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What the &#$% is ZOMBIES & SHARKS?

Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. On with the horror reviews!

(Click title to go directly to the feature)

Retro-review: TWICE-TOLD TALES (1963)
Retro-review: WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE (1983)
Retro-review: GARBAGE PAIL KIDS: THE MOVIE (1987)
Retro-review: MOONTRAP (1989)
8 Films To Die For: WIND WALKERS (2015)
BODY (2015)
Advance Review: A NIGHT OF HORROR (2015)
And finally…Sonny Fernandez’ FRIDAY THE 13TH: BLOODVILLE!

Retro-review: New on BluRay from Kino Lorber!


Directed by Sidney Salkow
Written by Robert E. Kent, based on the stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Starring Vincent Price, Joyce Taylor, Sebastian Cabot, Brett Halsey, Beverly Garland, Richard Denning, Mari Blanchard, Abraham Sofaer, Jacqueline deWit, Edith Evanson, Floyd Simmons, Gene Roth
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug

In the midst of adapting all of Poe’s best works, Vincent Price squeezed out a little time to make an anthology based on the best of Nathaniel Hawthorne as well. The film lacks the punch of Corman’s adaptations, but this is still one fun grouping of short stories once again highlighting Vincent Price’s undeniable charm and versatility as an actor.

The first installment, "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," is a twisty little tale co-starring Sabastian Cabot, who is always fun when played off of Vincent Price. Here Cabot plays Dr. Heidegger, a man who never got over the death of his fiancée, but he still has the friendship of Alex Medbourne (Price). When a lightning bolt crashes into his fiancée’s tomb, the pair investigates to find her preserves perfectly by the well of spring water that leaked into the crypt. Seems this water has rejuvenative powers and after taking a sip of the liquid, Heidegger and Medbourne become forty years younger. Pressing the experiment further, they end up reviving Heidegger’s fiancée from death. But with rejuvenation comes the resurfacing of old secrets and this tale of betrayal and lost love gets sticky. There are some fun twists going on in this installment and all involved give fantastic performances. You can see the end coming from a mile away, but still it manages to send out a shock.

"Rappaccini's Daughter" is probably my favorite of the trio of tales, simply for how weird it is. Price plays Rappaccini, a protective father, who, after his wife left him, guarantees that his daughter Beatrice (Joyce Taylor) never will by making anything she touches die and turn purple. When Beatrice meets a neighboring man Giovanni (Brett Halsey), she falls in love with him, but this forces Rappaccini to take extreme measures to ensure his daughter will never leave him. This one is overly romanticized in a Romeo and Juliet sort of tale of forbidden love, but amazing in an effects point of view as the touch of Beatrice causes animals to burst into a puff of smoke and turn purple. Again, tragedy and horror befalls everyone involved, but like all of these twice told tales, it takes its sweet time to get to it.

Probably Hawthorne’s most famous work, "The House of the Seven Gables" is the final segment. Seeing Price as the conniving heir to a family curse reminded me a bit of his repetitious roles in Corman’s Poe films, but still, this is Price doing what he does best here. Seeing him square off against a painting that drips blood and a skeleton is a lot of fun and the fiery ending really packs a punch.

While all of these tales are jam packed with romanticism gone terribly wrong, they still have fun twist endings and well deserved horrible fates. Plus the bright colors and ornate settings make for some amazing old school scares. This Blu is minimal on extras but does have an audio Commentary by Film Historians Richard Harland Smith and Perry Martin. Still for the Price completist, this BluRay is something you’re going to want to get.

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


Directed by Bruno Mattei
Written by Claudio Fragasso, Olivier Lefait
Starring Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti, Ursula Flores, Maria Romano, Antonella Giacomini, Raul Cabrera, Pierangelo Pozzato, Robert Mura, Françoise Perrot, Jacques Stany, Flo Astair, Carlo De Mejo, Franca Stoppi, Lorraine De Selle
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug

Zombie and sleaze director Bruno Mattei offers up a film that is half typical women’s prison flick and half something interesting with WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE.

Surprisingly, WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE opens with an artsy confessional stage play that isn’t unlike the opening number in the movie musical CHICAGO where three inmates explain to the prison audience and the viewer who they are and what they did to get in there. After this impressive opener, things get typical with lesbian shower scenes, favors earned and granted, and of course a wicked warden. For the first half of this film, WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the million and one women’s prison movies that were made through the seventies and eighties.

But just when I was about to give up on this one, things begin to get interesting as a security car with a handful of male killers crashes near the women’s prison. With only one guard left alive, he takes the shackled prisoners by gunpoint to the prison. Things go sideways quick and while most women’s prison films end in some kind of escape attempt, this one takes more of a DOG DAY AFTERNOON direction as the male prisoners take over the prison and attempt to use the inmates and guards as hostages, negotiating chips, and more devious things.

Despite the unexpected turn, this is a pretty wretched film in terms of how the women are depicted. There are rapes, girl fights, fetishized lesbianism, and all sorts of stuff that will get feminists all riled up, so if you’re of that type, you might as well move on. There is no lesson to be learned in this film. It’s simply horrible things happening to pretty horrible women. If anything, this is a pretty apathetic film as the establishment and the authorities feel so much disregard for the prisoners. This is evident in the final scenes as the male prisoners have no one but the female prisoners to bargain with in the standoff which ends in…well, just check out the title of the movie.

Though it is sleazy as can be, WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE does a pretty good job of being sleazy and managed to surprise me a few times along the way. While the film doesn’t really do much advancement in the realm of acting (most of the voices are dubbed anyway), but this is definitely one of the more unique women’s prison films out there with copious amounts of sleaze and gore.

BEWARE: If boobies were a crime, this trailer would be going to prison! NSFW!

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


Directed by Rod Amateau
Written by Linda Palmer , Rod Amateau (screenplay), John Pound (trading cards creator)
Starring Anthony Newley, Mackenzie Astin, Katie Barberi, Ron MacLachlan, J.P. Amateau, Marjory Graue, Phil Fondacaro as Greaser Greg, Debbie Lee Carrington as Valerie Vomit, Kevin Thompson as Ali Gator, Bobby Bell as Foul Phil, Larry Green as Nat Nerd, Arturo Gil as Windy Winston, and Susan Rossitto as Messy Tessie
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug

Yeah, it’s not really a horror film. More of a horrific piece of cinema. But as a kid, I’m not ashamed to admit, I collected the hell out of Garbage Pail Kids Cards. It felt like an act of rebellion against the mainstream love for the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon that went on in the mid-eighties. I don’t think I want to know how much in quarters I spent on packs and packs of those Garbage Pail Kids cards and I know I have them collected in a box somewhere. Be it my OCD tendency of a collector, a fascination with all things freaky and gross, or just something fun to do, if you were a kid in the 80’s you most likely loved the cards and your parents hated it. I don’t think I went to the theaters to see THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS: THE MOVIE. I think the craze had died down by then and my interest had moved on to other forms of geek. Still, I remember seeing it as a kid on cable and being pretty unimpressed with it. Seeing it again as an adult, I’m still not too impressed. THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS is a very bad movie and I could simply write it off as bad and leave it at that. But that’s not going to make for an interesting review, so I decided to delve into why it’s such a bad film below.

The main reason why this film is so bad is not because of the makeup and effects. Rumor has it the film was rushed into production and John Carl Buechler wasn’t finished with the animatronic faces and appliances when the filming started. So the fact that some of the characters don’t really move in a realistic or articulate manner may be due to this fact. Still, if there is an aspect of horror to this film, it’s the unnatural look and movement of the Garbage Pail Kids themselves. There are aspects of these effects that will most likely unsettle and cause nightmares. Some of the sculpts are actually pretty awesome, in particular the Pinhead-esque Foul Phil whose freaky baby-looks are the stuff of a pants-shitting nightmare. Buechler (who also did TROLL and one of the best looking Jason Voorhees looks in PART 7) originally was set to direct this film as well as do the effects. His goal was to go full horror and make the Garbage Pail Kids murder people like the little monsters they were. One could only wonder what kind of fun Buechler had in mind, but alas, only his effects remained in the film.

The script is the main reason this film is a piece of shit. Unimaginative and unfunny, the Garbage Pail Kids simply reenact their one dimensional trait like farting, snotting, or pissing themselves over and over, most of the time utilizing potty humor in the most rudimentary of ways (more than once, just in case you didn’t get the joke the first time). The film tries to have it both ways. It wants to be a kids film with all sorts of potty humor that makes the kids giggle, but coming from the weirdly mechanical animatronic monstrosities only makes them uncomfortable to watch. A better script and filmmaker might have been able to use the punch-line cards as a launching pad for some kind of imaginative stab at the Cabbage Patch phenomenon. That’s why the cards were so interesting in the first place. They were a way to rebel from the popular alternative. Imagine if this were a story of how the cards and the kids came to be; as a response to society’s obsession with Cabbage Patch Kids, Garbage Pail Kids came to be as their flip sides and THEN make the GPKids the more interesting and unique of the two. Using Cabbage Patch Kids would be impossible as the company sued the makers of GPKids for copyright infringement, but creative minds would have been able to get around this.

But no creative minds were involved in this movie and the film build on the launch pad of the popular cards simply exploded before it took flight. The makers didn’t even bother to do anything about the origins of the gross-out kids. There’s a brief sentence about Pandora’s Box and the kids might have something to do with that, which is somewhat intriguing, but none of it is delved into any further than that. This is a story about a dumb kid named Dodger (FACTS OF LIFE’s Mackenzie Astin) who wants to impress opportunistic skank Tangerine (Katie Barberi) by telling her that he designs his own clothes. So Tangerine has Dodger make tons of clothes so that she can sell them and then have a fashion show with these new dope styles. You know what’s missing in that deft plot? Garbage Pail Kids. So to actually make them relevant to this story, the freaky Kids somehow have the ability to make lots and lots of cool clothing quickly; an ability that has nothing to do with the card series whatsoever.

Random wrongs about this film: The horrific song “We Can Do Anything By Working With Each Other” burrows into your brain and refuses to leave.

At the State Home For the Ugly, which is a place that supposedly contains the rest of the thousand-billion Garbage Pail Kids, each cell has a qualifier as to why the inmate is there like Too Hairy and Too Silly, but it also includes the offensive Too Crippled cell which is beyond wrong.

At the fashion show, the Garbage Pail Kids tear the clothes off the models aggressively, taking an inappropriate turn towards an R-rating.

In the final act, the Garbage Pail Kids are told the rest of the kids have been murdered by the State Home For the Ugly, a fact which makes none of the cast or animatronic kids bat one of their dead eyes at it, making for a completely downer of an ending.

So you have a story that really doesn’t involve the Garbage Pail Kids, no imagination at all put into the story, and effects that were only half done when filming started; it’s a wonder that this film was made at all. On a positive note, Barberi looked exactly like a gal I had a huge crush on in high school. It’s too bad that’s the only redeeming quality in this film. Those of us who collected the Garbage Pail Kids cards as kids deserved better. I’m not asking for an Oscar contender, but it actually pisses me off when filmmakers don’t even try. With nostalgia reigning supreme these days and new sets of GPKids cards coming out, maybe a decent version of this property can be made. Not that anyone is demanding it, but if it is something ever revisited, hopefully someone actually tries with the script.

Retro-review: New on BluRay from Olive Films!


Directed by Robert Dyke
Written by Tex Ragsdale
Starring Walter Koenig, Bruce Campbell, Leigh Lombardi, Robert Kurcz, John J. Saunders, Reavis Graham, Tom Case, Doug Childs
Retro-reviewed by Ambush Bug

It’s funny seeing Bruce Campbell in a film where he isn’t hamming it up, but that’s just what he does in MOONTRAP, a low budget, small thinking little sci fi flick. By the way, for some reason every time I write or say MOONTRAP, my intermittent dyslexia has me pronounce it MOONTARP, for some reason. Say, MOONTARP. It’s damn fun to say.

Bruce plays Ray Tanner, co-pilot of a space shuttle mission lead by Checkov himself Walter Koenig who plays single dad and moon walking hopeful Col. Jason Grant. Tanner and Grant run into an unknown space vessel and with it, finds the body of an ancient spaceman. Bringing the body and some tech back to earth, the tech reanimates the body and goes on a rampage at the moon base. Taking out the otherworldly cyborg, Tanner and Grant head back out to space to the moon, where an ancient base houses a mullet haired hottie (the shapely Leigh Lombardi) and a lot of alien robot things.

This is just simply a fun movie. Set in the far future year of 1990, the film is almost quaint in its simplistic take on space travel. Because Campbell and Koenig are witness to the first sighting of the alien tech, they are vetted to the top of the list to go on the next mission, simply because the plot, not logic, calls for it. The practical robot effects are obviously a take on THE TERMINATOR as it rampages through the space control base and battles armed guards. At the same time, fun mini models of the spacecraft are used in pretty ingenious ways. The effects are all over the place, incorporating cheap miniature effects with practical. One such iconic effect is used later in the film as the robots scavenge body parts of one of the fallen astronauts in order to make new warriors out of spare parts.

It’s cool that Koenig adopts the Captain Kirk role. He is a commanding presence here and even gets to bang an alien chick in true gratuitous STAR TREK fashion. Campbell is not full on Ash yet here and seems to want to be taken seriously as an actor rather than the personality he has become, but there are some fun moments where the Bruce roundhouse kicks a soda machine stating, “We don’t take crap from machines!” The hammy delivery and clumsy karate is pure Bruce.

MOONTRAP is a harmless little sci fi; not really offering up much to push the genre forward, but uses a lot of tropes you’ve seen from other horror and sci fi movies that you’ll recognize and appreciate. Films like TERMINATOR and HARDWARE do it better, but Bruce, Checkov, and the effects make this one brainless and harmless fun.

New on BluRay/DVD from Independent Cinema!


Directed by Eric F. Adams
Written by Eric F. Adams
Starring Austin T. Adams, Eric F. Adams, Nick F. Adams, Justin Bickham, Tom Bubrig, Chip Carriere, Russell G. Graham II, Emilia Graves, David Guillory, Pam Guillory, Travis Haskins, John Inglesman, Janet L'Aube, Donna Leblanc, Ryan Chase Lee
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

The biggest sin of IN THE HELL OF DIXIE is that it might be a little too ambitious for its own good. Apart from that, I have to give it to the cast and crew for putting together this little indie horror.

IN THE HELL OF DIXIE is an elaborate tale of horror in the South. There’s a genuine and authentic feel to this film, as if it were made with the efforts of an entire town with a bunch of good old boys pitching in and delivering a broad story with multiple characters and an elaborate plot. The main story focuses on a police officer who is vying to become Sergeant, but is passed over in the opening moments. Meanwhile, a killer is making his way through the woods and picking off a group of hunters on their annual hunting outing.

IN THE HELL OF DIXIE’s main flaw is that it’s just too overlong for its own good. The film runs a little over two hours and the mayhem, for the most part, doesn’t even get going until the second hour. Eric F. Adams does a good job of showing us the down-home lifestyle of the characters, but there’s a lot of extraneous stuff in that first hour that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Because of this, it’s going to be hard for folks to stick around until the second hour carnage.

The main characters aren’t bad in terms of acting. I’ve certainly seen worse. But those not tolerant of unpolished and amateur performances are going to want to pass on this one. Still, props to all involved for mapping out a strong story and doing it all themselves. Indie film lovers are going to want to check it out. The carnage in the second hour is pretty impressive, it just takes its sweet time to get there.

New on DVD from Big Biting Pig Productions!


Directed by PJ Woodside
Written by PJ Woodside
Starring PJ Woodside, Scott Cummings, Cody Rogers, Jessica Leonard, Steve Hudgins, T.O.N.E-z, Ruby Sayard Kelly, Felicia Stewart, Vivien Worthen-Powell, Alyssa Reisinger, Lucy Turner, Sean Mooningham, Jessica Dockrey, Grey Hurt, James Gibbs, Janet Corum, Jonathan Humphrey, Rob Miles, Emily Beeny, Todd Martin, Trish Erickson-Martin, Barb Rosner, Patrick Higgs
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

PJ Woodside and her Big Biting Pig Productions she runs with Steve Hudgins are voices to be reckoned with in independent horror. I’ve reviewed almost all of their films here on AICN HORROR (THE CREEPY DOLL, THE CARETAKERS, LUCID, SPIRIT STALKERS) and with each film the writer/director/actress improves with leaps and bounds. FRANCES STEIN is her latest film and it’s definitely the best of the bunch.

Loosely based on Mary Shelley’s classic story, FRANCES STEIN is more of a tale of mad science than a direct adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN. Writer/director PJ Woodside plays the titular character, a woman scorned and shunned by her colleagues at the university and left by her husband for a younger woman. Frances’ unconventional and unethical ways have made her a woman more feared than respected, but her competition wants her secrets and will resort to deadly measures to get it. Meanwhile, Frances has developed a way to download memories into digital imagery and with that technology she has unlocked the secrets of overcoming death and living forever.

I love it that this isn’t some modern retread of the FRANKENSTEIN tale. Elements of the classic story are used and the script references specific details such as Igor, the desire to conquer death, and other nods to the classic, but for the most part, it is an entirely new story about science gone wrong. The script itself is clever and fast-paced, focusing highly on character and the complex interactions between them. I was blown away by the sophisticated and unconventional way the story unfolds as the film flips back and forth through time to tell this elaborate tale. There are even some last minutes twists and turns that will definitely surprise you. It sure surprised me.

The acting in this low budgeter is equally good with Woodside really nailing her performance as the tormented scientist. Co-producer Steve Hudgins is good as well as an interrogator trying to glean information from Frances’ assistant Avery (Cody Rogers) who also is great as the audience’s eyes and ears through the narrative. There’s even a cameo by JUSTIFIED rapper/singer T.O.N.E-z as a specialist in the art of torture.

If you’re willing to take a chance on FRANCES STEIN, I guarantee you’re going to be impressed. From top to bottom, this is a structurally sound and thoroughly entertaining spin on mad science. This is a true indie gem that deserves to be seen and hopefully this spectacular film will result in even bigger and better things for this talented filmmaker.

New this week On Demand and on iTunes here!


Directed by Alastair Orr
Written by Max Roberts
Starring Zachary Soetenga, Lindsey McKeon, Sofia Pernas, Pierson Fode, Jamie Anderson, Juanxo Villaverde, Laura Penuela, Michael Mealor, and Mark Steger as the Chupacabra!
Find out more about this film on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

While everything about this film screams “typical,” director Alastair Orr and writer Max Roberts inject enough personality and a cool monster to make INDIGENOUS an interesting ride we’ve ridden before.

INDIGENOUS starts with a first person POV found footage-esque opener with a group of hunters making their way through the woods and ending up being stalked and killed by something just out of shot. Those who watch the trailer and hear that might think this is a found footage film, but it isn’t. Sure there are parts that cut to the handheld POV, but for the most part, this is a cinematically shot monster film about a group of pretty people going to a foreign country, going where they shouldn’t, and getting stalked and eaten by a monster. In this case, it’s the goat-sucker himself, Chupacabra.

I will give it to this film. The actors are really good here. While they all look like they stepped off a model shoot, they still have enough personality that you actually pull for them. That’s not to say these guys are smart people. After seeing a Youtube video of a group of people being stalked and killed by a monster, they think it’s a good idea to go into that same jungle to look for a fabled waterfall. Not expecting to stay long, they are ill-prepared when they get lost and the Chupa starts chooping them up. Inexplicably though, they all have flashlights…

The monster itself is actually quite cool. Pale and all teeth, the creature is reminiscent of the monsters in THE DESCENT. The problem is that you just don’t see too much of it as the editing during the attacks is chopped all to hell. This is usually a tactic used by filmmakers who want to cover up the cheapness of what the monster looks like, but from the quick bits and pieces I saw, it looked pretty good to me.

The film does a cool thing by putting the focus on the recovery of the lost kids and the myth of the Chupacabra. It tries to show what it would be like if a cryptozoid was actually caught on camera for a world-wide audience. This is an aspect rarely delved into in these types of films which are basically centered on an extended chase through the woods in the latter half. I liked the incorporation of this idea in the film which makes it a little more watchable and made me more forgiving of the mistakes the film made along the way. INDIGENOUS does not tell the tale of smart people doing smart things, but it does take some turns I wasn’t expecting and the monster, what we see of it, is pretty cool.

New on DVD and digital download on iTunes and Amazon from the 8 Films To Die For 2015 Series!


Directed by Russell Friedenberg
Written by Russell Friedenberg
Starring Glen Powell, Zane Holtz, Rudy Youngblood, Kiowa Gordon, Johnny Sequoyah, Phil Burke, J. LaRose, Castille Landon, Heather Rae, Christopher Kriesa, Russell Friedenberg, Tsulan Cooper, Jennifer Saba Conrad, Vinnie Duyck
Find out more about this film here and on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

The scope of the story seems to be the main villain in WIND WALKERS as this disjointed story holds a lot of promise, but delivers a jigsaw puzzle of a narrative with a few missing pieces.

Zane Holtz plays Sean a war vet suffering from PTSD after returning home. Sean experiences hallucinations, flashbacks, and walks around like a zombie which causes concern and frustration for those who are happy to see him home such as his horny girlfriend and his free-wheeling friends. When Sean is invited on a hunting trip with a group of friends, weird things start happening and people start disappearing. Has Sean finally cracked or is there some ancient Native American curse at play here? The answers are vague and confusing.

This is a film where people just don’t act like real people. They fail to react to Sean’s weird ways an when they do notice, instead of showing concern for their tormented friend, they try to kill him. There’s a scene where the group decides to split up for no good reason, sending one person to get help while the others stick around in a cabin waiting for help. There’s no reason the group shouldn’t have left all together other than to serve the plot. This film is riddled with this type of scattershot storytelling where it feels like a page of the script is missing every ten or so minutes.

On top of that, there’s no real indication of what the creature is here. We are explained that there are things called Wind Walkers, but no real explanation is given as to what they are. Sometimes they look like zombies. Sometimes vampires. Or is this just the curse fucking with everyone? There are reports of a world-wide virus in one scene spreading around the world, then the same radio station forgets about that and warns people of a coming hurricane. Again, this could be the effects of the virus fucking with everyone (including the viewer), but since this film fails to establish firm ground for the characters (and the viewer) to stand on, it’s all disjointed and confusing.

The cast especially Glen Powell, Rudy Youngblood, and Zane Holtz are all good here. Holtz looks like a young Michael Shannon and shares the actor’s intensity. It’s too bad they are occupying such an off-center story. Without a narrative throughway, one can justify anything can happen, but a story where anything goes just isn’t appealing as the audience likes to know what path they are taking. WIND WALKERS goes wherever the wind takes it to propel the characters along, but that doesn’t necessarily make it an interesting movie.

In select theaters and available On Demand on December 29th from Oscilloscope Laboratories!

BODY (2015)

Directed by Dan Berk & Robert Olsen
Written by Dan Berk & Robert Olsen
Starring Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden, Adam Cornelius, Dan Brennan, Kimberly Flynn, Ian Robinson
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

BODY is a well acted, well structured ball of tension reminiscent of Hitchcockian thrillers of old.

The film begins with a trio of young women home from college and celebrating the night before Christmas Eve together. Holly (Helen Rogers, aka the adorable pixie from “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” segment of V/H/S), Cali (newcomer Alexandra Turshen) and Mel (newcomer Lauren Molina) are winding down and bored, but Cali suggests they do something adventurous and visit her uncle’s abandoned summer home by the lake. When they arrive, they take in the extravagant surroundings until someone shows up (writer/director/actor Larry Fessenden who has been in too many movies to count this year) and they accidentally have a hand in killing him. Not wanting to get into trouble for being at the home without permission, the three girls debate on what to do with the body that lay at the bottom of the steps.

What I love about this film is the infectious likability of the three main leads at the beginning of the film. Not only are these three ladies fantastic actresses, but they are also damn funny in the casual, yet hilarious way they play around with one another in the first half of this film. These are not the dim-witted machete fodder you usually see in horror films. These are likable and fully formed characters who we get to know naturally in the first twenty or so minutes of the film where we follow them around simply having fun and relaxing. Every horror movie has a casual lead in where we are supposed to get to know the characters, but not all of them succeed in making you care simply because the writing is sub par and the acting is usually worse. Here, I wasn’t longing for the horrific stuff to happen as these girls are simply fun to watch.

And that’s what makes the latter 45 minutes of BODY so fascinating. Seeing these once close friends tear into and at each other in order to find a way to cover up this accident is fascinating and almost heartbreaking to see unfold. The ladies are panicked and a little drunk, so the lapses in judgment are acceptable here as they refuse to do the right thing and simply call the cops about the body. Instead, they go to elaborate lengths to cover up their involvement and I was almost screaming at the screen “Nooo!” every wrong step they take along the way simply because these three girls are so likable.

BODY is a film written to be watched on the edge of whatever it is you’re resting on. The acting is top tier and I know that all three actresses (Turshen, Molina, and especially Rogers who has an absolutely unique quality to her) are going to be big names very soon. Larry Fessenden is also top of his game giving a performance unlike anything I’ve seen from him before. Go see BODY. It’s a thriller that will stomp down your spine and have you wincing on the wrong but wildly entertaining turns these three women take.

Advance Review: Recently premiered at A NIGHT OF HORROR Festival from Deadhouse Films!


Directed by Enzo Tedeschi (“Life Imitates”), Bossi Baker (“Hum”), Rebecca Thomson (“I Am Undone”), Justin Harding (“Point of View”), Evan Randall Green (“Dark Origins”), Carmen Falk (“Ravenous”), Goran Spoljaric (“The Priest”), Matthew Goodrich (“Scission”), Nicholas Colla and Daniel Daperis (“Flash”)
Written by Enzo Tedeschi (“Life Imitates”), Bossi Baker (“Hum”), Rebecca Thomson & Claire D'Este (“I Am Undone”), Justin Harding & John Hill (“Point of View”), Evan Randall Green (“Dark Origins”), Carmen Falk (“Ravenous”), Goran Spoljaric (“The Priest”), Matthew Goodrich (“Scission”), Nicholas Colla and Daniel Daperis (“Flash”)
Starring Bianca Bradley (“Life Imitates”), Jessica Collins, Abbe Ertel Magid, Bill Sarkisian (“Hum”), Jane Howard, Karissa Lane, Nicole Simms (“I Am Undone”), Peter Higginson, Jessica Hinkson, Kristy Kennedy ("Point of View”), Jane Elizabeth Barry, Rosie Keogh, Paul Vorrasi, Darrin Davies, Kaylea Caulfield, Erin Fleay (“Dark Origins”), Pauline Grace, Max Tornello, Mark Robert, Bridget Williams, David Macrae (“The Priest”), Lucia Emmerichs, John Flaus, Jessica Gower, Steve Hayden, Emily Wheaton, Rachel Soderstrom, Rhys Thomas, Pod Poduska, Jade Soderstrom, Sequoia Pather (“Scission”)
Find out more about this film here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug

I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or maybe, just maybe, someone is listening to the ol’ Ambush Bug when I’ve been saying I wished there was an outlet for all of those awesome horror short films that play festivals and then end up on Youtube. A NIGHT OF HORRORS is that type of film which compiles the short works of 10 international filmmakers, mostly Australian, and puts them all together in one feature length film. A NIGHT OF HORROR is linked together loosely by segments featuring a woman (WYRMWOOD’s Bianca Bradey) wandering aimlessly though one room to the next which has something to do with the short film that is about to play. While the wraparound sequences aren’t the meatiest, they still do their job competently linking the whole film together.

The first segment, “Hum” is about a woman who hears a low, indistinct hum in her apartment and no matter what she does, she can’t get rid of it. This descent into madness shortie is a decent opener. I love the way this film starts out, with something ominous and mysterious going on. As things get more surreal, things start to get a little weird and I don’t know if I liked the surreal way it ended up, but the trip there was creepy and atmospheric. Director Bossi Baker is patient with this nerve-racking short.

The tone switches to gruesome satire as a plastic surgeon literally falls apart at the seams as she gets ready to operate on her patient in Rebacca Thomson’s “I Am Undone.” This one is a fantastic body horror as the surgeon gorily loses her false bits and pieces and goes to great lengths to get them back. This is a clever and slick little splatterfest.

The best of the bunch in this film is Justin Harding’s “Point of View,” which I would not have liked so much if not for the fact that the filmmakers acknowledge that the short was inspired by DOCTOR WHO’s “Blink” episode. This one follows a mortician fleeing a reanimated corpse of a pregnant woman who only moves when she looks away from it. The hag corpse is incredibly terrifying and the acting is absolutely fantastic. Cleverly edited and pants-shittingly scary, this one had me curling my toes and will most likely cause you to watch it through your fingers.

THE PACK screenwriter Evan Randall Green offers up “Dark Origins” which is reminiscent of the old Australian flick THE UGLY. As in that film, a psychiatrist interviews a patient who believes dark creatures in the periphery are causing the horrors of her life. The short opens ominously as the camera slowly zooms into a playing tape recorder of the first session before skipping to the present session. This one is edited crisply and patiently unfolds until the gripping final second.

Carmen Falk’s “Ravenous” is a simple but horrifying story of a girl trying to take care of her insane grandmother whose appetite seems to be unquenchable. This one is gory as hell and isn’t afraid to go to uncomfortable places. Close ups on meat of various kinds and mouths eating said meats makes things downright stomach churning.

The Clive Barker-esque “The Priest” is a fantastically lurid short about a woman contemplating adultery on a train ride home that seems to be destined for hell. The imagery in the strobe lit train, specifically the titular scar-faced Priest (APOCALYPTIC’s David McCrae), are nightmarish and perverse in this moralistic tale from Goran Spoljaric.

The most elaborate and gorgeous short of the bunch is the waking nightmare called “Scission,” a tale about a lost mother, a dead son, a mourning father, and two little girls attempting to understand it all. Drenched in terrors from the darkest hours of night and fascinating shots of Australia’s unique wildlife, this is a fantastically vivid little horror from Matthew Goodrich.

Finally, a ghost story called “Flash” ends up the film. This one feels a little too truncated, as if it might have made for a better feature length film, but still manages to deliver some potent scares and ghoulish imagery.

As a whole, this is an extremely strong compilation of horror shorts. Varied in tone, every one of them is memorable and creative in their own way. This is labeled as volume one of A NIGHT OF HORROR. Here’s hoping there are many volumes to come.

And finally…here’s yet another short animated film from the indie director of THE ABORTED, THE LAST BATTLEGROUND, THE COMPLEX, and HIGHWAY 91. Sonny Fernandez may never get a chance to direct his own FRIDAY THE 13TH film (but I’m sure it would be pretty awesome if he did), but here’s an animated taste of what you would get if that alternate universe existed. Enjoy FRIDAY THE 13TH: BLOODVILLE!

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. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.

Look for our bi-weekly rambling about random horror films on Poptards and Ain’t It Cool on AICN HORROR’s CANNIBAL HORRORCAST Podcast every other Thursday!

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

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