Koo (Jang Hyuk) who has feeling for Dr. Kim after rescuing her from a car accident early in the film makes the film much more manageable than the ensemble casts of OUTBREAK and CONTAGION, making this one much more relatable when the stakes start rising.

Sung-su Kim also plays around with the paranoia we all have of contagion by focusing his camera on people coughing while serving food and doing other banal activities that we often take for granted, showing how easily a flu of this magnitude could easily spread. By focusing on the spreading of the flu, you immediately get that paranoid feeling that permeates films like 28 DAYS LATER and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, making this one of the more palpable infection films I’ve seen in quite a while.

This is a well made film, full of blockbuster car crashes, helicopters, and military ordinance one might see in a big budget Hollywood film. It definitely is one of the biggest films I’ve seen come out of Korea as of late, which has been having a great run over the last few years with phenomenal films like I SAW THE DEVIL and BEDEVILLED. If there is a weakness to FLU, other than music that apes 21 DAYS LATER mixed with REUIEM FOR A DREAM (you know the music), it’s the presence of an American moustache twirling villain as well as the typical mayor-guy who refuses to accept that the flu is much of a threat which seems to be in every movie of this type from JAWS to CONTAGION. Still, FLU is effective in capturing the real life paranoia and hysteria that would most likely come from this type of aggressive outbreak. The strong cast only make it more powerful as you become invested in the lives of Mirre, Dr. Kim, and Ji Koo, hoping they make it out of this alive. As far as disaster films go, FLU is definitely one worth looking for as it possesses both the paranoid hysteria and the emotional impact to carry its blockbuster excesses.

Available this week on Video on Demand and in select theaters April 25th from XLRator Media!!


Directed by Caradog W James
Written by Caradog W James
Starring Toby Stephens, Caity Lotz, Denis Lawson, Sam Hazeldine, Pooneh Hajimohammadi, & John Paul Macleod
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Probably the most pleasantly surprising film I saw this week was THE MACHINE from writer/director Caradog W. James. Reading the description of the film and even seeing the trailer didn’t really fill me with hope, but upon viewing the film, I found it to be like MOON and DISTRICT 9 before it, to be one of those low scoped sci fi films that is the reason behind this big new wave of sci fi films inundating us in theaters at the moment. It’s too bad that this film is small scale, as it is a film that deserves to be experienced by more people, but in this case, I guess THE MACHINE will be one of those surprises you happen upon on cable and wonder why you haven’t heard much about it.

The film stars BLACK SAILS’ Toby Stephens as Vincent, an expert in artificial intelligence who strives to make robots that think and reason for themselves. But his experiments seem to lack a human quality that prohibits the machines from going crazy from the flood of the other humanistic qualities he puts into the robots. Soon he meets the adorable Ava (played by ARROW’s Black Canary herself Caity Lotz), a fellow programmer who seems to have developed a way to counteract this imbalance, but before Ava and Vincent can make the perfect AI, Ava is killed and Vincent decides to use Ava as the basis for his first perfect robot that he calls The Machine. But the corporate head of the company Vincent works for played by Denis Lawson (that’s right, muther-effin’ Wedge from STAR WARS is in this film!) wants Ava for a perfect killing machine, of course and that’s where Ava is torn between the peaceful designs of her creator and the deadly intentions of her owner.

Even that description makes this film seem like an EVE OF DESTRUCTION clone or some other sci fi B-movie you wouldn’t give two blinks to, but aside from fantastic acting from all of the cast, the film is visually stunning. From the glowing blue eyes of the robots to the Giger-esque yet unique sets and machinery this film used, THE MACHINE is a beauty to lay eyes on. Director James does things with a simple warehouse with water on the floor that are gorgeously lit and fantastically choreographed. While the old JJ Abrams lens flare is used quite a bit in this film, it’s done so only during the AI scenes, differentiating them from the gritty human scenes. From the brutal fight scenes as Ava murderizes scores of foes to the quiet ones of Vincent exhausting himself in the lab, every scene looks fantastic and original.

Little details like the aforementioned subtle blue eye glow in the robots and the fact that the robots talk to one another in a garbled kind of tech speak sets this film aside as something full of unique and engaging ideas. Robot gone amok stories are a dime a dozen, but the filmmakers’ eye, the actors’ talent, and the imagination of both those behind the effects and the camera make this one of the best sci fi films I’ve seen this year.

If you are hungry for good sci fi, THE MACHINE is going to satisfy your appetite and then some. Visually stunning and superbly made, THE MACHINE is going to surprise quite a few folks. It’s getting a limited theatrical run before it hits VOD and then DVD. However you catch THE MACHINE, just make sure you do as it’s a sci fi gem worth finding.

New this week on DVD!


Directed by Mitchell Altieri
Written by Kevin Artigue, Joe Egender, Mitchell Altieri, Phil Flores
Starring Emma Greenwell, Joe Egender, Brendan McCarthy, Cameron Richardson, Don Harvey, Roger Aaron Brown, James Lowe, Jason Benjamin, Jalen Camp, Jayne Entwistle, Buffy Charlet
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

I’ll take zombies, vampires, werewolves, serial killer and aliens from outer space any old day without even a shudder, but if you really want to scare me, bible thumpers are the ones that do it to me the most. For some reason, those on a holy crusade to “save my soul” feels more offensive to me than any torture porn or misogynistic act put to film. I guess that’s just me. From the Butcher Brothers, the directors/writers of THE THOMPSONS and its prequel THE HAMILTONS (reviewed here), comes HOLY GHOST PEOPLE; an excellent story about religion, fanaticism, and souls that are both lost and regrettably found.

TRUE BLOOD’s Emma Greenwell plays Charlotte, a barmaid in search of her missing sister who was last heard of going to a place called Sugar Mountain; a religious community in the hills outside of town. Brendan McCarthy (also from TRUE BLOOD) is Wayne an unlucky dolt who gets pulled into this mess when Charlotte hires him to retrieve her sister once she finds out he’s an ex-Marine and hard up for cash. Once the pair get to Sugar Mountain, they meet the Giovanni Ribisi-esque Joe Egender (a regular in The Butcher Brothers’ films such as THE HAMILTONS, THE VIOLENT KIND and THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY – not a Butcher Brothers film) who plays the evangelic Brother Billy who leads sermons with a charisma that is almost infectious. Egender really dazzles in this role, carrying with him both a divine air and a threatening presence as he shouts the word of the Lord while grasping snakes with both hands. As Charlotte gets closer to the truth about the whereabouts of her sister, Wayne, desperate and suffering from alcoholism, starts getting pulled into Brother Billy’s sermons.

The true standout in this film is Egender who is a star waiting to explode as evidenced by the nuanced performance as Brother Billy. This could have been a typical moustache twirling villain, but the smart script and subtle twists Egender adds makes him almost likable in a dastardly sort of way. The relationship he has with Charlotte becomes pretty vile, but at the same time, the one he forms with Wayne is downright brotherly, as he provides Wayne with something his life was lacking. This tangled triangle of drama and horror is the heart of this film and thought it’s twisted, it’s damn compelling to see.

Like Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT (reviewed here and set to be released soon on Video On Demand), HOLY GHOST PEOPLE examines the horror of faith and how the name of the Lord can be perverted when spoken by just the right twisted soul. It’s also about the poor fools sucked into these types of religions and how easily we all can be persuaded given the right desperate situation. This is a story about real horror because there are people like this out there and dammit if that doesn’t scare me.

HOLY GHOST PEOPLE is fantastically acted, patiently plotted, and deftly executed. The Butcher Brothers, who have been more in your face with some of their previous works such as THE VIOLENT KIND and THE HAMILTONS, really show a lot of growth and maturity as filmmakers with this film. Maybe that’s why they’ve chosen to drop the Butcher Brothers moniker and just be referred to by their real names; Mitchell Altieri & Phil Flores. Though they may have taken a bit of a misstep with their last film THE THOMPSONS (a sequel to THE HAMILTONS), they are definitely back on track and then some with this expertly realized glimpse into the life of scary ass religion and the people who pervert it.

New this week on BluRay and DVD!

NURSE 3D (2013)

Directed by Douglas Aarniokoski
Written by Douglas Aarniokoski, David Loughery
Starring Paz de la Huerta, Judd Nelson, Katrina Bowden, Kathleen Turner, Corbin Bleu, Michael Eklund, Boris Kodjoe, Niecy Nash, Martin Donovan, Melanie Scrofano, Adam Herschman
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

On a pure spank-a-rific scale, NURSE 3D is pretty off the charts. Though for some Paz de la Huerta is like nails on a chalkboard, I can’t deny the fact that I find her to be fascinatingly sultry in a filthy kind of way. de la Huerta knows this as she slinks, swerves, and struts through this entire film as if she is Marilyn Monroe dyed jet black and reincarnated. She even has the same doped up thousand yard stare. Appearing completely naked numerous times in this film, there are many who will hear that fact and it will guarantee a surefire purchase and as a showcase for the sultry actress, NURSE 3D is a successful one putting her front and center in every scene.

For a movie though, NURSE 3D is as flawed as it gets. The film tries to have it both ways, trying to make a feminist statement about a nurse who seeks out men who cheat on their wives while objectifying de la Huerta every chance it can get. At the beginning of this film, there is a blurb that states that there is a large portion of serial killers with backgrounds in medicine. It’s too bad this film didn’t really take that fact and delve into it. A look at why doctors and serial killers are two professions which often intersect might actually be something interesting, but you won’t find any of that here. NURSE 3D is way to shallow for that and would rather wallow in the kiddie end of pool than venture into deeper waters.

de la Huerta plays Abby Russell, a resident nurse who develops a crush on the new nurse Danni (Katrina Bowden from TUCKER & DALE VS EVIL reviewed here), but when Danni refuses her advances (because she has a boyfriend), Abby decides to kill everyone in the way of her happiness with Danni. In between all of this, we find out Abby herself if a victim of infidelity as a child when she walks in on her father schtupping another woman spurning a lifelong penchant to killing cheaters. The irony that Abby wants Danni to cheat on her boyfriend isn’t really recognized. Instead, Abby simply stalks Danni via social media, sending risqué pics and messages via email and Facebook. Though it’s light on psychology or even a smart story, like most of the “connected” culture we live in, social media seems to be the one thing the filmmakers really did any research into while making this film.

Things get gory and the climax of this film does go to places I didn’t think this film was capable of going as Abby goes nuts on an entire ward of patients. So while this film is kind of messed up in what it wants to say and how it says it, on a pure boobs ‘n gore level, its top bloody tits. Still its painful to listen to de la Huerta try to spout deep about how horribly pig-like every man is when given the opportunity to cheat when she seems to be dedicating her entire livelihood and every second on screen to casting herself as nothing but a sexual object. I have nothing against someone doing that sort of thing, but burning a bra whilst doing so is a bit much to swallow.

In select theaters and on Video on Demand, available this week on DVD/BluRay from Drafthouse Films!


Directed by Ben Wheatley
Written by Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump
Starring Reece Shearsmith, Julian Barratt, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Ryan Pope, Michael Smiley, Sara Dee
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Ben Wheatley follows the darkly comic SIGHTSEERS with a simple trippy film in A FIELD IN ENGLAND. And while many found Wheatley’s KILL LIST to be a masterpiece, I found it a bit disappointing in its similarity to THE WICKER MAN. Still KILL LIST showed the man had a lot of talent and SIGHTSEERS proved Wheatley’s range in being able to do dark comedy. With A FIELD IN ENGLAND, Wheatley once again proves to have a truly unique eye for both visual and narrative filmmaking, though I can see how some may be turned away by the almost psychedelic and non-linear methods by which Wheatley tells this tale.

THE COTTAGE’s Reese Shearsmith is Whitehead, one of four deserters who flee from a gory battle to save their own skins. The four men make a truce to find the closest pub to drink away their fears and plan a new life, but along the way they happen upon a wizard-like man named O’Neil (played by KILL LIST’s Michael Smiley) who entrances the quartet into searching a large field for buried treasure. Along the way it’s either O’Neil’s witchery or the mushrooms the group have consumed that flips the switch and makes everything all topsy turvy.

OK, it’s clearly the mushrooms that flips everyone’s shit.

But everyone believes that it’s the work of O’Neil and follows his orders to search for this treasure. Whitehead is a holy man and refuses to imbibe in the shrooms or the alcohol and seems to be the only man who has his wits to him, but O’Neil will is a powerful force and Whitehead is a cowardly man, so he is bested as well. But while the group search a never-ending field for fool’s gold, the alliances begin to fray and people start killing each other, leaving Whitehead to overcome his reluctance to act and take arms against O’Neil who is called Devil and basically represents evil and sin throughout the whole film.

At last, that’s what I gleaned from this film.

A FIELD IN ENGLAND is a head-scratcher of a film. I understand what Wheatley was going for and for the most part he achieves it in making a film about overcoming cowardice and becoming one’s own man. Sure it’s a macho theme, but one dissected in many a Western and wartime drama. Why not set a coward to hero piece in 17th Century England? And while Wheatley doesn’t come right out and say that’s what this is about, Shearsmith’s performance acts it out perfectly. Here’s hoping this film will give the actor a bit of a goose to get bigger and better roles as he does a fantastic job as both a quivering weakling and an empowered madman. Smiley’s O’Neil is equally amazing as the mesmerizing medicine man who entrances the tribe on charisma alone.

The thing that might turn some off is the trippiness of the whole thing as mirror effects interspersed with strobe effects make this feel more like a film made in the psychedelic sixties rather than the here and now. There’s an entrancing and spellbinding sort of feel to this film that cannot be denied and along with the cowardly quartet, I found myself entranced to journey through this endless field and trust Wheatley as my guide that he will end it with a worthy payoff. And the ending is quite powerful as it turns reality sideways and brings things back full circle, but with the deserted soldiers forever changed by the events that happen in the field. Though there are quite a few gory scenes, this film falls less into the horror genre and more into the experimental and surreal filmmaking category in which one might find a David Lynch or Alejandro Jodorowski film. A FIELD IN ENGLAND is an experience rather than a conventional film. There aren’t many films or filmmakers bold enough to go to the edges of man’s perception and sanity. That’s why A FIELD IN ENGLAND is a trip worth taking.

Advance Review: Limited theatrical release this weekend at the Laemmle Noho 7 in North Hollywood, CA! Coming soon to DVD/Blu/VOD in August!


Directed by Jonathan Zarantonello
Written by Jonathan Zarantonello, Paolo Guerrieri, Luigi Sardiello
Starring Barbara Steele, Ray Wise, Erica Leerhsen, Heather Langenkamp, Ellery Sprayberry, Julia Putnam, Camille Keaton, P.J. Soles, Adrienne King, James Karen, Elea Oberon, Joseph H. Johnson Jr.
Find out more about this film here!
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

THE BUTTERFLY ROOM was on my best of the year list two years ago and it’s finally getting released which is good news for you all because it’s a goodie. It’s one of those films that really hit me upon watching it and I feel the need to shout from the rooftops in support of this indie surprise starring some of the true greats of the horror genre.

Mothers have always been a great topic of horror to explore. Be it Faye Dunaway’s evil matriarch in MOMMY DEAREST, Norman Bates’ mom in PSYCHO, or even the creepy mother of two rapist bastards in MOTHER’S DAY, a mom gone wrong is something that always can get under our skins as an audience. Throwing her hat into the mix as one of the all time bad moms is legendary actress Barbara (BLACK SABBATH, PIT & THE PENDULUM) Steele who plays Ann, a seemingly harmless elderly lady living by herself in an apartment complex. By day, she keeps busy cleaning and going on walks, but in the room in the back of her apartment, scary goings on go on and as Ann reaches out to take care of a neighbor’s daughter while she is away, the secrets of The Butterfly Room, a room which has never had a man in it and never will according to Ann, are about to be revealed.

THE BUTTERFLY ROOM sports a cast of horror heavies the likes of which we rarely see. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET’s Heather Langenkamp plays a protective mother with ties to Ann’s past. Erica Leershen (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, WRONG TURN 2, BLAIR WITCH 2) and Adrienne King (Alice, the counselor who lopped off Mrs. Voorhees’ head in the first FRIDAY THE 13TH), play mothers as well, as does HALLOWEEN & CARRIE’s P.J. Soles and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE’s Camille Keaton. Rounding out the cast is James Karen (RETURN FO THE LIVING DEAD) and Ray Wise (making his second appearance in this week’s column, this time as a nosy handyman). All of these performances are fresh in this film and makes you wonder why these actors and actresses haven’t worked since their iconic turns in these iconic films.

Aside from gathering a cast to die for, director Jonathan Zarantonello creates an entire fascinating world revolving around Barbara Steele’s Ann. The apartment complex she lives and does her evil deeds in lives and breathes. The intimate close-ups of Ann working on her butterfly collection bring the viewer in uncomfortably close to this bizarre world where beauty is trapped, pinned down, and put on display. The metaphor of butterfly collecting is not an impenetrable one; rather it supplies a fantastic and creepy springboard to bounce Ann’s twisted emotions from. Though it is clear early on that something twisted is going on with Ann, even when the shocks are revealed, they tend to resonate harder than expected.

Zarantonello also takes some interesting and inventive steps in regards to the industrial beat-filled soundtrack and the leaps forward and backward in time in the narrative. Though this is often a surefire way to lose the reader, Zarantonello is able to lead us along, mainly by focusing always on Steele’s Ann character as the touchstone by which all action in this film stems from. A lesser director would have lost me as a viewer, but Zarantonello is far from a lesser director.

But this is all Steele’s show. In every frame, Steele exudes power and was even able to pull some sympathy from me as the viewer, even after we see her doing evil deeds. We are with her the whole time as she tries to cover her tracks, reaches out and connects with others, and gets burned for doing so causing her to fight back. Hers is a complex role which is able to ascertain both sympathy and revulsion and Steele hits every note with elegance and charisma.

I can’t recommend this film more and I can’t wait for more of you to see it so I can dialog about it with folks. It is definitely one of the best of the year in its complex narrative and masterful performances all around. THE BUTTERFLY ROOM is one of those films which taps into the simple horrors: the horror of harming a child, the horror of love not returned, the horror of betrayal, and the sheer horror of becoming exactly like ones’ parents. And it does it so, so very well.

Advance Review!

EAT (2014)

Directed by Jimmy Weber
Written by Jimmy Weber
Starring Meggie Maddock, Ali Frances, Jeremy Make, Maru Garcia, Dakota Pike, Josh Staab
Find out more about this film here.
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Novella wants to become a star so she can fuck Michael Fassbender. Well, that’s not the only reason, but one she gives when she asks about what she wants to do with her life. She’s a wannabe model/actress who is finding it harder and harder to find roles and with rent and other stressors in her looming, she has developed a nasty habit of biting her cuticles and fingernails. But as the stress mounts, her habit is starting to intensify and by intensify, I mean, she’s starting to eat more than her cuticles and fingernails.

Stories like Stephen King’s SURVIVOR TYPE and ANTHROPOPAGUS where the protagonist begins eating themselves out of sheer desperation and hunger came to mind immediately upon watching EAT, a new film by Jimmy Weber and one you’re going to want to watch out for if you like psychologically horrific gorefests. And man-o-man is this a gorefest. But instead of being one of your typical gorefests where it’s nothing but a showcase for bloody wounds and nasty effects, EAT delves into psychological issues so deep with characters so rich, even if you are easy to nauseate, you’re going to have trouble turning away.

Writer/director Weber has orchestrated a symphony of psychologically damaged people with this film. Meggie Maddock is instantly likable and gorgeously engaging as Novella, a deeply scarred young lady who has a distrust in doctors ever since her father died on the operating table having a routine procedure. It’s no wonder when she begins to harm herself that she keeps her distance from doctors and refuses to get help. Her best friend Candice (Ali Frances) is over protective of her as Novella does seem to have that broken wing personality that brings out the parental instincts in people. When Novella’s bad habit of eating her own flesh gets out of control, it’s hard not to feel for her in this time of ultimate desperation. Weber seems to have covered all of the psychological bases in mapping out a flawed individual who surrounds herself with equally flawed people while all the while holding an unflinching mirror up to the horrors that happen in Hollywood these days. And he does so without being clichéd or melodramatic. Every emotional beat hits its mark with just amount of power that it just rings right. It’s traumatic and horrible, but right, nevertheless.

EAT seems to be adding to a growing trend of horror films about body horror left untreated (see also THANATOMORPHOSE, AFFLICTED, and CONTRACTED). I know I go to the doctor as a last resort, not because I don’t care about myself, but because I have such a busy schedule and tight budget. Flawed thinking, I know, but I think it’s a feeling many experience in this new day and age of a multitasking generation where a costly doctor’s visit means more problems. EAT delves into this very human desperation with a gentle hand at first, leading the viewer in by having us care for these characters, and then comes down hard on us like a sledgehammer in the latter half.

EAT is a film that is not for the squeamish. It contains effects sequences that will make you wince and scream. But the most uncomforting aspect of EAT is that it does such an effective job of pulling the viewer in to care about the characters before putting them through bloody, gory hell. Depthy, unflinching, and utterly gross, EAT is a film that will make you want to pull away, but you won’t be able to. Everything from the performances to the music used is spot on. EAT will affect you like few other horror films do. It will twist your heart while it churns your stomach. Not just a gorefest, but a gorefest with character and depth. Do not miss EAT when it comes to a festival near you.

And finally…here’s 51 Deep’s latest horror comedy short “The Ghosting” which has spooky attic happenings, a gun-bat, and a creepy skull…along with the shenanigans 51 Deep is known for. Check out more of 51 Deep’s cool short films here and enjoy “The Ghosting!”

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 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be an Uptown 6 Films feature film), Zenescope’s GRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13, UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES, and the critically acclaimed THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark wrote/provided art for a chapter in Black Mask Studios’ OCCUPY COMICS. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.

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

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