TEN SHOTS – Short Horror Film

A hunter hidden up in his tree stand chances upon gunmen executing hostages. He jumps into action, using his rifle and limited ammo to save the victims.

 

Ten Shots is a suspenseful short horror film, told with no dialogue at all yet still able to keep up the tension.

TEN SHOTS - Short Horror Film

 

Director: Gordon Shoemaker
Country & year: USA, 2020
Actors: Raymond Sammak, Lindsay Mushett, Brian Rock, Adia Smith-Eriksson, Ben Folts, James Graham, Sarah Lange, Adam Dash Roberts, Steven Vaughn
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11160794/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PELICAN MILKSHAKE – Horror Short

The middle of nowhere seems the perfect location to dispose of a corpse; but the middle of nowhere calls all sorts. Fresh in the act of burying her victim, a killer is caught red handed by a hovering drone. She must chase down the drone and it’s pilot to prevent her secret ever leaving the scene of the crime.

 

Pelican Milkshake is a suspenseful little horror short, with a bit of comedic vibes amongst the tension!

PELICAN MILKSHAKE - Horror Short

 

Director: Marcus Newman
Country & year: Canada, 2020
Actors: Sophie McBean, Roberto Lanzas
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11347410/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Violent Shit 4: Karl the Butcher vs Axe (2010)

Violent Shit 4: Karl the Butcher vs Axe

Less Violence – more Shit.

 

Karl the Butcher has been dead for 25 years, and now spends his time in Hell, chained to a chair in a dark room. He gets a message from Satan that he has to go back to Earth to kill a new potential Butcher (known as Axe). “Make a wish”, Satan says. Karl wants his mask back. A naked blond chick gives him his mask whom he then rips the head off, before he resurrects on the surface. Of course, what else did you expect?

 

It’s now the year 2023 and world has become an apocalyptic wasteland which has been split into gang communities. Among them, we get the pleasure to meet the female trinity gang led by the complete unfunny nutcase Queen Scara, who captures and ties up men, attaches their dick to a tube connected to a “sperminator” that drains them from sperm (of course) which Scara drinks while she gives the worst and obnoxious performances I have probably ever seen from a woman. It’s actually so bad in the most painfully cringy way possible that the witch from Troll 2 is Oscar worthy in comparison. The two other ladies, and rest of the cast for that matter are just as awful, but Scara really sticks out, and this trinity gang has a lot of unnecessary screen time with scenes that really drags on and on. I didn’t even chuckle once, and it’s obvious that they act bad on purpose. It looks like something you would see on a bad unintentionally unfunny YouTube film/skit.

 

Where was I… as soon as Karl the Butcher (played by Andreas Schnaas as usual) emerges to planet Earth, he wastes no time to hunt for Axe and other victims. He kills a random naked chick with some really big, solid boobies before he enters one of the gang communities. The word that Karl the Butcher is back from Hell spreads fast, and the female trinity and some other gangs comes to hunt him down. And yeah, who’s this Axe person, you may ask. He’s just some dude who lives with his lady in the woods (played by co-director Timo Rose). He also wears a mask and has a funny-looking axe which looks like a cheap Halloween prop from some Walmart discount bin, and there’s nothing interesting about him. When he finally stumbles upon Karl, the whole premise takes an unexpected turn when The Butcher and Axe rather decides to team up and become buddies, when they realize that the gangs is out to kill them both.

 

It took two long decades before Andreas Schnaas finally gave us the not-so long anticipated Violent Shit 4: Karl The Butcher vs Axe, co-written and co-directed with Timo Rose. And I have to say I was a bit curios to see what two directors would come up with in the so far final chapter in the Violent Shit series. And it still looks like shit, as it’s probably meant to be, with overall inept directing, and still amateur hour all way through. The biggest sin here is that it’s mostly boring. It’s also the least violent of them all where it’s too far between the killing scenes, or the Violent Shit, if you will. Instead we get less Violence and more Shit with yawn-inducing and terribly written dialogue scenes where the “actors” seem to be bored out of their minds.

 

The film isn’t completely hopeless, though. It has it’s Snchnaas trademark moments with limbs getting ripped apart, static close-ups of beheading, castrations, bad choreographed fighting scenes with goofy, cartoonish sound effects, and of course some fresh nudity. It’s nothing new to see, but better than nothing, I guess. The final act is the most entertaining part with gunfights, silly video game-style fights, and of course when Karl the Butcher drinks some green liquid and becomes the Super Butcher, just like Super Shredder from Turtles 2. And his jacket-up bicep-costume looks something like this. Yes, really.

 

And of you still haven’t gotten enough Violent Shit and the murderous adventures of Karl the Butcher, there actually exists an Italian remake from 2015 of the first film, called Violent Shit: The Movie.

 

Violent Shit 4: Karl the Butcher vs Axe is available on DVD from Synapse Films.

 

Violent Shit 4: Karl The Butcher vs Axe Violent Shit 4: Karl The Butcher vs Axe Violent Shit 4: Karl The Butcher vs Axe

 

Directors: Timo Rose, Andreas Schnaas
Country & year: Germany, 2010
Actors: Andreas Schnaas, Timo Rose, Magdalèna Kalley, Eileen Daly, Eleanor James, Marysia Kay, Marc Rohnstock, Mario Zimmerschitt, Marc Trinkhaus, Timo Fuchs
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt1517076/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WITH PLEASURE – Horror Short

Inside a fruit themed burlesque bar, time and space take a backseat to poetry and proverb.

 

With Pleasure is a weird, sexy and trippy horror short!

WITH PLEASURE - Horror Short

 

Director: Carl Fry, Maxwell Nalevansky
Country & year: Argentina, Australia, Philippines, United States, 2020
Actors: Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Khali McDuff-Sykes, Zoe Graham, Ariel Ash, Ellar Coltrane, Stephanie Hunt, Judy Lee
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt13020336/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Deep House (2021)

Ben and Tina are a young couple from New York, who have a YouTube channel where they are traveling to supposedly haunted houses in Europe while recording their experiences. These urban explorers decides to travel to south-west France in order to seek out a sanatorium that is submerged in an artificial lake, in hopes of getting more likes, views and followers…but upon their arrival to the place they find it crowded with people as it proves to be a popular vacation spot. Not sure exactly what to do next, they meet a local called Pierre, who offers to take them to another place of the lake where he claims that a mansion is located under the water, perfectly preserved and ready to be explored.

 

And so they head along with Pierre, who leads them to the place (which is a fair bit of both driving and walking). Putting in their diving gear and submerging into the lake, they first find some stairs which soon leads to the eerie house. Entering the place through a window on the upper floor, they are both baffled at how well preserved everything seems to be…and they soon find that their presence inside the house awakens something else there.

 

When the French horror duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury have teamed up for another horror movie, we’re ready to watch. While their Leatherface movie from 2017 wasn’t much to write home about, they have released earlier gems like Inside, Livid and Among the Living. And a haunted house underwater? Well, that did indeed sound interesting enough to check out!

 

While this movie did sound suspiciously similar to Josh Malerman’s novel A House at the bottom of a Lake, they are quite different despite sharing a similar premise. While Malerman’s novel was initially more a story about the characters themselves, The Deep House is a full-fledged haunted house story. And it does feel exciting and atmospheric during the first half, when they first enter the underwater building and start exploring. Filming underwater can be quite tricky indeed, but the movie has some excellent underwater shots that are really good. Technically and visually the movie shines, there’s no doubt about that.

 

When the supernatural stuff starts happening, it does unfortunately go downhill and it feels like the story pretty much runs out of oxygen (pun intended). While there are some creepy scenes and nice ideas, especially with what they find in the basement, things are getting a bit too jumbled from thereon and everything turns into a cat ‘n mouse game with what is, ultimately, some not-so scary ghosts. We do, at least, get some explanation for the house’s past and the people who lived there, but it’s a little too vague to make any proper impact, and I wish we could have gotten a bit more flesh on the background story of the house and its inhabitants.

 

Overall, The Deep House starts off very promising but falls a little flat once the supernatural events take place, not really being able to keep a tight grip on the preliminary dread one could feel during the first moments of the film. It’s still okay to watch and a little bit different, but not on par with some of the French duo’s earlier achievements.

 

The Deep House The Deep House The Deep House

 

Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Country & year: France, Belgium, 2021
Actors: Camille Rowe, James Jagger, Eric Savin, Alexis Servaes, Anne Claessens, Carolina Massey, Marie Caffier, Marie Bernard
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11686490/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TUNNEL – Sci-Fi Horror Short

A family is caught in slow-moving traffic with the hope of making it home safely.

 

The Tunnel (Tunnelen) is a tense and creepy sci-fi horror short by Norwegian director André Øvredal (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Autopsy of Jane Doe).

THE TUNNEL - Sci-Fi Horror Short

 

Director: André Øvredal
Country & year: Norway, 2016
Actors: Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Siri Helene Müller, Maria Johanne Dingsøyr-Henriksen, Max Amundsen, Joachim Cossais, Ella Glenton Schjerven
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt4583446/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Night in Soho (2021)

Last Night in Soho Young Ellie is totally in love with the music and fashion from the swinging sixties, and also has a dream of becoming a fashion designer. She also has a gift: she can see ghosts and things that happened in the past, and she frequently sees the ghost her own mother (who killed herself when Ellie was a child). When Ellie gets the chance to study at the London College of Fashion, her grandmother is both happy and worried for her. Ellie, full of hopes and dreams for her future, moves to London but has trouble fitting in with the other students, and especially her bitchy roommate Jocasta. Unhappy with her current residence, she decides to rent a place in Goodge Place, owned by an elderly lady called Ms Collins.

 

On the very first night there, Ellie has a very vivid dream where she is in the 1960’s, at the Café de Paris. Experiencing things through the eyes of a beautiful blonde woman named Sandie, Ellie becomes mesmerized with her and even goes as far as dyeing her hair blonde and changing her fashion style to match Sandie’s. During her dreams (visions) of Sandie’s life during the 60’s, things take a turn when Sandie ends up living a very different life from what she as aiming for.

 

Last Night in Soho is directed by Edgar Wright, an English director previously known for Shaun of the Dead (2004) and a mix of movies in many other genres (like for example Scott Pilgrim vs. the World). In the leading roles we find Thomasin McKenzie as Ellie (Old) and Anya Taylor-Joy as Sandie (The Witch). The result is an enchanting story about a girl feeling nostalgic over the dazzling 60s who ends up getting another taste of that decade than she expected.

 

Nostalgia is a strange little thing. We can find ourselves longing back to the past, mainly focusing and remembering the good things about it and blocking out the bad, glorifying it into something it not necessarily was. Personally, I also find myself taken by “older times”, which had architecture that I find considerably more favorable than a lot of what is being built today. I also long back to the time when music had an actual melody you could hum to, when movies had their own theme songs that was memorable and enjoyable, when 2D animated features was still a thing (it seems to be getting a bit of a comeback these days, though), etc. And yes, now I sound like one of those typical old grannies that complains about how “everything was better before!”…but of course, while one may long for certain things from the past, we all know that not everything was necessarily all that great as a whole. Like Ellie, who is being so taken by a decade she didn’t even grow up in, glamorizing it by focusing on the parts she loves: the music and the fashion, while simultaneously getting her nostalgic views of the 60s cracking into pieces as her visions of Sandie’s past shows her that not everything was necessarily that wonderful after all. Her old landlady Ms Collins (played by Diana Riggs, who passed away in 2020) appears to be a bit baffled as to why Ellie is so smitten with a decade that is her own time rather than Ellie’s, and Ellie starts explaining why she loves it so much. The old landlady simply nods a little and agrees that “the music was better”. In other words: hinting that the decade may not have been just as good as Ellie has pictured it in her own mind.

 

Speaking of the music: I have to think the music usage in this movie is part of what makes it such a gripping experience. Together with the expressive colors, the music just puts a cherry or ten on top of the whole thing, using some of the 60’s songs in a great way. For example You’re my World, being played two times during the movie (first the original performed by Cilla Black, and a wonderful rendition sung by Anya Talor-Joy (Sandie) herself during a dramatically dazzling scene in the final parts of the movie). There’s also a scene with Sandie Shaw’s Puppet on a String, which was UK’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967 (and won), which is using the song’s rather playful and jolly tone to portray something that isn’t….quite so jolly. There’s a lot more, of course, and I have to admit it’s been quite a while since I watched a movie (on the big screen) that had both visuals and a soundtrack so enchanting!

 

Overall, we both truly enjoyed Last Night in Soho. It’s a movie that has both style and substance, with a little bit of Suspiria and Dario Argento, and a good dash of the Swinging Sixties. Also, the movie was filmed on location in London, so that’s another plus from me (yeah…there was a time when movies were filmed on actual locations and not just in a green screen room. Imagine that!)

 

Last Night in Soho Last Night in Soho Last Night in Soho

 

Director: Edgar Wright
Country & year: UK, 2021
Actors: Thomasin McKenzie, Aimee Cassettari, Rita Tushingham, Colin Mace, Michael Ajao, Synnove Karlsen, Jessie Mei Li, Kassius Nelson, Rebecca Harrod
Alan Mahon, Connor Calland, Pauline McLynn, Josh Zaré, Terence Stamp
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt9639470/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LANE 9 – Horror Short Film

A small town is turned upside when a transient evil takes up residence in lane 9 of the local bowling alley.

 

Lane 9 is a fun Halloween horror short set in a bowling alley!

LANE 9 - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Jessica Valentine, Richard Valentine
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Odette Galbally, Luke Schuck, Andrew Tribolini
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt10751514/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antlers (2021)

A middle school teacher, Julia, becomes interested in the life and well-being of one of her students. He is harboring a dark secret, one that will lead to terrifying encounters with a legendary ancestral creature.

 

Antlers is based on Nick Antosca’s short story The Quiet Boy, a story that I truly enjoyed…not to mention that I also find myself intrigued by the mythology surrounding the Wendigo, which this story could be considered a modern take on. Anyway: needless to say, I got a little bit hyped up for this movie…and it was also delayed twice due to Covid-19 (originally it was supposed to be released in April 2020). So, after finally being able to see the movie on the big screen, did it live up to the hype? Well…so far, people’s opinions of it are quite mixed, and I can see why.

 

First of all, there’s been more than a few changes to the original story. Some of these changes were obviously made to flesh out the teacher character by adding a trauma of her own, with flashbacks and descriptions of how she and her brother grew up in a home of abuse. I guess this was made in order to clarify why she becomes so taken by Lucas, and how she wants to save him from growing up under similar circumstances. The depiction of just how damaged she is, by subtle hints such as her standing in the store looking at the liquor bottles and always forcing herself to not buy one, is a nice touch. Julia’s childhood trauma is defined in a sufficient way without taking up too much of the story and screentime.

 

Now, since this movie is based on a short story it’s kind of hard to write a review without making comparisons, but I’ll try to keep away from any major spoilers when doing so. In the original story, it’s not revealed until much later why Lucas is living under such conditions, and why he’s doing the things he does. This gives everything a chance to build up with some mystery and suspense. In the movie, however, there’s a very big change: in the very first moments of the movie, we meet Frank (Lucas’s father) who is making meth inside a cave where he and his companion encounters the malevolent spirit, and thus Frank becomes affected. This also changes a major factor in the original story. This does (in my opinion) subtract a bit from the actual horror of the original story, where the movie plays more upon a monster coming to get you, rather than how poverty and desperation can make people bring out the monsters. Oh well…all that aside, the changes in plot doesn’t outright destroy or damage the movie, it’s just a bit different from the original story which, in my opinion, feels both darker and scarier.

 

As for the killing scenes and the horror of how Frank and Lucas’s brother are transformed into hungry and malevolent beasts, there’s nothing to complain about here. There are close-ups of heavily mutilated corpses and gruesomeness all around. Guillermo del Toro as producer for this movie comes as not much of a surprise, as dark fairytales with monsters is kinda his forté. And in the movie’s final moments, when we get to see the wendigo monster in its fully glory, you can easily see his fingerprints all over the place. It’s one of the movie’s definite highlights.

 

If you have read the story (which I recommend, despite there being more than a few changes in the movie), you’ll know that this is not a fast-paced horror story. Overall, I think that Antlers doesn’t really match the darkness and horror of the original story, and there are a few instances where it moves along a little too slowly for its own good. However, it delivers grim and gruesome scenes, some very effective and gory ones too. Visually, it looks great, and the wendigo-monster is awesome. So while I prefer how the story unfolds in The Quiet Boy, I still enjoyed how Antlers turned out.

 

Antlers

 

Director: Scott Cooper
Country & year: USA, 2021
Actors: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Rory Cochrane, Amy Madigan, Sawyer Jones, Cody Davis, Lyla Marlow, Jesse Downs, Arlo Hajdu, Dorian Kingi, Ken Kramer
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt7740510/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cat in the Brain (1990)

Cat in the BrainThe film opens with Dr. Lucio Fulci sitting in his deep, almost trance-like concentration as he writes down a series of murder scenes for his new, gory horror film. As he groans like Freddy Krueger while he writes, we hear his inner voice describing what to expect for the next 90 minutes:

 

A woman hacked to death with an axe … her face cleaved in half…another strangled… yet another hanged… someone chopped to bits by a chainsaaaw … or drowned in boiling water, or throat torn out by a maddened cat! Buried alive! Tortured! Scarred! Stabbed! Sawed in two! Crucified! Decapitated…

 

There’s no room for any imagination here, so we dive right into a bizarre, messy scene where we see some cats chewing on a big, mushy brain. The cats are clearly prop effects since they obviously didn’t find one, single cat who would eat that nasty-looking shit. But if you’re still hungry, we’re only one minute into the film, and this is just an appetizer.

 

Then we see some guy in a basement, cutting a fresh corpse to pieces with a chainsaw while we hear classic music playing. He makes some of the flesh into a nice steak that he eats together with some red wine, while he watches some weird fetish porn on TV. The rest of the corpse gets thrown to the pigs. And what we just witnessed was Lucio Fulci transferring his latest draft of the screenplay into his new cinematic masterpiece. A regular day in Fulci land, in other words, and business as usual. Now it’s time for lunch.

 

And as you have probably figured out by now, Lucio Fulci plays himself as the aging, legendary “Godfather of Gore” who shows no sign of slowing down, physically, at least. But his mind, however, seems to loosing its grips as he begins to see morbid visions from his films, left and right. He can’t suddenly enjoy meat anymore, as he gets flashbacks from his own films. Then his neighbour turns into a madman soaked in blood who threatens him with his chainsaw, and he also soon starts witnessing women getting brutally killed.

 

A Cat in the Brain

 

We soon learn that all of this is just hallucinations and mind-games, carefully orchestrated by his shady psychiatrist, Egon Schwarz, who hypnotizes Fulci to make him believe that he’s gotten influenced by his own films to kill people.  Why, you ask? It’s too easy to guess, and what could be a decent plot-twist, is already wasted thirty minutes in.

 

But we’re not first and foremost watching a Fulci flick for the plot, are we…  we’re here for the gore, the juicy stuff, and that’s what you get. Limbs and heads gets sawed off, a head gets melted in a microwave, tongues get ripped off, there’s Hitchcock-style stabbing, and of course one of Lucio Fulcis’s trademark with slimy corpses with maggots, and much more. We also have several scenes with some sleazy nudity, and a Nazi orgy scene if the shock values already wasn’t enough. It’s complete and utter madness. But if you’re looking for some scares, just forget about it. The tone here is completely off with some eye-rolling killing scenes with “In the Hall of the Mountain King” playing on block-flute. It’s a comedy, I know. But still…

 

This is far from the same level as his earlier films, for sure, and considering that this was one of his final films and way past the golden era of Italian horror films, and produced by a TV company, it should be no surprise. There’s no atmosphere here, no time for any stylish visuals, and hardly no time to write a script. Fulci’s script for the film was on 49 pages with no dialogues, and consisted of descriptions of bodily mutilations/imagery and sound effects. So there you have it. It’s fast and cheap and out of control, with a more and more confused Lucio Fulci wandering from the next gory scenario to the other to show as much blood and guts as possible. And we are as puzzled as he is, for the most part. And as sloppy the film is on the technical aspects, and not to mention the schlocky acting, it’s still one of Fulci’s truly entertaining films with a lot of awesome and fun moments.  Fulci also seemed to have a blast playing himself in his own world of insanity, and makes himself an amusing character to watch.

 

A Cat in the Brain is available both on DVD and Blu-ray from Grindhouse Releasing and 88 Films.

 

A Cat in the Brain A Cat in the Brain A Cat in the Brain

 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: Un gatto nel cervello
Country & year: Italy, 1990
Actors: Lucio Fulci, Brett Halsey, Ria De Simone, David L. Thompson, Sacha Darwin, Jeoffrey Kennedy, Robert Egon, Malisa Longo, Shilett Angel, Paola Cozzo, Adriana Russo, Luciana Ottaviani, Paul Muller
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0099637/

 

 

Tom Ghoul