Matt Goes To The Movies 2020

Hey readers and friends, welcome back to Rotten Ink and the first update of 2021. I am sure so many of you are, like me, and glad to have 2020 in the rearview mirror as the coronavirus crisis that has effected the whole world has people very scared and also shut down movie theaters to protect the public and slowdown the spread. And that while that was the right thing to do, it also made me very sad as going to the cinema has always been my time to unwind from stress of work and the world. Plus sadly many of the films that were set for release got pulled from the lineup with some getting new dates and others still waiting. But even with that major set back, 2020 still had its fair share of some amazing films released to the masses to enjoy when we could. And I was able to enjoy these movies at some great theaters like Cinemark and Englewood Cinema. So while many films slated for 2020 got pushed back a year or sadly went to the soulless streaming sites, the good old theater still brought me some amazing joys, and nothing, and I mean nothing, will take the place of watching a movie in the theater! So let’s find our seats, social distance from each other and talk movies here at the Rotten Ink Theater and please make sure in 2021 to support all the theaters in your town as well as drive-in’s as they are the true way of watching films. I want to also stress that this year the movie industry not only had to depend on the Box Office numbers of America but as well those of the Foreign Markets and the sales of physical and digital media to turn profits and bring money in.

Well I think we all needed a good laugh in 2020, so what better way to get a belly laugh than seeing a good old Comedy film in the theater…and well I saw one and it was really good but also very depressing much like 2020!

# 1

Cassie Thomas is a 30-year-old woman who dropped out of medical school and now works at a coffee shop and still lives with her parents. She has a life that no one knows about as at night she goes to bars and acts extremely drunk and has sleazy men try to take advantage of her in order to put them in their places. You see, she dropped out of medical school because her best friend Nina was raped and no one believed her…now when the boys of medical school are back enjoying their lives it’s time for Cassie to get her revenge. This is a fantastic dark comedy-drama-thriller with a dash of horror movie that will leave you laughing, happy, angry and sad all at the same time as it plays with your emotions. Actress Carey Mulligan, who plays Cassie Thomas, is fantastic as the revenge-seeking woman who is righting so many wrongs that were done to her friend, and I found myself cheering for her all the way. The film has an amazing cast with such names as Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Molly Shannon and Alison Brie, all being perfect in their roles. The film was released on Christmas during the pandemic and brought in (as of the date of this posting) $1,094,640.00 for Focus Features at the American Box Office. And it’s a shame more people didn’t go and see this film as it really good and one I cannot wait to own on home media when released.

Seeing action films in the theater was a bust this year thanks to this cursed virus crisis, but I can at least say that I was able to see at least one action film in the cinema and best of all it starred an icon of action films, Jackie Chan! So let’s talk about this film.

# 1

A man and his wife are being kidnapped by a paid mercenary group lead by a man who wants answers about his father’s lost fortune, but unlucky for them security group Vanguard is on the case and save their lives! But when they go after the couple’s daughter, Vanguard must travel to other nations and stop them from finding the lost money as they want to buy a weapon of mass destruction to get revenge on the Americans that killed the man’s father. This is a fun fast Chinese action film that stars Jackie Chan, who is as fantastic as ever and shows that he still is an action superstar at his age. The film is filled with lots of over the top action and some great martial arts fighting. The only downside is some of the CGI looks a little bad and awkward in spots. The film came out during the pandemic and did okay for Gravitas Ventures at the American Box Office bringing in $793,525.00 on an unknown budget. If you like Jackie Chan films that feel like they could have been a direct to DVD release in the early 2000’s, give this one a watch. I really enjoyed this film, and it was a great film to see on the big screen on Thanksgiving week.

Let’s next go with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy films I saw this year at the theater, and again I must stress that sadly due to the pandemic, I did not get to see many films from these genres as most films have been yanked off the release schedule, but with that in mind, let’s take a look at the ones I did get to enjoy on the big screen.

# 3

Captain Natalie Artemis is an Army Ranger and is leading her team to investigate a missing convoy, but after a freak lighting storm they find themselves in another world that is filled with giant monsters who all want them dead! And dead they all become until only Natalie is left and alongside a warrior from that world who does not speak her language, they together must find a way to survive and return Natalie to her own world as well as save this one from the destruction of giant monsters. This film is based on the popular Capcom video game series and was even has ties to Toho the studio behind the Godzilla and other classic Kaiju films. Milla Jovovich plays Natalie and Tony Jaa plays Hunter, her newly made friend, and both do a great job and help bring this scifi-action-fantasy film alive. I really enjoyed this film on the big screen with my only major issue being the fast cut jerky fight scenes as the monsters and acting is well done for this type of film. The film has done pretty well at the USA Box Office during the virus time bringing in $4,216,000.00 on a budget of $60 million at this time of posting as the film is still in theaters. If you like movies about giant monsters and or enjoy the game series, check this one out. I will probably buy this one once out on home media.

# 2

The Protagonist is a member of the CIA who finds himself involved in a strange world altering plot that has events not only happening forward but also in rewind. One mad man plans on ending the world with this tech and he must find away to stop it, along the way making allies and trying to wrap his mind around what the hell is really going on! That is the quickest and easiest way to sum up the plot to this mega budget Christopher Nolen scifi-action-spy thriller film that was used to kick off the big movies are back in cinema campaign. And sadly, the film did not set the numbers the studio was looking for and this made it so many films planned for later in the year got moved from 2020 to 2021 and beyond…and that’s a shame as I also feel that this was the wrong choice to bank all that decisions on as the film was a fun popcorn movie, but was hardly the amazing mind mess flick that Nolan in known for and in fact at times the dialogue was just plan bad! Now I need to stress that I enjoyed this film and the acting was great as John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Dimple Kapadia and Elizabeth Debicki are all fantastic in their roles, it’s just the over all presentation was a little lacking to make it a major blockbuster, and keep in mind I did enjoy the film. The film did good considering the virus crisis at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers bringing in $57,909,000.00 on an over blown budget of $200 million. Please note, however, that Warner Brothers has been a bit deliberately vague about the numbers. Tenet is a fun watch but not the mega hit that I think he or Warner Brothers thought it would be.

# 1

Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan are now middle aged men whose band Wyld Stallyns was supposed to change the world with their music, but thus far it has not happened and their music career has tumbled and they are playing at small dive bars and family weddings and their CDs are in discount bins! Then things get worse when they find out their marriages to the Princesses are on the rocks and they get a visit to the future and find out they have to write the perfect song that will save time and space as a massive rift in time has opened and is causing chaos and people to be placed out of time! And their biggest fans, their daughters, are trying to figure out a way to help their dads create the song that will bring the world together. This third film in the Bill & Ted series is a fantastic follow up that delivers the laughs and classic delivery that we all love about the characters. Also it brings classic characters like Death, Missy and Ted’s Father back as well as delivers new ones like Kelly who is Rufus’s Daughter, killer robot Dennis Caleb McCoy and Billie & Thea, the duo’s daughters! Hands down this was one of the films I had the most fun watching in a theater and delivered pure entertainment all the way through. The film was released to limited screens during the soft re-openings of theaters and did pretty well for Orion Pictures bringing in at the US Box Office $3,439,660.00 on a budget of $25 million. I for one hope that we get a fourth film in the series as Bill & Ted are two silly 80’s cinema icons we need more of in our lives. And of course I got this on DVD when released.

So we are going to take a look at super hero films now. It’s crazy as 2020 was supposed to have Black Widow, The Eternals, Morbius and Venom 2 all bringing action to the cinemas…now they are all slated for this year (2021) and 2022. But with that let’s talk the super hero films I saw this year at the cinema.

# 3

Max Lord is a man who wants it, all not just for himself but for all of you, as he is a TV salesman who is selling you oil and big dreams, but in reality he is a failure who, after conning his way into getting a wish stone, is now a evil wish granting power hungry business man who has made a big mistake as making himself and the stone become one. But before Max gets his hands on the stone, Diana Prince along with her co-worker Barbara Minerva at the museum make wishes on the stone as a joke that ends up turning Barbara into the Cheetah and Diana gets her love Steve Trevor back…but they all learn that making wishes comes with a price as to get what you want you lose something super important to you as well. With the world in chaos thanks to Max and his wishes, Diana must become Wonder Woman and try to set the world right again. If you readers remember back in 2017, the first Wonder Woman took my # 1 spot for superhero films, well sadly the sequel finds its self in last place. The film was a fun watch at the theater and was a total popcorn flick, but the downside to the film is Diana is barely Wonder Woman in the film as much of the film is spent on her and Steve and their love…and it has a long runtime and could have been cut by a good 20 minutes or so. The film has done well for the pandemic Box Office in the US as of the time of this posting it has brought in $16,700,000.00 on a budget of $200 million for Warner Brothers. Again, Warner Brothers has been a little vague about their numbers. While not a perfect superhero film, it was a fun theater watch and Gal Gadot is the perfect Wonder Woman and it as well has an amazing cast with names like Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright and Lynda Carter.

# 2

Danni Moonstar finds herself in a hospital for mutants after her tribe was killed by a “tornado”, and Dr. Cecilia Reyes is there to try and help her learn what her powers are and how to control them. While in care, she meets the fellow patients Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), Illyana Rasputin (Magik), Bobby da Costa (Sunspot) and Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) and even she finds love with Rahne….but things get bad when all the young mutants fears are used against them and what was supposed to be a place to help them is really a prison that keeps them inside! Can Danni and her new friends over come the darkness? Watch this final film in the Fox X-Men movies and find out! This was a fun superhero film that had lots of elements of horror in it and has a fantastic cast of young stars like Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Blu Hunt and Charlie Heaton to name a few. The film was released at the start of main theater chains limited capacity re-openings and did what it could for Disney at the US Box Office brining in $23,851,511.00 on a budget of $67 million, making it a good start for Disney and movies in general to return to the cinema. While not a perfect film, it really was an entertaining one that was a blast to see on the big screen.

# 1

Harley Quinn has split from The Joker and her life is going out of control, and worse her actions of the past are catching up with her and many people she has wronged want revenge including crime lord Black Mask. At one of Black Mask’s clubs, Black Canary sings and she ends ups working secretly with Gotham cop Renee Montoya who wants to bring a case against Black Mask….but also on the loose is Huntress, a woman who is going around killing a crime family with arrows! Not to even mention that crazed serial killer Victor Zsasz is on Black Mask’s payroll! And when a young pickpocket girl steals a diamond from Black Mask that is the key to a massive amount of money, the ladies have to stand their ground and fight for their lives as the crime lord is not happy and has an army ready to bring him their heads! This superhero comedy film was super well done and the humor throughout worked really well, not to even mention the acting being well done with Margot Robbie being amazing as Harley Quinn as always, and to me, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress steals the show as her awkwardness is charming. I grew up reading Batman comic and seeing Black Mask and Zsasz as the main bad guys in a movie was really cool. The film did oddly bad at the US Box Office for Warner Brothers only bringing in $84,158,461.00 on a budget of $84.5 million. And overseas it did another $117,700,000.00 showing that it did well for itself. This was a great superhero movie and once more in my opinion shows that DC is doing all the right things to get their movies back on track. Worth owning on home media, and one I did buy when released.

So as you long time readers know, horror is my favorite genre of films and in the short time the cinemas was open in 2020, I did get to see my fair share of them sitting in my reclining chair with some popcorn to munch on listening to the fear of those around me grow every second as the suspense on the big screen kept going along. So sit back in your chair and grab some more popcorn as it’s time to talk….

# 15

Kate Mandell takes the job of being the live-in nanny for the Fairchild children (Flora and Miles) who were orphaned at a young age but come from a family with money. At first she thinks she is going to love this job as she and 7-Year old Flora hit it off and the mansion is very lovely. But something is very odd as the maid of the family Mrs. Grose is very cold and Miles comes off as a psychopath…not to mention Kate begins to hear and see things! Now it’s up to Kate to figure out what’s real, what’s in her mind and if she herself is the true psychopath…or is it the ghosts of the mansion. This atmospheric horror movie is based on the novel “Turn Of The Screw” by Henry James and delivers a none explained and lackluster ending that will surely leave a bad taste in most viewers’ mouths, and the blah ending is why the film is ranking so low on my list. The acting in the film is fantastic with Mackenzie Davis as Kate being the true standout. The film dis so-so for Universal at the American Box Office bringing in $15,472,775.00 on a budget of $14 million. While this film is not for everyone, the slow burn horror, the creepy atmosphere and good acting are reason why you should check it out, but be prepared to be letdown by the film’s ending.

# 14

Lily is a young lady who along with her mother move in with Adam Harrison and his three sons and she has a hard time at school after an accident happens in class that leaves her the butt of many jokes. While feeling down and out, she meets three new friends Frankie, Lourdes and Tabby who invite her to join their witches’ coven, and the four become super close and even use their spells to try and better their town and school. But things turn bad when a jerky guy from school they used a spell on ends up dead, and her friends blame Lily who used her magic on him as she had a crush and the friends disband the coven and distance themselves from Lily…and worse Lily finds out that she is not who she thinks she is and some evil power wants her witchcraft abilities…what is a young witch to do…well call upon her friends of course! This sequel to the 1996 film The Craft was produced by Blumhouse and was scheduled for a full theatrical release before the virus shut down theaters, causing it to be VOD and shown at small theaters via private events (the latter is how I saw it). The film is well cast with Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon, Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna all doing great as the new witches, and the only main complaint I have is that they drained the film of all horror and it feels more like a CW teen show. While not a great sequel to the cult classic, it was a fun watch in the theater the way it was meant to be seen…I am looking at you Sony and Blumhouse.

# 13

A small snowy mountain town is being rocked by terrible murders of females and it’s started talks among town people of a serial killer or a werewolf being on the loose! And worse officer John Marshall is on the case and is dealing with a ton of other issues that includes being a recovering alcoholic, a bad divorce, a strained relationship with his daughter, anger management issues and his father who is the Sheriff will not retire even though he is having bad heart issues! The bodies keep piling up as the victims keep getting more and more mutilated and the cops are clueless! And when John’s daughter is targeted as a victim for the killer, he sees that it’s a massive werewolf or is it? This horror comedy was a fun watch in the theater and the werewolf looks great as do the gore effects when used. Jim Cummings plays John Marshall as well as wrote and directed the film and does a pretty good job in all three roles and actors like Chloe East, Riki Lindhome and the late Robert Forster are all great in their roles. The downside of the film for me is the big reveal at the end of who the werewolf is as I felt it was a little flat, but did not fully drag the film down. I also was happy that this film was released in limited theaters in October as it was great to see a new horror flick in the theater just in time for Halloween. The film brought in $185,026.00 at the US Box Office for Orion Pictures on a small budget making it a win for them during this terrible time. This is one that I will pick up on DVD when released as I would like to see it again and see if I can pick up on clues that lead to whom the werewolf is.

# 12

Marquis Woods and his family take their plane to the funeral of his father that is in the Appalachia area, when a storm causes them to crash in the woods. When Marquis awakens, he finds himself with a terrible foot injury and in a bed in an attic being cared for by Ms. Eloise and her husband Earl and hulking farmhand Lewis all who seem to be keeping him not only as a patient but also as a prisoner! And when trying to escape Marquis soon finds these people are into dark magic and he must find a way to escape, find his family and escape the farm all before the red moon as these wicked people have major plans for him. This horror thriller was a fun watch at the cinema and had some good thrilling moments as well as some good effects with one of a massive nail in a character’s foot being really well done. Actor Omari Hardwick is great as Marquis, with actress Loretta Devine doing an amazing job at playing Ms. Eloise and Lorraine Burroughs who plays Veora Woods is beautiful. The film was released on VOD and shown at select theaters and did okay given when released for Paramount Pictures bring in $500,104.00 on an unknown budget. It’s worth a watch for horror fans who enjoy black magic and voodoo style films, and is one I bought when released on home media.

# 11

A house on Reyburn has been the site of many murders since a mother returning from Japan came home and killed her whole family and then herself! The real estate agent who tried to sell the house after the killings as well follows the same path, and lastly an older couple who moved in as well find themselves the victims of death. After her husband passed away from cancer, single mom and cop Detective Muldoon gets wrapped up in a town’s past case that had driven her new partner, Detective Goodman’s last partner, crazy…and she herself starts to lose her mind as the deeper she digs the more madness she uncovers and then she starts to see things including the evil spirit of Kayako Saeki who has marked her with the curse as she made the mistake of entering the home of murder. Now she must do what she can in order save her life and end this curse once and for all. This new reboot to The Grudge series takes place at the same time as the 2004 film and follows how the curse spreads, and is the first in the series to get a R rating. The film is filled with lots of mean spirited deaths and brings some good and solid special effects. This fright flick also brings some great actors like Lin Shaye, John Cho and William Sadler in roles of the damned. The film did pretty well for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $21,221,803.00 on a budget of $10 million, showing that the series might have some legs left on it. Trashed by critics this super natural horror movie is one you should make your own mind up on. Worth owning on home media if you have the rest of the series already.

# 10

Five strangers have been selected to win a contest to stay on Fantasy Island, a place that is said to grant all your fantasies! Gwen Olsen is granted to have the family she always wanted, Melanie Cole wants revenge on her high school bully, Patrick Sullivan who wants to be a war hero like his father and stepbrothers JD and Brax who just want to live large and have it all! And they meet Mr. Roarke and his assistant Julia who welcome them and let them know their fantasies will start very soon. But when the fantasies start, they are pleasant and magical and then quickly take a sinister turn as murder and torment is on the minds of those in the fantasy. Now the five winners must come together and survive this twisted island and all its secrets…but whose fantasy are they really in as this horror thriller takes a few twists. This film, while flawed, was a fun watch at the theater and reminded me of the early 2000’s released horror movies. The acting is pretty well done with Maggie Q, Michael Pena and Lucy Hale being the standouts. The film did pretty well for Sony at the American Box Office bringing in $26,441,782.00 on a budget of $7 million. While not a perfect film and at times not a full horror movie, this is one silly Blumhouse release that’s good for a late night watch.

# 9

Liza is attacked and suffers a massive head injury during a random home invasion while her husband Sean is at work, all in front of her son Jude who stops speaking after witnessing it. So to try and help both of them heal, Sean rents a house in the woods on the old Heelshire’s estate and things start to look up when Jude finds the doll Brahms buried in the woods and takes him home as his new friend. But things get worse when Jude starts even acting more odd and strange thing happen at the home as the young man blames them on doll Brahms who he is becoming super attached to and even helps him to start talking again. But soon Liza and Sean find out that something is very wrong with Brahms and they must try and save their son’s soul as this evil doll wants a new vessel for evil. This follow up to the 2016 film does a pretty good job adding a new chapter to the story of the evil doll Brahms, but this time around there is no killer in the walls, it really is the doll calling all the shots…and it appears it has all along. The film is not that overly bloody or gory but does pack in a few scares making it a good PG-13 horror film experience. The film did not do well at all for STX Entertainment at the US box office only bringing in $12,611,536.00 on a budget of $10 million, and I am sure this sadly will mark the end of The Boy movies series.

# 8

Rachel Hunter’s life is falling apart as she is getting a divorce, her hair salon has closed and her son is doing his best to deal with all the drama that is going on around him, but while driving him to school, they have a road incident with Tom Cooper who is on the run after killing his ex-wife and her new boyfriend and now wants to show Rachel the meaning of having a bad day as well as teach her respect! So starts a game of life and death on the road as Rachel and all those she cares about are now in the sights of a manic who has a real bad case of road rage. This horror thriller is a great example of how a simple bad interaction or mistake on the road can lead to something bigger and deadlier as you never know who it is that is raging out. Russell Crowe is creepy and great as Tom Cooper a psychopath who has lost it all and now wants to ruin the lives of anyone who crosses him. Caren Pistorius is also great as Rachel, a mom who his pushed to the limits and finds away to fight back. The film was released at theaters right at the slow start of theater re-openings during the virus crisis and did okay for Solstice Studios bringing in $20,831,465.00 on a budget of $33 million. If you like movies set with murder on the roads that has lots of thriller moments, this one is a heck of a fun ride.

# 7

Amanda and her friends are on a bridge and try an urban legend she heard of to summon an entity called the Empty Man, and to their horror, it works! The “rules” of the legend are that you hear him on day one, on day two you see him and day three he gets you! Amanda goes missing and family friend and ex-cop James Lasombra goes looking for her and uncovers a trail of suicide, unknown people, a cult, a Himalayan creature and events of the past. The Empty Man is real and has followers and with Amanda missing and in danger, James must enter the darkness of our world to unravel the Empty Man and his meaning. This supernatural horror movie is based on the comic by Boom Studios and adds in elements of film noir and the X-Files. Actor James Badge Dale is great as James Lasombra. Sasha Frolova who plays Amanda is also great and has a Louise Brooks look to her. The film did well at the US box office for 20th Century during the virus times bring in $2,992,403.00 on an unknown budget. Worth watching if you like supernatural horror done a little different and has a cool looking monster, bought on media when released.

# 6

Oliver is a young autistic boy who uses his cell phone to communicate and spends most of his time watching episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants as he does not have any friends and the one he did have now picks on him at school. One night a storybook keeps appearing on his cellphone called “Misunderstood Monsters” about a monster named Larry who is looking for a friend and has been watching the boy from his phone screen, and after reading part of the book, the lights in the house go out and Larry comes looking for his new friend! Now Oliver’s mom and dad are up against a monster from another dimension that wants their son to come back to his world and become his friend for life. But what can they do to stop a creature that can travel via screens of electrical devices? This was a super fun PG-13 horror film that has a good storyline, interesting characters and a cool monster that, while bad, does what he does cause he is lonely. Plus it really holds an urban legend, storybook feel and you cant go wrong with a monster named Larry. The film did pretty well for Focus Features during the virus crisis at the American box office bringing in $9,505,540.00 on a budget of $9 million. This is one I hope gets a sequel or at least a comic book mini series and will buy when released on home media.

# 5

Charlie and Mina are business partners who decided to rent a massive house in the middle of nowhere that has a great view of the ocean. Josh is Mina’s boyfriend and Charlie’s brother while Michelle is Charlie’s wife and the house is perfect besides the creepy, racist caretaker of the place. But after a night of drinking and drugs, Mina and Charlie end up sleeping together and to make things worse they find a camera that taped the whole event and they think that the caretaker watched and has it on tape! After Mina confronts him about it, as she don’t want her boyfriend to find out, an accident happens and the group of friends must figure out what to do as someone else was responsible for the cameras that has way more sinister attentions then just being a pervert! This is a really good indie thriller film that is mixed with a slasher and is well cast as Sheila Vand is fantastic as Mina and Alison Brie is perfect as the wife Michelle who you find yourself cheering for to survive. The masked nameless killer is interesting and seems to pick who to murder by random as by the end it appears that he has his cameras set up in many different rental properties. The film did well for IFC at the US Box Office given it was an indie film being shown on limited screens and drive-ins as it brought in $1,635,175.00 on a small budget. The Rental was a fun summer release and was the first movie I saw in the theater after the shutdown and lockdowns due to the virus and is a film I own on DVD and is one you should check out if you enjoy a good slow burn Horror Movie.

# 4

Norah Price works for Titan Industries many miles underwater when her station blows up and causes major damage with very few survivors. And when all those who are left meet up, they soon have to make a very dangerous decision as the station is about to collapse on itself and they must suit up and walk the ocean floor to get to a nearby rig that has escape pods. But as they make their escape, they soon find they are not alone as humanoid man-eating creatures are hunting them down one by one, and in the end, the humanoid creatures are they least of her worries as something bigger and badder waits them! This underwater horror film delivers a creepy and hopeless feeling watching experience and all the characters are likable with Norah being the most likable. I have to say Kristen Stewart does a great job in the role. If you like giant underwater monsters, killer fish humanoids and grim moments of horror dread this one is for you! Sadly this film did not do great for 20th Century Fox bringing in the low number of $17,291,078.00 on a budget of around $80 million. If you like horror movies like DeepStar Six or Leviathan, then do yourself a favor and give it a watch, worth owning on home media.

# 3

Gretel and her young brother Hansel has been chased away by their mother as time in their small village is very rough, as it appears the land has been cursed. Gretel takes her brother and runs into the woods and tired, cold and hungry, they run into a Huntsman who feeds them and draws them a map to a family that could house them. Along the journey, they find a house with a table filled with tons of food and they are invited in by the owner a creepy old woman to eat and find shelter, but things are to good to be true and the kids start feeling odd as the old woman truly enters their lives. And when Gretel is taken under the old woman’s wing to become a witch of darkness, things go really bad when Gretel is told she must eat Hansel to become a true powerful witch and the young woman finds out the old lady is a witch who kills and eats children. Now its up to Gretel to save herself and her brother from evil and change the course of their lives forever! This creepy fairy tale movie is filled with creepy moments, great atmosphere and is a sold PG-13 Horror Movie watch that is filled with blood and even guts. The film is well acted and reminded me of a good 70’s style British horror movie. The film did okay at the American Box Office bringing in $15,347,654.00 on a budget of $5 million. This is one film I feel that is worth owning on home media and I hope this spawns a whole dark fairy tale horror universe. It’s one I bought on home media when released as I will watch again.

# 2

Teenager Millie Kessler is having a very rough time as her father passed away a year ago, her mother has been drinking, her older sister has wrapped herself up in her job as a cop and worse kids at school bully her! Well one day after a school football game as she waits for her passed out mother to pick her up she is killed by the town’s serial killer The Blissfield Butcher who is using a special knife that causes them to switch bodies the next morning! So now Millie is in the body of the Butcher who is being tracked down by the police and The Butcher is inside Millie and is killing kids and teachers at the school, and worse Millie has only until midnight to stab The Butcher to switch back into her body, and he doesn’t want to switch back. This horror comedy was done by the team behind the “Happy Death Day” series and is a funny and bloody good watch, not to mention the characters are fantastic and casting is well done with Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn being top notch. The film was way bloodier then I expected and I for one hope for a sequel or even a crossover with Happy Death Day. The film did well during the virus crisis at the US Box Office bringing in $8,702,060.00 on a budget of $6 million. I plan on buying this when released on home media and really enjoyed this one lots.

# 1

Cecilia Kass is in a very abusive relationship with scientist Adrian Griffin and with help of her sister Emily she is able to escape his mansion that is more like a compound! Free from his abuse, she lives with her cop friend James and his teenage daughter Sydney, but is paranoid that Adrian will find her…that is until she gets the news that he is dead by committing suicide and has left her tons of money as a way to say sorry for the bad years they spent together. But this money comes with a price as strange things start happening all around her, and while her friends think she is losing her mind, she knows that an invisible person is tormenting her and trying to drive her crazy and she thinks its Adrian who has faked his suicide and found a way to become an Invisible Man…now with crimes being committed and Cecilia being set up she must fight for her life and prove she is not crazy and that Adrian is not dead and is the true monster she knows he is. This modern take on the classic Universal Monster is a great start for the Blumhouse team up and does a fantastic job of bring The Invisible Man to a new generation of Monster Kids and moviegoers. The film is Rated R and has lots of scares and some shocking murders and delivers a great watch featuring a classic movie monster. Elisabeth Moss is great as our hero Cecilia, and Oliver Jackson is the right amount of crazy sleazy as Adrian Griffin and I for one cannot wait to see what’s next for the Universal Monsters at the cinema. The film did great for Universal at the American box office bringing in $70,410.00 on a budget of only $7 million. Well done shocker and one that I bought on home media when it was released, and proves that the classic Monsters can still bring people in if done right.

I think we all can agree 2020 was a very terrible year, but I do want to say a big Thank You to every Movie Theater, Filmmaker, Home Media Release Companies, Horror Host, Streaming Service and YouTube for bringing entertainment and joy to not just me but so many others during that time. And I want to also say that AT&T and their crappy day of release for Warner Brothers and New Line Cinema films to HBO Max can suck a big one as films like Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong and Conjuring 3 are meant to be seen on the big screen and not used as a tool to save a terrible streaming service. And I for one will not be streaming these films and will be seeing them all in theater as I support cinema and theaters and not a soulless communication company’s terrible decision to cheapen their films by dumping them on a servers that is failing. I am very much looking forward to heading to all my local theaters this year and watching films on the silver screen and ranking them up for Matt Goes To The Movies 2021! So until next time be safe, watch a film of three at your local cinema and as always get yourself a popcorn. See you next update as I talk about Star Trek IV!

Fright Flicks Fan Films: Volume 2

Last year I had a blast covering some amazing Fan Made Horror Movies that are being released by some very talented directors and creators showing that the world of Horror is in good shape in the future as these guys try really hard to bring amazing stories and twists to classic horror icons of cinema. So when planning this year’s updates I knew I had to return to the world of Horror Fan Films as it also seemed you readers enjoyed the first update as well. For this update I searched high and low for a new batch of Fan Horror Films and tried to stay away from covering a ton of Friday The 13th or Halloween ones as they are popping up faster then weeds in the spring, but don’t worry some are being covered as I knew I had to cover at least a small amount as I am fans of both franchises. I also chose a few shorter Fan Films, ones as short as three minutes, as I feel that they as well should get their time to shine and to also alert you readers to them. Oh and keep in mind this update will have spoilers for the films, so you have been warned.

I got many of these short films from friends, family and even conventions, and many I have been looking forward to watching for the first time, while others are a re-watches for me. Just like before, I will write about the fan film’s plot, my thoughts on the film and will give it classic report card grade, meaning the highest a film could get is an A+ and the lowest is an F. I judge these films on a Fan Film level and not on what I would a Hollywood or even higher budget Indie Film. So if you are ready, let’s sit back and talk Horror Fan Films!

Belial
Starring – Matthew Stallings & Jesse Lasky       Directed by Eric Yoder
Released in 2020       Runtime: 24min     Not Rated

Plot: Duane Bradley carries his deformed and violent brother Belial around in a basket, and while on the subway train the basket is stolen and Belial brutally mangles the thief’s hand once the basket is open! Duane and Belial end up at a very sleazy hostel, and while inside they clearly see that everyone staying has issues from drugs to being thieves. When Duane’s money is stolen Belial goes on a killing rampage to get it back and one by one the people of the hostel die by a trail of carnage! In the end, the brothers escape into the night looking for another place to stay and find the peace they are looking for.

Thoughts: Once more Eric Yoder, who did the fan films “Night Of The Maniac” and “Who Goes There?” (that I covered last Fright Fan Film Update), delivers a fun and entertaining fan film this time based on the cult classic film Basket Case. This is an especially cool one to see as the world of Fan Films has not been flooded with new tales of Belial and his brother Duane. The film holds the gritty nature of the original film and even has elements of humor that made up the sequels and blends them together for this short that truly does feel like it belongs in the world of Basket Case. The acting is really great with Matthew Stallings as Duane stealing the show. He has the nice guy appeal mixed with the hint of sadness and madness. The effects done by Eric Yoder are great as blood splatters and body parts get mangled, and his effects and puppet for Belial are amazing and very much look like the one used in the original film! After watching the short fan film Belial, I would love to see Basket Case creator Frank Henenlotter allow Eric Yoder and his crew to make Basket Case 4 as the world needs a new sequel and Eric is the one to do it if Frank is not going to. So if you love Basket Case and the character Belial, make sure to give this one a watch as it’s up on YouTube, and you can also find it on an episode of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre.

Grade: A-

Don’t Fall Asleep
Starring – Diandra Lazor & Chad Hewitt       Directed by Paige Troxell
Released in 2016       Runtime: 44min     Not Rated

Plot: Nancy Thompson is being locked up in an asylum after the events of the dream killer Freddy Kruger killing her friends and family, and her father thought this was what is best for her…but she is filled with anger as she feels her father is doing nothing to stop Freddy’s rampage on the teens in their sleep. Months pass, and Nancy is stuck in the asylum and even starts taking hypnocil in order to stop dreaming. She has group therapy with fellow teens having issues and they even talk about the killer Freddy Kruger as one of the young ladies’ brothers was killed by him before she was born. And then the nightmares return, and so does Freddy Kruger who starts to attack Nancy and some of the fellow teens who are now talking and working among themselves. But strangely enough, the hypnocil is not working to stop their dreams. And when the doctor takes the drug and all the teens fall asleep during a group session, the doctor and all the teens soon find out that Freddy Kruger is very much real and has murder on his mind! Now stuck in the dream world Nancy, the doctor and the teens must fight for their lives! In the end Nancy gets away from Freddy, and dates Joel a fellow asylum inmate. She becomes adjusted and studies ways to help kids as well as about dreams and the powers of the human mind. In the end Nancy takes a job at Westin Hills to help teens who are having bad dreams, but her happiness also has some sadness as her boyfriend Joel is murdered by Freddy in front of her eyes.

Thoughts: The film does a great job of showing the mental breakdown of Nancy Thompson as no one around her thinks that Freddy Kruger is real and that she has issues dealing with her mother’s death, and her father is lying to the staff about what he has seen and has returned to drinking. It also brings her mental state back up as she grows older and studies dreams and leads us into her becoming a psychiatrist that heads to Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital aka the events of A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The film is a little slower paced then many of the fan films I have seen based on Freddy, but it also works as I do find that the build to the fall and then rise of Nancy is well done and showcases that Nancy really is the badass we all know she is, and that even in death she still is the main force of bringing Freddy down. Actress Diandra Lazor plays Nancy and for the most part does a great job, though at times I think she turns up the anger level a little too high and makes her come off slightly cartoonish…but not bad as I think she is a solid actress over all. They even add the white strip in her hair adding that nice touch of Nancy from the film series. William Adams plays Freddy Krueger and while he is not in the short fan film much, when he is, he does a pretty good job of running around laughing and slashing. The film also does a good job of feeling like it fits into the events that take place between the first and third film in the series and follows what Nancy was doing during this time, and that’s pretty cool. The film has some blood, but not a lot, and the effects are pretty good but standard none-splatter type with many of the wounds not being shown at all. Freddy’s makeup looks pretty good and showcases that the people who made this film are skilled and that they love Freddy Kruger and his movie universe. Over all this is a good slower paced watch that delivers some scares and adds to the legend of Freddy and his battle with Nancy. Make sure to check out the film on YouTube.

Grade: B

Halloween: Fan Film
Starring – Bonnie Alvord & Lois K. Allen       Directed by Christopher S. Allen
Released in 2018     Runtime: 1hr 22min     Not Rated

Plot: In Haddonfield, Il Halloween is a bad time of the year and for Laurie Strode (Myers) and her son Stevie and even his love interest Trish, it’s even worse as they are being targeted by the sinister masked slasher killer Michael Myers as he has once more decided to return to his hometown and make some people dead! Sheriff Bracket meanwhile is trying to warn people about the murders of the Myers family and they want Michael to turn himself in to the police. While Stevie tries to win the heart of Trish, they with friends torment a crazy neighbor, his mother Monica spends sometime with her girlfriends and friends for a sleepover that is filled with booze, snacks and fun times. While Judith Myers shows up at Laurie’s house and spills the beans that they are both related to Michael Myers and this sparks the group to go to a bar and party down! Meanwhile Private Investigator Sam Loomis is on his way to town as he wants to speak to Sheriff Bracket about the murder rampage of Michael Myers all those years back. Meanwhile Michael Myers is killing people of the town one by one. The Sheriff and Loomis head to the old Myers house to look for Michael and tour around talking about the murders and come up with a plan to wait for Michael to return home so they can finally bring him down. In the end Michael enters the house of Laurie and starts to murder all her friends with his trusty knife and wants his sisters dead, finally in the end Judith Myers kills her sister Laurie as she is as well evil like Michael who had his head bashed in with a baseball bat.

Thoughts: This is a fan film where the creators hearts are in the right place and they try really hard to deliver an amazing fan film based around a Horror series that they love. Sadly they fall a little flat in the effort as the plot is weak and the film is packed with long drawn out filler scenes that are covered up by music cues and popular songs that play way too long. Plus in many scenes you can hear the director say action and give actors orders. The acting and gore effects are totally backyard style and some are downright laughable, not to mention how bad some of it is miscast as Michael Myers as a teen is an over weight teenager and could be one of the worst fan film Michael Myers in history with and without the iconic mask on. The twist of Judith being just as crazy as her brother is pretty silly, but it does also add its own flavor and touch to the series and the fact Michael’s mask does not fit the actor right and looks like a mask you buy from the local mall during Halloween also adds to the layers of cheese. While they do over use music montages to pad out the runtime, I will say I am a fan of them using the likes of Alice Cooper, Motley Crue and Poison songs. The film, as I have said, does have some blood, but its pure armature and backyard stuff with one scene it looks like taco sauce mixed with ketchup. The film also has nudity from actress Bonnie Alvord, who plays Laurie, and to be honest she is the best thing about this fan film as she does her best with what she is given with this script. The creators also tried to make this Halloween Fan Film different from all others as it’s clear that this is not set in the film universe as characters, attitudes and motivations are all changed up, and for that I will give them credit. Over all this is just a below average Halloween inspired fan film that, while not the greatest, is worth watching if you enjoy cheesy backyard horror flicks.

Grade: C –

Halloween: Night He Came Back
Starring – Leah Kellar & Bruce Dale       Directed by Dave McRae
Released in 2016     Runtime: 45min     Not Rated

Plot: It’s 2018 and in Haddonfield, Illinois it’s the 40th Anniversary of the babysitter and hospital murders of serial killer Michael Myers. B-Movie actress Lauren is trying out for a horror movie called The Red Room in Hollywood and she feels she botched her audition. Once back home in Haddonfield on Halloween she starts to be stalked and watched by Michael Myers as she walks around town, and worse she makes plans with her brother Bob to watch horror movies and carve a pumpkin for Halloween but he is killed by Michael before he can show up, and Michael is not stopping as he slaughters a few more people around the neighborhood before finally making his way to Lauren herself chasing her around a massive old house with the intent to murder her. You see Lauren is connected to him in some way and she is his target this Halloween night. If not for Tommy Doyle she would have been dead, but he is able to save her and Michael once more escapes into the night, ready to kill again.

Thoughts: This gets some great brownie points as they clearly filmed at many of the locations of the 1978 classic that inspired this fan film! The film takes place years after the events of Halloween II and wipes away all the other films in the series to follow a what would have happened 40 years after those tragic events that left so many dead. The story follows struggling actress Lauren as she tries out for a film role only to return home to be stalked by Michael Myers. They throw in her brother Bob as well as the town’s police force and you have this Halloween inspired Fan Film Fright Flick. The character of Lauren in likable as she loves her small town roots but also dreams of living in the big city of L.A. and becoming a well-known and working actress. She is played by actress Leah Kellar, who should be working more in mainstream indie Horror Movies by companies like Blumhouse or at the least Full Moon Entertainment as she is not a bad actress and has a beautiful look to her, making her perfect for roles in Horror. The film has a good amount of kills, but takes the route of the original film and keeps the gore to zero but delivers classic style kills, with cut always. Michael Myers in the film is played by Dave McRae, who was a man of many hats for this film as he also directed it, co-wrote the script, co-produced it, edited it and played other parts like the Sheriff and voice acting small parts. He does an alright job as The Shape, but could have stepped up his creepy factor and actions a little more. It’s clear that McRae is a massive fan of Halloween, and this film is a love letter to the first two films in the series as well as John Carpenter. The film also leaves itself wide open for a sequel and leaves some questions unanswered and motivations unclear, and I am okay with that as long as the film does get a sequel. Over all if you love Halloween and Fan Films make sure to give this one a watch as it’s a pretty great watch. This film can be found on YouTube!

Grade: A-

Hellraiser: Warehouse 1 & 2
Starring – Stephen Alexander & Josh Weinberg      Directed by Matt Brassfield
Released in 2007     Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: Hellraiser Warehouse 1 has a man named James who works for a second hand furniture store that hates his job as the people who shop there are strung out and weird, well after chasing one masked weirdo out he is cursed. And when locking up for the night the weirdo in the mask is back in the store and shoves James into a room where he must meet his fate with the famed Pinhead. Hellraiser Warehouse 2 follows Ronnie who is very much a bad person who is rude to everyone he meets has taken over the job at the furniture store, and when he crosses paths with the mask weirdo he as well finds himself paying the price as Pinhead and Chatter pay him a visit.

Thoughts: This short fan film series is about a used furniture warehouse that acts as the gateway to the world of Pinhead and the Cenobites who target the workers who are lazy, rude, crude, homophobic and just over all scumbags! The first low paid slacker is James, a man who spends his time at work bored with the customers, drinking beer and watching porn on the TVs and once he gets the attention of Pinhead he becomes a missing person. The next worker is James’ replacement named Ronnie, who is a total scumbag and is rude to customers and his a homophobic tool, and he as well gets the attention of Pinhead who as well makes him a missing person. Pinhead in these films is a messenger of delivering punishment and is joined in the second film by Chatter. The Creeper is a masked weird man who seems to be the link between the warehouse and the world of the cenobites, he is the true figure that chooses who shall face judgment. The films have no blood nor guts but do have deaths. Stephen Alexander played Pinhead and did a great job as he also played the character at a local haunted house attraction. Over all these films were a blast to make, and while a third film was talked about it never happened…but who knows maybe someday soon it will happen. The first film can be seen in an edited cut on an episode of Baron Von Porkchop’s Terrifying Tales Of The Macabre Halloween Special.

Grade: NA

Island Of The Blind Dead
Starring – Merlyn Roberts & Emma Dark         Directed by Emma Dark
Released in 2015       Runtime: 3 min     Not Rated

Plot: A young woman is on the beach all alone and starts to roll around in the sand and water, but the Blind Dead have returned and are looking for victims that include a young girl, a town drunk, a garage worker and a woman taking a shower.

Thoughts: This fan film for The Blind Dead plays like a trailer for a “Lost” fifth film in the series so it plays more like clips from a movie put together than an actual fan film with a plot from start to finish. What I gather from this trailer, this fifth film would have followed a woman on vacation who made the mistake of going where the Blind Dead have once more raised for the dead to cause death. The Templar Knight aka The Blind Dead looks great and like the films it’s based on. Emma Dark plays Jeannie, the young lady on the beach and shower, and it’s crazy that she has not been casted in indie Horror Films as she has a look that fans would love. Island Of The Blind Dead is silent and no dialogue is spoken as all clips are played over a score piece that is fitting, plus I should point out that there is no blood in this short fan film either. It’s very clear that this fan film trailer has lots of heart and love behind it as the creators Emma Dark and Merlyn Roberts (who also plays the Blind Dead) are true fans of the series. While I wish this would have been more than just a very short trailer and would have been an actual fan film, I am a sucker for all things Blind Dead and enjoyed this for what it is. Not much else to say besides this is filmed and scripted really well and Emma and Merlyn should make a full Blind Dead fan film for all of us to enjoy. Check out this Fan Film Trailer on YouTube!

Grade: B

Michael vs. Jason: Evil Emerges
Starring – Joshua Pedder & John Pedder         Directed by Luke Pedder
Released in 2019       Runtime: 29 min     Not Rated

Plot: Jason Voorhees rises from the dead once more as his mother’s voice echoes in his brain to kill for her. Meanwhile a group of military forces are watching over Michael Myers with a plan to kill him off the books and to end his reign of terror, and escort him into the woods to carry out the plan. The plan backfires as Michael slaughters the force and chases the commander into the woods and watches as Jason Voorhees kills his attended target…big mistake as the masked killers face off in the woods with only murder on their minds. At first Jason gets the upper hand and brutalizes Michael, but once back up Michael’s evil rage sets in and then Jason is on the receiving end of a beating. In the end, a gun caring property owner and his sons show up, and Michel and Jason team up to slaughter them before once more squaring off with each other with Jason removing one of Michael’s hands and appears to get the win…or does he?

Thoughts: I think one of the top Horror Clashes that people have always wanted to see Hollywood do was a Michael Myers vs. Jason Voorhees fight as both are unstoppable, quit masked killers with no remorse. And while rights and lack of Hollywood interest has never allowed this epic slasher battle to happen, but the world of Fan Films have been flooded with this showdown each having their own take and choice of who would win this showdown. Well in this one creator and Horror fan Luke Pedder takes a stab at the epic fight and delivers a bloody showdown that gives respect to both franchises and makes both Jason and Michael look unstoppable and on equal ground. The film is pretty fast paced and the pesky humans are killed off fast and brutal as to not take away from the fight that all the viewers want to see. The costumes of Michael and Jason are very solid as are the actors who play them, plus the gore effects are well done and come off as ones seen in Indie Horror Films. The film also ends on a “To Be Continued” screen marking that this film will have a sequel. Over all a really good Fan Film that does a great job of bringing you a solid Jason and Michel fight with blood splatter and dead humans to spice it up.

Grade: B+

The Mummy Princess
Starring – Yenna Black & Thomas Cruz         Directed by Sasha
Released in 2018       Runtime: 11 min     Rated XXX

Plot: Princess Ahmanet has been captured and chained up and she is not happy about it at all as she tries her best to break free, a guard enters and the pair have sex and in the end Princess Ahmanet lets out a scary scream and her mouth distorts and the sands around her come alive.

Thoughts: Well this is 100% an adult film and with that said, it’s really hard to break down as it’s a short film and almost all of it just consists of hardcore sex. The actress Yenna Black looks great as Princess Ahmanet and really captures her look from the film. Not much else to say about this one as while it is a parody Horror fan film it’s really hard to talk about an adult film on a blog about comic books. So the grade I will give it is low and not because of its production value or anything but because it’s lacking in story and let’s leave it at that. This short has zero blood, no kills and lots of nudity. Plus just think about the fact a Porn Parody of the 2017 film The Mummy was made…go on and let that soak in. Also keep in mind this “Fan Film” almost was left off as it really is plotless, but in the end I decided the heck with it some of you readers might get a kick out of it.

Grade: D

My Final Destination
Starring – Sven Kittel & Rico Kittel     Directed by Marco Rudolph
Released in 2012     Runtime: 42min     Not Rated

Plot: A group of friends have cheated death, and now the reaper has come to take what’s his and that’s their souls! One by one death is coming for them as one friend has an accident that leaves his face smashed in by a bowling ball. Another who plays in a band gets impaled on his own drum kit! Another has her car explode and cut her in half! Another friend meets his end when weights crush his skull in. One friend, while in a dark apartment, steps on a mouse and falls down stairs and impales himself. Finally the two remaining friends go to a man who can see the future for help, and he is on help. While leaving one friend gets his head knocked off by a falling sign! The last friend runs back to the fortuneteller and begs for help, and he is told that this will happen to him forever until he himself is dead. The friend and the Teller go to one of the victim’s house looking for clues and they get a clue to get out of the building that is starting to crumble and during the escape the Teller is killed and the friend runs for his life down the stairs and escapes. He wakes up the next morning and the major event that he saved everyone’s life from happens and all of them now die they way they were supposed to.

Thoughts: This German fan film based around the popular Final Destination series is packed with lots of deaths and a little loose on plot as it really is just about the deaths of all these friends who escaped death’s cold grip! The only plot you do get from this short film is that the friends don’t want to die and while bummed that their friends are dying of weird accidents, seem to just shrug it off and go about their days and lives, that is until only two are left alive and then they make a half ass attempt to get help from a teller who just talks in weird riddles about his life being saved. The film has lots of bloody deaths and are done well with computer effects, and the film while very much flawed you can tell is being done by fans of the series as they might not have put time in the plot they did however put thought into the weird ways for the group of friends to die. The version I watched was dubbed but there is also an original German version as well out in the world. While the deaths and the digital deaths were cool and well done, the plot was paper thin and I would say that if you are a die hard fan of the film that sparked this fan film you should check it out, or if you would like to see effects that could be done with After Effects give it a watch. This film can be found on YouTube if you want to check this out.

Grade: C-

Phantasm: Extinction
Starring – Joshua Rabdell & Phil Sawyer     Directed by Joshua Randell
Released in 2017    Runtime: 40min     Not Rated

Plot: In 1979 The Tall Man and his horde have started their invasion of Earth and the war with them is being fought. Mike and Reggie are the world’s only hope but they during the chaos have been separated and the world around this is dead and filled with dangers and Mike starts his quest to find his friend and ends up in the Tall Man dimension and fights off his evil dwarf minions with a trusty custom shotgun, once back in our dimension he meets a man who as well has had his run in with The Tall Man and his creatures, and they pair fix a car meanwhile Reggie stuck in the world of the Tall Man fights for his life as well. Mike and his new friend check out a small town and this is a big mistake as Mike and his friend go to face Tall Man and Mike blows up the gateway and he thinks he stopped Tall Man, but he also had to kill his own friend by doing so. In the end Mike once more comes face to face with the killer Dwarves and knows that the nightmare never ends.

Thoughts: Ok, I have to start by saying it’s clear that Joshua Randell is a huge fan of the Phantasm series and understands the films lore and characters, but on the other hand the acting is super cheesy, the effects are cheap and they use scenes from the films for most of the creature effects and appearances of Tall Man, the sound is bad and pacing at times crawls as characters go into long winded stories and recaps of events from the films. The effect of the Tall Man’s world is well done even if it’s not the barren wasteland we have seen in the film series, not to even mention that at times the Killer Dwarves are guys in cheap Halloween robes or even toys super imposed in the footage. Joshua Randell is not only the films director but also plays Mike and bless his heart as he tried really hard to make his mark on Phantasm history with his fan film idea, its just really way to wordy and clearly he did not have much money for the budget as for the most part the film is bloodless. One part that had me laugh out loud is when a clearly none tall person filled in as The Tall Man and is wearing a cheesy white wig and is also holding a plastic ball…so bad its good. Over all I give Joshua and his friends lots of credit for attempting to make a Fan Film of Phantasm as it really is a complex series that would be hard to do with zero budget, and while I was not a super fan of this fan flick I would like to see Joshua and his friends return and make another one as its clear they love what they made and enjoyed the series they made this love letter to.

Grade: D+

Phantom Of The Opera
Starring – Elisa Hansen & Katherine Becker     Directed by Elisa Hansen
Released in 2002     Runtime: 20min     Not Rated

Plot: In the Paris Opera House, young singer Christine returns to her dressing room to find gifts and a voice that sings with her, and when the voice is shown to be The Phantom of the Opera he promises her that with his help she could have the best voice in all of Paris! And thinking that her dead father has sent The Phantom she takes him up on his offer. Three months pass and Christine has a suitor named Raoul and The Phantom is not pleased as his heart belongs to the young singer as well and he makes a date with her at the Graveyard to play her music. At the graveyard The Phantom plays for Christine and Raoul begs her not to go with him, but she does into the belly of the Opera House. And while the Phantom plays the piano Christine removes The Phantom’s mask and set him into a rage and he forces her to wear a rings and claim they are married. Once back in her dressing room she sends for Raoul and she rushes him to the roof and tells him of The Phantom of the Opera, and he makes her a promise to save her and he as well gives her a ring and wants her hand in marriage, but they make a mistake as The Phantom sees this and is not happy. That night The Phantom takes her back down into the belly of the Opera House and Raoul goes down to get her, in the end Christine is saved and ends up with Raoul as The Phantom of the Opera is left heartbroken as he knows that she will never truly be his.

Thoughts: This is a fun little silent horror fan film that is inspired by all the different film versions of The Phantom Of The Opera as well as the novel with the main inspiration coming from the 1925 classic starring Lon Chaney Sr., and the cool thing also being this was pulled off by 4 young ladies who clearly loved all things Phantom Of The Opera and put time and thought into pulling this off with such a limited cast and crew. The story condenses down the classic story as it removes all the opera singing moments as well as the plot of the Opera owners and just sticks to the Christine, Raoul and Phantom plot that is the true highlight of the story anyways. The Phantom was played by Elisa Hansen and she does a great job of silent film acting and bringing out the sadness and anger of the character, she also plays the character Meg and she also co-directed and co-wrote this short film. That’s the one thing that does make this film work so well is that the actresses understood how to act in a silent film as they show the over emotions that sell the point of the plot. The film has no deaths or blood and being based on a classic movie monster that is ok, and the only real downside to the DVD copy I have is that it’s very low grade and pixels pretty bad in spots. Over all if you are a Phantom Of The Opera fan, love classic Silent Horror Hosts or just want to see a fan film made by a limited amount of friends and pulling it off…check this one out as it can be found on YouTube.

Grade: B

Psycho V
Starring – Justin Linville & Uriel Ramos     Directed by Justin Linville
Released in 2013     Runtime: 62min     Not Rated

Plot: Norman Bates has set fire to his old family home that looks over the Bates Motel and now years past and Norman Bates has died and had a son named Will that was been living with close friends of Norman who are raising him as their own. Will is now hearing the voice of Norma Bates and he is starting to also question his own sanity as his friends dig deeper into the Bates family killing legacy. Will under the direction of his Grandmother dresses in the infamous dress and wig and starts to kill off friends and classmates of his that are getting too close to the truth of what he is becoming. After many of the teens of town become missing the Police get involved as they are trying to find a link between them all. One by one Will kills his friends and classmates all in for a plan he has made with his Grandmother, he even kills his best friend and with all the deaths the cops figure it all out and leave a trap for him using some of his classmates. In the end after killing so many people Will is taken out by one of his would be victims who stabs him to death.

Thoughts: This Psycho V fan film was clearly made by teenagers and has weirdly placed cuts, poor edits and the quality is a little rough…but while flawed they clearly had heart and wanted to make a fan film based on the legacy of Norman Bates and his Mother. The acting is very backyard style and remind me of all the early stuff we filmed at Independent B Movie. The story is pretty good and has Norman Bates having a son who discovers he is a Bates after finding his fathers old keep box that is filled with a diary as well as the wig and knife and now driven insane is keeping up Norma’s body count alive. The voice for Norma Bates is terrible and she sounds nothing like Mother from the real film series and has an odd accent that’s distracting. Justin Linville plays Will and he does a good job of playing that mix of weird and nice and is one of the better actors of the movie. This film is bad and yet I think that is way it has charm as they did put effort in the story, tried really hard in acting and did their best backyard effects. Over all there is not much to really say about this one besides it’s a pretty silly backyard made fan film based on one of the worlds most iconic slasher films that the filmmakers tried really hard on and seemed like they had a blast filming it. The DVD copy I have of the film is pretty grainy and has some weird picture clichés from time to time. While not the best of Psycho Fan Films it is one that holds charm if you like movies like Werewolf Of Ohio, Dr. Freak Vamp Killa and Friday The 13th Halloween Night. This film can be watched on YouTube.

Grade: C+

Psycho V: Beginning Of The End
Starring – Horror455 & Patrick Ferguson     Directed by Horror455
Released in 2012    Runtime: 1hr 46min     Not Rated

Plot: Johnny is a Texas reporter who is being sent to Arizona to interview Nathan Bates the son of Norman Bates who had just passed away. When arriving Johnny finds that Nathan is very nice but a little odd and does his best to avoid the interview with distractions like playing video games and changing rooms in order to talk in, and when the interview starts Nathan starts talking about his fathers dark secrets and yet its clear he is very proud of his fathers life and thinks that his father was not crazy. The interview takes place over days and Nathan is very lonely and clearly is missing his father who was also his best friend in ways. Jonathan ends up becoming friends with Nathan and even quits his reporting job when his boss becomes a major jerk about what he thinks Nathan is and that’s a psycho. Over the friendship it becomes clear that Nathan is unstable as he claims he has talked with his Grandma Bates and that she was a sweet woman and even treats Johnny to a meal that has human remains in it, and it appears that Nathan has killed his own father Norman! In the end Nathan dresses like his dead Grandmother and attacks Johnny and tries to kill him, buts stops the attack and falls down stairs and is taken to the hospital for his major injury. In the end we find that Nathan killed Andrew Loomis the newspaper owner and that’s who was made into dinner as he was killed after he attacked Nathan in his own home that triggered his dark side, Johnny heals up and becomes a major book writer and remains close friends with Nathan after all this craziness is over.

Thoughts: The filmmaker that made this fan film was clearly a fan of the Psycho film series and his his best in shots to capture the eerie nature of the original with the use of shadows and angles. The plot is well thought out and I like the idea of Norman Bates having a son who is clearly as unstable as he was and trying just like his father to come off normal in a world around him he finds to be strange and unfriendly. But while the plot is fun and makes for a good fan film idea the major downside is that at times it drags causing it to be a little boring in spots as the run time is a very long 1hr and 46mi, and I should also state the film is filled with filler like Thunderstorm scenes and even clips from the movie American Psycho a part that has Nathan eating and reacting to it, and this part goes on way to long as do many of the moments of them showing how lonely Nathan is in his massive house. The films climax does show some blood and a kill that is done well as the film is shot in black and white and only one actor plays all the parts! Nathan Bates is a great character as he clearly is just like his father and is mentally unstable and thinks that Norma Bates is still alive and bullies him into doing bad things. The acting from Horror455 is great and he pulls off all parts really well and the fact that he was a one-man crew is pretty dang cool. I really enjoyed the film for the most part and enjoyed the twist and turn plot, and I would have given it higher if only it trimmed the fat of the drawn out parts. One odd thing is all the humor at the start of the film that goes away in spots, I want to also say that I enjoyed the end of Nathan becoming Mother as if felt like a classic style slasher film. Over all a nice little Psycho “sequel” done with a very tiny micro budget that was done by a man who clearly loved the source material.

Grade: B-

A Puppet Master Halloween
Starring – Nick Hill         Directed by Patrick Delaney
Released in 2019   Runtime: 20min     Not Rated

Plot: In the suburbs of Bodega Bay on Halloween Night a guy named Seth is preparing for the night complete with watching Night Of The Living Dead with a beer in hand, and also looking for a missing cat named Sparky. As the night goes on a weird orange and black package is delivered while out side the killer puppet Pinhead watches, as he is the one who placed the package there and knocked. As Seth opens it he finds that it’s a crate and inside the crate is Jester and he puts the creepy doll back and then goes to make himself some microwave popcorn, and while distracted Jester gets up and opens the garage door and lets in his fellow puppets that include Blade, Pinhead and Tunneler! As the night goes along Jester and his fellow puppets start to torment and scare Seth with him trying to run for his life to get away from them, and finally has to fight back armed with a baseball bat he strikes back at the puppets…but to no luck as by the end of Halloween night they knock out Seth and their mission is clear as they are looking for their missing friend Six-Shooter and files to were he is at as well as a crate that holds the elixir that gives them health. Later that night Seth is now injured and awake as his front door opens and Torch appears and sets him and the house on fire!

Thoughts: Growing up I have always been a huge fan of Full Moon flicks and when I heard that a fan film based on their Puppet Master series was in the works I was pretty dang happy to hear this as it was about time some one did a fan film based on this killer puppets! And when watching this film I was not disappointed as Patrick Delaney is clearly a fan of the series added lots of the folklore from the movies but also seemed to be building his own world around it as well. The plot has a guy named Seth all alone on Halloween Night who becomes the target of the killer puppets as they are looking for something in the house and he is just in their way. The Puppets we are treated to in this fan flick are Blade, Jester, Tunneler, Pinhead, Torch and a photo cameo from Six-Shooter the later who is missing and his friends want to get him back. As far as Seth goes I think he is just a guy in the wrong house at the wrong time and he ends up paying for it all with his life. I also loved that this film ties in Chucky from the Child’s Play films as well as well as the Spheres from the Phantasm series as they are all apart of something called the Omega Project. The film is pretty bloodless but does have violent acts and the Puppets are mean spirited like they are in Puppet Master and Puppet Master II. And while I wish they would have explained a little more on who Seth was and what the Omega Project is I did find myself really having a blast with this film and hope they make a second part this coming Halloween season (2020). If you enjoy Full Moon Movies, love Puppet Master and get a kick out of killer dolls this is a fan film with heart and is worth the watch. Do yourself a favor and check this one out on YouTube.

Grade: A-

The Purge 2024
Starring – Lec Zorn & Gabrielle Bousum     Directed by Ashton Gleckman
Released in 2017   Runtime: 14min     Not Rated

Plot: The year is 2024, and it’s Purge Night and two friends have broken down and are being hunted by a mask wearing Preacher and his carload of mask wearing psychos who want them dead and have the weapons to do so! With one friend being killed when the pair take shelter in an abandon home the remaining man must hide, run and try his best to outsmart these coldblooded killers and take them out before they get him and he does get some of them, but in the end the Purge ends and the man surrounded by killers holds one hostage and as they drop their weapons he kills them all breaking the rules of the Purge.

Thoughts: The Purge series is one of those film series that I think very much lends it’s self to the world of fan films as I also think it would make for a great comic book series as well as a video game…but now I am off topic. This short fan film does a fantastic job of capturing what it must be like to be hunted during The Purge as the two men are out numbered and in some cases out gunned. The two men seem like they are scared for their lives but are willing to fight back if they can save their hides, and don’t mind taking lives if they have to. Our final survivor turns out to be just as cold and evil as those who are hunting him as he takes their lives even after the event is over. The Masked hunters are pretty bang cool as you have The Preacher, Nun, Pig, Bunny, Bride and Zombie all running around with knives, guns and chainsaw to end some lives with. The film is pretty bloody and is fast paced for the short runtime. Over all I say if you like The Purge movies this little short fan film is worth checking out as you can tell Ashton Gleckman is a fan of the source material. If you enjoy the Purge series and want to check this one out look it out on YouTube.

Grade: A-

Scream: Generations
Starring – Lindsay McEwan & Lee Bloomfield     Directed by Jared Vollmann
Released in 2012     Runtime: 1hr 30min     Not Rated

Plot: Someone is taking their love for the Scream movie series to the extreme as Howell High School kids are being butchered and the killer is mimicking Ghostface is his appearance and style. Natalie is apart of a film class and she and her friends after a pair of school mates are murdered they decide to have a party that weekend to spend time together and be safe. In one-night Ghostface targets and kills the teens Film Teacher as well as April killed and her boyfriend injured and this sparks fear in Natalie and her friends stick together, but do have some inner fighting on who has done this and their pal Jason is blamed. The group of friends end up getting together to stay safe and spend time together after the tragic events that have rocked their lives, and spend the night watching Horror Movies in the backyard…but this is a big mistake as Ghostface appears to crash the party and rise his body count! In the end Natalie must come face to face with the slasher behind the mask and fight for her life.

Thoughts: This fan film takes the Scream formula and adds a new touch to it by acting as if the film series has sparked a psychopath into a killing spree that has them acting like Ghostface! The film does a good job of building the group of friends and Natalie and Gwen’s friendship being the standout as actresses Lindsay McEwan and Claire Tsiporukha do a good job in the roles. Creator and Director Jared Vollmann does a great job of capturing the mood and kills of the Scream movies and does his best to add in red herrings and keeping you guessing to who or whom is behind the slayings, Jared also plays the part of Ian in the film and its crystal clear he loves the Scream series and had passion behind making this fan film as the script and acting is solid. The one downside to Scream: Generations for me was the fact who put the mask on and slaughtered was pretty easy to predict, and while not everyone who watches this fan film will be able to predict those who know the series will spot who or whom the killer(s) are pretty easy. The motivation behind the slayings is cheesy and yet also pretty well thought out, and not making it just a solid fan film set in the Scream universe makes more of the film work. The film does have blood and the effects for the kills are pretty well done and while limited they do not stay on them long enough to spot the flaws. And I must also point out that actress Lindsay McEwan who plays Natalie should be in more Indie Horror movies! Over all Scream: Generations is a fun fan flick that delivers all the scares and entertainment that the series that sparked it always brought to the big screen. You can watch this film on YouTube, and oddly enough it films well in the world of Scream so if you ever have a marathon of Scream you should add this to the list.

Grade: B+

She Burns In Hell
Starring – Brittany Blanton & Josh Miller     Directed by Ryan Stacy
Released in 2018     Runtime: 10min     Not Rated

Plot: Carrie White set her high school on fire and killed many of the students after a prank of dropping pigs blood on her head sets off her paranormal abilities. They then talk to some people who watched as Carrie walked from the school and the witnessed her power first hand. We also witness what went on in Carries mind as she was dying in her front yard after destroying her house and fighting with her crazy mother. In the end when an eyewitness is asked where Carrie White is in the after life she says “She Burns In Hell”.

Thoughts: Carrie White is one of those Horror icons I think gets over looked when it comes to fan films as most tend to do films about slasher characters like Jason, Michael, Freddy and Leatherface so it was cool to see someone decide to do this and of course is had to be those talented people of Concept Media based here in Ohio. I like that the plot circled around those who seen her after her rampage in the school as she walked home covered in pigs blood as her classmates burned alive in the high school. Brittany Blanton was well casted as Carrie White and while she has very little speaking in the role she says all she needs to with her eyes as she strolls down the street and later dies in her yard. The acting is well done from the rest of the cast and really makes you think what you would do if you witnessed her special powers first hand, and how could you explain it to those who never witnessed it. This fan film also in its short time does a great job of highlighting the events of the film via dialogue played over scenes and in flashbacks. She Burns In Hell does a great job of adding to the cinematic world of Carrie and adds a new layer to the story done by Stephen King. If you are a Carrie fan make sure to check this fan film out as it’s a quick spooky watch that you will enjoy, my only real complaint is that I wish it was a little longer and we got more witnesses talking about her path home and the aftermath of her crimes. Watch this one on YouTube!

Grade: A-

TCM: New Blood
Starring – Dave R. Watkins & Ron McLellen     Directed by Ron McLellen
Released in 2010     Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: Lindsay and her brother Justin make the mistake of picking up a hitchhiker while lost in Texas as they are looking for their grandfathers house and also are running out of gas. The Hitchhiker offers them gas from his home and also says his brother can help give him directions, and sadly they accept. Justin follows the Hitchhiker to get the gas and meets Leatherface’s hammer, and then Lindsay is knocked out and when she wakes up she is tied down at the families dinner table and tormented by family members like Drayton, The Hitchhiker, Momma, Leatherface and a host of other Sawyer family members. Lindsay is happy to see that here brother Justin is still alive and is also forced to sit at the dinner table and watch the madness of the family unfold before them, before they are served chili for dinner, but also during dinner Justin is beaten to death with hammers in front of his sisters eyes. Lindsay is able to escape when The Hitchhiker unties her and he gets in a pushing fight with his brother Leatherface as the brothers chase her down and she meets her end at the blade of Leatherfaces’s chainsaw, in the end Leatherface does the chainsaw dance as the sun is coming up.

Thoughts: This fan film set after the events of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and places siblings in the wrong place, as they become the next victims and meals for the crazed Sawyer Family. Justin and Lindsey are brother and sister and besides the fact they are looking for their grandfathers house in Texas we do not know much more about them, well besides they are lost and need gas. The Sawyer Family has all the original members around like Leatherface, The Cook and Hitchhiker but the other members like Momma, The Sheriff and so on just kind of seem out of place and take up screen time on a already short film that could have been given to the victims to flush out more of a backstory for them. The Hitchhiker who they also call Virgil and is played by Dave R. Watkins does his best to channel both Edwin Neal (The Hitchhiker) and Bill Moseley (Chop Top), with director Ron McLellen playing Leatherface and adding in both a spooky touch but also a little childlike humor. The film has two kills and they don’t shy away from using blood and the effects are good with the best is Justin getting bashed with the hammer is well done and cut together effective. I also feel that actress Morgan Mullis who plays Lindsay is solid as she screams her head off and has a true scream queen appeal to her. Over all this frightful fan film is a pretty fun watch and would have been better if they would have cut down the amount of Sawyer family members, maybe added a few more kills and would have not drawn out the cliché dinner table scene that is over done in all things connected to Texas Chainsaw. But with that said well done to the filmmakers and is worth a watch. Like many of the others on this update you can view this one on YouTube.

Grade: C+

Tiffany
Starring – Samuel Moya & Frances Nunez        Directed by Julian Romero
Released in 2018       Runtime: 20min     Not Rated

Plot: Samuel is a young man whose brother and friend where murdered by the killer dolls Chucky and Tiffany and now he must put this all behind him and deal with the mental breakdown of the crimes as well as the nightmares of Tiffany coming to get him. He also himself seen the killers dolls and just the thought of them and speaking to them freaks him out, and things get worse when a package arrives at his front door step one late night and inside the box is Tiffany and Chucky and she sets her sights and knife on ending Samuels life by putting the soul of Chucky into his body, but the young man fights back…but in the end while he defeats Tiffany by tricking Chucky into stabbing her, he then takes an axe and cuts off the head of Chucky…and it ends with Samuel keeping and torturing the still alive head of Chucky and finding that Tiffany’s body is missing.

Thoughts: This fan film takes place a few years after the events of Bride Of Chucky and tells the tale of a young man who is messed up mentally over the murders of his brother and friend at the hands of the killer doll duo, who end up showing up to his home to try and take over his body and end his life. This is a pretty fun little short fan film that uses sound bites from Jennifer Tilly for Tiffany and Brad Dourif for Chucky, and our two man killers are just consumer bought dolls from stores like Spencer’s Gifts in the malls across America, and they are used really well to pull off the killer doll moments. The films main star is Samuel Moya who plays the character of Samuel and he does an ok job of being the victim turned attacker, though him beating down both Tiffany and Chucky with ease is a little silly and he takes no real damage in the fights with them. The film is bloodless and the only “deaths” in the film is Chucky who’s head is cut off and then has his head stabbed and drilled. The music is interesting and while movie score moments are present so are covers of old songs done by female vocalist. While this is a very simple plotted fan film is clear that director, writer and producer Julian Romero was a fan of Bride Of Chucky and wanted to add his own touch to the story to show what happened after the film some time later. If you like Child’s Play movies and are looking for something short and fun give this one a watch, while it’s not the greatest it’s still a good effort from some young filmmakers. Watch it now on YouTube.

Grade: C+

A Wet Dream On Elm Street
Starring – Rachael Deacon           Directed by Andrew Shearer
Released in 2011       Runtime: 5min     Not Rated

Plot: A beautiful young woman is getting ready for bed at the same time Freddy Kruger is getting his glove ready to kill. At night a Freddy doll falls from her ceiling and starts to seduce the woman who in turn turns on her charm and the woman and the doll have kinky sex…and then she wakes up wearing Freddy’s sweater and it makes you wonder was it only a dream?

Thoughts: This extremely short “A Nightmare On Elm Street” fan parody film is mostly kinky with a dash of Horror thrown in. Rachael Deacon plays the young woman who has the dream and she has a real Lina Romay appeal to her, plus I have meet Rachel many times and she is a creative and great person. The short was also directed by the super talented Andrew Shearer who I feel is one of Americas most over looked master of indie cult films, as he has been making movies for decades and don’t get the respect and love he should from the masses…but then again I feel Shearer don’t mind as he makes movies to entertain not for the fame. The film is mostly silent with a score playing in the back ground with the only line being the woman saying “Whatever You Do, Don’t Fall Asleep” as she is having fun with the evil Freddy as a doll. The film does not have full nudity but does show backside and gets close, so this one is really not for the youngsters. Over all this is a super short and fun film that lets Deacon shine as a cult actress and shows the filming talent of Shearer…Oh and I have to say the lighting is great in my opinion with a blue hue through out the dream. This short film has zero blood, no kills and partial nudity.

Grade: B-

Within The Woods
Starring – Maria Saldeno & Ashley Sanchez       Directed by Brandon Medina
Released in 2014     Runtime: 1hr 13min     Not Rated

Plot: A pair of cops head to the cabin in the woods and find a young woman who warns them that they all need to leave now as the deadites start to appear and torment the group and in the end take them out. The make of the group wakes up in the woods and is chased back into the cabin were he finds the Necronomicon and fights off being possessed himself as the deadites all around him want his soul. Meanwhile a group of friends as well are going to make the mistake of their lives as they are heading to a get away in the woods themselves to help a friend out who is battling pill addiction and depression, when one of the friends reads from the Necronomicon they start to as well become the target of the evil dead! One by one the friends become possessed and turn on each other, with the survivors being confused by what is really going on. In the end can any of the friends or unknown male survivor live through the attack of the Evil Dead?

Thoughts: The heart and spirit is present in this Evil Dead fan film as they capture the darkness, the mean and trickster spirits of the deadites and even the use of the woods and fog. They do a good job with masking the fact its clear they had a very low budget to work with and the effects are pretty well done and have a shot on video backyard charm, but one thing they could not mask is that some of the acting is really bad and its clear Brandon hired his friends for the parts with some of them almost appearing as if they are reading the lines off screen. The film also starts off with the scares and by the middle slows down to a snail pace with the friends in the cabin talking about issues and drama. The original The Evil Dead film was a great spooky film that had demons and dread throughout and while it had drama it brought some major scares, and sadly this fan film Within The Woods here did not do that for me, and don’t get me wrong they tried really hard to pull it off, it just fell a little flat for me as I do feel way to much time is spent on the friends who are at odds with each other and the addiction issue it’s self. Even by the time the friends start to turn into deadites I found myself already kind of checked out from the film. I will say the film does have blood and the possessions of the characters while nothing more than contacts and drooling blood does work for the most part. Over all I think that doing an Evil Dead fan film is hard to pull off and I do give Brandon Medina credit for trying to pull it off, not the best nor worst fan film I have ever seen and I would say if you love all things Evil Dead check it out as the heart is here even if I was not a super fan.

Grade: C

What I really love about covering Fan Made Horror Films based on popular Hollywood Movies is that it brings me back to my days as a Shot On Video creator and director and has sparked my interest in maybe returning to do so and do one last fan film that will be based on a classic Hammer Horror film and character…so who knows maybe I will do so and if I do you can bet your last dollar that I will be covering here on Rotten Ink with a making of update! And keep in mind I will only be able to make this Fan Film if I have the time inbetween working on new episodes of Baron Von Porkchop and The Creeper, work at Rockstar Pro Wrestling and Englewood Cinema, wrapping some Wolf Hunter projects, the comic work for Sparkle and Blood Scream Comics as well as all the updates here on Rotten Ink…so as you can see I have lots of stuff going on. For our next update we will be leaving the world of Fan Films behind and will be back into the world of Horror Hosting as we take a look at the extremely short lived host Captain Jolly Rogers of Hell’s Drive-In out of Indiana. So until next time read a indie comic or three, watch a Fan Film or two and as always support you local Horror Host! See you next update for a buried treasure of Horror Hosting.

Fright Flicks Fan Films: Volume 1

Sometimes the world of Horror Cinema Hollywood lets you down when it doesn’t deliver a sequel to your favorite franchises fast enough or at all. I mean look how long we have all waited for new A Nightmare On Elm Street or Friday The 13th films that have yet to grace the big screen and quench our thirst for Freddy Kruger’s and Jason Voorhees’ killing sprees. When this happens some creative fans get an itch and are bitten by the creative bug, they create their own fan films to deliver to fellow fans of the series a new installment or at least their take on the classic horror icons of splatter and frights. There is something to be said about the art of a good fan film, and for the most part for me, they are a great way to kick back and see the great talent of fellow indie horror filmmakers as well as creative minds at work on characters I love who bring their fresh ideas and stories to them, and sometimes their ideas are better than the real Hollywood sequels! Below is just a small amount of the Fan Films in the world but these are ones I own on DVD and have chosen to cover on this first update that celebrates the art of a fan film. I have decided that for these fan films, I am going to grade them on a report card level with A+ being the best and F being terrible, and keep in mind I am not going to judge them as harsh as a Hollywood Film or even a solid bigger budget Indie Film…they will simply be graded on a Fan Film level. And this update will be the first of many about Horror Fan Films if you readers and friends enjoy this one, as this is a fun subject for me to write about as well as doing this one was a blast as seeing some of these films for the first time was a real treat. So with that let’s get to this update and see what fans of Horror have to offer the world of Indie Cinema.

Many of you long time readers know that I use to make Shot On Video Horror films and even have produced and acted in many Indie Horror Movies, but what many of you might not know is that my old company Independent B Movie was going to make some fan films of our own! I have written about “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Return Of The Saw” that followed a beauty queen and her camera man being hunted by the Sawyer family on a back road of Texas while a bounty hunter was on their track to get revenge for a past victim. It would have been released in 2001/2002 and would have been a bloody good fan flick. But here are a few Horror Movie Fan Films that both my companies Independent B Movie and Bloodline Video were going to make or even had in production at one time, as well as what I can remember about them! “Night Of The Zombi” was to be based on the worm headed zombie from the Lucio Fulci film Zombi 2 and had a young woman home alone on the island as the dead were rising outside and old worm eye zombie had his sights set on getting the woman in the house. The film was going to be written, directed by me, and I was also slated to play the zombie with my friend Lauryn playing the woman in danger! This was an idea we both came up with while hanging out…would have been a fun one to film for sure, but was lost in the shuffle as Lauryn and I would go on to make the yet to be released “It’s In The Crawlspace” film. We were going to film at her fathers house as well as use Caesars Creek for the water locations. The film would have also been very bloody complete with lots of gut munching. Back in 1999 I also wrote a script for a Phantom Of The Opera fan film that was called “The Phantom Of The Woods” and it took place right after the events of the 1922 silent film! The film was suppose to have The Phantom escaping from the water and into the woods where he falls in love with a woman who is set to be married to another man. The film was written alongside many other scripts like Werewolf Of Ohio 2 and a Hercules script. The script was never got into production and was quickly forgotten about. I honestly do not remember who was going to be cast in what parts, but this is one that could someday get the Blood Scream Comics treatment. And the last time a Horror Fan film was talked about being made was in 2018 and is one that still might see the light of day as I have talked about doing one based on the 1973 Jess Franco film Female Vampire! But to be honest, I did film two fan films called “Hellraiser Warehouse” and “Hellraiser Warehouse II” that showcases Pinhead and Chatter tormenting workers at a deadbeat furniture warehouse…the films were made around 2006/2007 and the first film even played at a local cinema during an indie film showcase. Both of these short films I wrote and directed and even had a cameo in as a goofy shopper at the warehouse. Starring in the film was Stephen Alexander as Pinhead in both films and Josh Weinberg played The Creeper in both who was the bringer of the bad omens. James Courtney played the doomed manager in the first film and Matt Hoffman played the second doomed Manager in part 2. Mike Ritchie is shown as the warehouse owner in the second short and Thomas Blurton played Chatter in the second film. These are classic and fun films that both seemed to be a hit with those who watched them. Below is a picture from Hellraiser: Warehouse and, who knows if I ever will get the bug to film a fan film in the future!

But now let’s get onto these Fright Films and let’s see what some of these up and coming directors, writers, actors and producers can do with some of cinemas most loved Horror Icons and series. So sit back grab some popcorn and your favorite beverage, and let’s talk Fan Films! Oh and I want to thank my brother Bryan and my friend Matt Joseph for getting me many of these fan films and also want to thank some of the conventions that I attended that also had many of these in stock. But most importantly, I want to thank every single person involved in making any of these movies as they truly made this update possible and delivered entertainment to the masses.

The Blair Witch Legacy
Starring – Samantha Marie Cook & Cody Epling     Directed by Jason Hawkins
Released in 2018     Runtime: 1hr 38min       Not Rated

Plot: Filmmakers Sam, Cody and Jason are making a documentary about the film The Blair Witch Project and its legacy on the world of cinema and travel to Burkittsville, Maryland to showcase the films real stories used in the movie. When in town they start to look into the town and soon find that the townspeople are very quite and secretive about the Blair Witch and weird as well is the towns rash of disappearing kids over the years. Sam starts to become obsessed with the project and an old diary she got that has dirt on the town and uses it to bum rush residents that she is making enemies of. Cody and Jason are getting more and more frustrated with Sam as she pushes more and more on info on the missing kids. And to their bad luck, a kid they interviewed goes missing and they join the search and end up getting lost in the woods themselves as Sam is now missing and Cody and Jason are finding clues that they might be getting played for fools as things might not be what they seem. As they wander the woods to find their missing friend and a way out, they keep ending up at the same ripped up tent every night, and Jason seems to be losing his mind. In the end, the friends come face to face with the real Blair Witch who has teaches them a real lesson as do the townspeople.

Thoughts: This film is a found footage film and really tries to capture that magic of The Blair Witch Project and brings an “it’s real” atmosphere to the whole legacy and story. What works for the film is the whole missing kids story and the odd behavior of the townies who clearly are afraid of the curse of the Blair Witch who they all know is real and has caused terror for decades…as well as their hatred for the rabid fans of the films. I also like how the townspeople are working with the Blair Witch to teach outsiders a lesson in respect and to not mess with what they do not understand. The acting is pretty good for a fan film and each character in the film plays a part that helps further the script. The downside is that in some spots it drags as we go for a long stroll in the woods with Cody and Jason who scream for their missing friend as well as just grumble about being in the woods. And the main crime of the film in my opinion is not staying with the scares when they finally start…instead, we cut to the next day and have Jason once more flipping out covered in ash and mud. Clearly Jason Hawkins is a big fan of The Blair Witch Project and it shows in this fan film that I would say is pretty cool and fits very well in that universe. While this film is not for everyone and is a slow burn, I am sure fans of the Blair Witch will get some enjoyment and will fill the void until a new movie is made.

 Grade: B-

Dracula A.D. 2015
Starring – Xander Pretorius & Bessie Nellis     Directed by Joshua Kennedy
Released in 2015   Runtime: 59min     Not Rated

Plot: Jennifer is a student at Pace University in New York and is taking a class on myths plus folklore and in class they talk about Count Dracula! And one night she is pressured into having a séance with her friends in the basement of the college and by accident they bring Count Dracula back to life! Dracula is now wandering the hallways of the college as well as the streets of New York choosing victims to drink their blood and young Jennifer has become his target and obsession. Dracula along with his newly turned helpers turn and kill as many students that they can in order for Dracula to get to Jennifer. When bitten, Jennifer’s only hope is her boyfriend and her professor brother who are willing to fight the vampires to save her soul. Dracula and his minions put up a great fight until the end when The Count must face his would-be bride’s saviors that leaves him dead by sunlight.

Thoughts: It’s really cool to see a filmmaker paying tribute to Hammer Horror and its Dracula series and actor Christopher Lee with a modern fan film. And man do those who made this film really try its best to keep faithful to the feel and spooky nature of Hammer Horror, which made for a great watch on a late night. The acting is part stage and part over the top, and it works and never comes off super cheesy or too hammy with each actor doing a great job. Plus all the actresses in the film are super cute and fall in the mold of Hammer Starlets minus the massive cleavage. Xander Pretorius plays Count Dracula and does a solid job. While he looks young, he tries his best to bring out his inner Christopher Lee when it’s needed. I must also say that Kat Kennedy, who plays Jennifer and Hannah Rose Ammon, who plays Caroline, are fantastic in their roles and are very easy on the eyes, and I would love to see them both in more Horror Movies of all sorts of budgets. The film also does a great job of using score music from the Hammer Horror movies, and their use of lighting and locations are top notch. The film also does have a little blood, and while tame, it’s very fitting. I really did enjoy this fan film and found it to be a fun classic movie monster watch, and I would like to see these guys also tackle Hammer’s Frankenstein or even Plague Of The Zombies in a future fan film. I should also note that Joshua Kennedy is a known film director who makes classic style b-movies that have many being released by Alpha Video on DVD over the years…if you like this movie make sure to check them out as well.

Grade: A-

Float
Starring – Farzam Mir & Mason Coburn     Directed by Aidan Bova
Released in 2017     Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: A group of friends are enjoying their lives in a small town hanging out, eating pizza, riding bikes and playing video games. But things change when kids in town go missing, and they become the next target for the sewer living clown creature Pennywise. And while out to play football Pennywise attacks the teens in the woods, and one by one they fall prey to his wicked ways and become his lunch.

Thoughts: This fan fright flick based on the Stephen King novel and blockbuster movie IT does its best to deliver some good scares with child killer and demonic being Pennywise The Dancing Clown. Scares are mostly done with cheap jump scares, but for this style of film based on this character it’s very fitting. The film has a little bit of blood but nothing major, and the effects are your standard mirco-indie stuff with most costumes and effects being store bought items. Now as far as Pennywise himself goes, the actor does his best to try and make himself scary and also tries really hard to try and capture the speech and attitude of the character, and while in spots he is really good…other times he comes off as a teenager cosplaying as his favorite horror baddie. Plus some moments in this fan film Pennywise comes off like a slasher film villain and not trickster creature he really is. The over all production values of this short are well done and it’s clear that those who made it really do love Stephen King’s IT. It also shows these guys have a love for filmmaking and this is great to see as these guys could be this next big faces in Horror Cinema. If they do another Horror Fan Film in the future, I would like to see them tackle something like Happy Death Day or Hell Fest and see what they can do with having to add in a little more blood and guts.

 Grade: B

Freddy vs. The Ghostbusters
Starring – Bradley Roddy & Jason Cook     Directed by Hank Braxtan
Released in 2004     Runtime: 34min     Not Rated

Plot: Stalker of dreams Freddy Kruger is using his razor sharp glove to kill any and all the kids who fall asleep. Neil is sick of being tormented in his dreams by Freddy and decides to hire the Ghostbusters to help him with his deadly issue…well he gets the friends and family members of the Ghostbusters to help and finds himself a member of the team now. The Ghostbusters find that Freddy must be plaguing the used mattress he just bought as the nightmares started once he got it. And when Freddy kills Neil’s roommate and traps his love interest Nancy in the dream world, they go in after her and bring Freddy to our world where they use their proton packs and ghost traps to bust him once and for all. Not bad for a bunch of ghost busting rookies!

Thoughts: This fan film is a blend of horror and comedy and brings the world of Ghostbusters and A Nightmare On Elm Street together, and for the most part does it pretty well. The only down side that doesn’t fit the mood of either film is some of the weird cruder humor. The plot works very well as having rookie Ghostbusters being forced to tangle with one of the worst supernatural slasher killers in history and trying to capture him with proton packs is a pretty dang cool idea. The film does not use blood and is played more for laughs and off screen kills, and this works as clearly the Ghostbusters are the stars of the film and Freddy is just around to be busted. Bradley Roddy plays Freddy Kruger and does a pretty great job of delivering the one-liners and showing off his kill glove. Plus it’s cool that we get cameos from green ghost Slimer and Jason Voorhees! The proton pack stream effects are well done as is the make up of Freddy. In fact for 2004, the digital effects this fan film looks pretty dang good. The runtime is prefect as it does not wear out its welcome and moves at a good pace to build to the final showdown, and speaking of that showdown it’s a little bit of a letdown as it goes by way to fast and Freddy don’t stand a chance against three proton packs and the ghost trap. Over all a fun classic goofy fan film that brings together two film franchises that just seem to work well with each other. The film’s score is also made up of music taken from both franchises as well as cues from popular pop music. Oh and I should also note that almost all copies I have seen of this film from the DVD I own to the ones on YouTube all seem to be low resolution making for dark scenes and fast movement to look a little blocky.

Grade: B-

Freddy’s Return: A Nightmare Reborn
Starring – Ronin Booker & Jennifer Farr     Directed by Jason Korsiak
Released in 2009     Runtime: 2hr       Not Rated

Plot: Freddy Kruger is stuck in limbo and is haunting the dreams of Kevin Marks whose father took part in his vigilante style execution many years back. Even as a kid Kevin was attacked by Freddy who has been the young man’s tormentor causing him lots of mental issues over the years. Now Freddy is infecting his dreams again as well as those of his closest friends in order to gain power and return to his dream killer glory, but he cannot harm Kevin as the teen seems to be protected. One by one the teens of Elm Street meet their bloody end by the glove of Freddy who is becoming stronger. And now Kevin along with his crush Ashleigh Asoa must fight for their lives in order to stop Freddy and also discover the truth about their own parents and their sins that has caused all this death and help create the demon slasher that is Freddy Kruger. In the end Kevin armed with dream catchers and the will to save Ashleigh who is being held prisoner in the nightmare world, and comes face to face with Freddy that leads to a final showdown…or does it!?

Thoughts: This fan film is suppose to take place after the events of A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child and has Freddy stuck in his own nightmarish limbo world and as well follows Kevin Marks who is the key to Freddy’s return to kill the teens of Elm Street. This fan film has lots of both pros and cons. Let’s start with the good as the film’s production is well done and the acting is pretty great for a film of this level. The Freddy look is also well done, and while it’s just store bought masks and such, it looks good in this film. The film also has some pretty good micro indie horror effects, and they do allow the blood to flow. Plus they added in Amanda Kruger, and it was a nice way to try and tie in the past films with her acting as a helper to Kevin. The deaths are all well done and thought out, plus a funny death is when the girl-crazy teen is sucked into a TV world with hot women and one turns into Freddy and pokes his eyes out! Now the downsides are as follows: first and foremost the film is just way too long running a little over two hours it’s just drags in spots. While Freddy Kruger looks good sometimes, the actor’s line delivery is off and he loses the Kruger sound. They also change Freddy’s background as in this film he worked as an ice cream man who would abduct the kids while driving the truck, which seems a little off. While flawed mostly by the long runtime, this fan film is still worth watching and was clearly done by fans that put thought into their script and cared about their film. If you enjoy the A Nightmare On Elm Street series and like the dream killing ways of Freddy Kruger, then make sure to check this one out.

 Grade: C+

Friday The 13th: Halloween Night
Starring – Chris Seaver & Zach Allen       Directed by Chris Seaver
Released in 1994       Runtime: 34min       Not Rated

Plot: A survivor from a Michael Myers attack makes the mistake of going to Camp Crystal Lake and digging up the hockey mask of Jason Voorhees. When he puts it on, he is possessed by the spirit of Jason! Meanwhile Rodger and his friends are planning a massive Halloween Party even though Rodger is not sold on going to the party because he witnessed a murder done by Michael Myers many years back. While all this is going on, both Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are on the loose and are killing teens around the town including Rodger’s own friends! In the end Rodger runs for his life from both masked killers until he figures out a plan to trick them both that sends them both to hell and even saves the life of the man who is possessed by Jason’s spirit. While in Hell, Jason and Michael are greeted by Freddy Kruger who uses the puzzle box to bring the killers back and build a killer team.

Thoughts: This fan film is the first one I ever owned on VHS as well as was the first film I had ever seen of New York filmmaker Chris Seaver! The film is a fun mix of Horror and Comedy and blends together both icons of splatter Jason Voorhees of Friday The 13th and Michael Myers of Halloween in a slugfest that leaves both icons of fright at the gates of hell and in the hands of Freddy Kruger. The acting is super over the top and cheesy, and the kills are pure backyard effect gold with blood splattering from cups and spraying from tubs. Chris Seaver is one of my favorite indie micro budget filmmakers, and after seeing this film for the first time, we became friends after I contacted him. The look of Jason and Michael are nothing more than store bought Halloween masks with Jason’s looking like it came from Goes To Hell and Michael’s looks like a generic off brand one. Over all this film is pure Shot On Video gold that brings a great look at not only Fan Films from that time but also backyard epics. While flawed and silly, this film will always have a special place in my heart as it’s truly one that helped inspire me to keep making SOV films.

 Grade: B

Friday The 31st
Starring – Airon Armstrong & Richard Myles     Directed by Chris Notarile
Released in 2005     Runtime: 22min   Not Rated

Plot: John Tate, the son of Laurie Strode, is leaving his past behind after his mother’s death and along with his girlfriend Sara is on a road trip to a new life, but following is the masked killer Michael Myers. The traveling pair stop for gas in Camp Crystal Lake as Tommy Jarvis and his friend Sharon are running for their life from Jason Voorhees. And when John and Sara make the mistake of stopping at the house Tommy and Sharon are at, they become the target of Jason just as they all also become the intended victims of Michael. With Sharon and Tommy taken down, the pair of masked killers go one on one as our frightened heroes watch, and with Tommy injured badly, it’s up to John to save the day as well as the life of his lady Sara. In the end John knocks both Jason and Michael into a lake ending the fight…for now.

Thoughts: This fan made film from Blinky Productions pits Friday The 13th slasher Jason Voorhees against Halloween’s Michael Myers with poor John Tate his girlfriend Sara and Tommy Jarvis stuck in the middle of it. The film’s time building up both John and Tommy as well as their female love interests goes by really quickly, and the brutal fight between Jason and Michael is well played and done with the film showing both killers respect as well as trying to keep each film’s fans happy with adding heroes from both franchises as the leads. Plus the actors who play Jason and Michael do a great job of mimicking their movements, and you can tell they want to do the characters right. The atmosphere in the film is also well done, and while watching it, you feel like you’re in a place where help is nowhere in sight, and that really does play into the horror of the film. The film is also well shot, and the scripting keeps it all interesting as you want to see what is going to happen next. One thing that I wish is that the film was longer as I could have done with more of the fight between Jason and Michael as well as could have done with lots more of actress Niki Rubin aka Niki Notarile on the screen as I think she, like many in these fan films, could and should be in more horror films. Over all this is a solid fan film and shows why for decades Blinky Productions was considered the best of the best in that genre.

Grade: B+

Godzilla: Battle Royale
Starring – Billy Dubose & Vicka Xalka     Directed by Billy Dubose
Released in 2014     Runtime: 1hr 33min   Not Rated

Plot: Godzilla and other Kaiju (like Anguirus, Varan and Ebirah to name a few) are attacking Chicago unprovoked and are smashing and killing with no remorse and without reason and are crushing the city. The army sends in Matt “Razor Shark” Kennedy with his super charged aircraft to help the army to stop this Kaiju attack, and once he arrives at the site, he is visited by the pixies who inform him that Mothra and Gfantis are on their way to help mankind in this battle, and Japan is sending Mechagodzilla to help as well. But when the good guys are able to get a small victory when they find out that an Evil Alien Queen in her UFO is controlling the monsters and are able to take out her control over Godzilla, Anguirus, Varan and Manda who now are mad and wanting to fight Ebirah who is now joined by the likes of Gigan, Hedorah, Rhiahn, Orga, Zirgra, Biollante, Mechagodzilla (who is now being controlled by the aliens) as well as a zombie King Kong! Things look bad for the humans and good Kaiju as they are out numbered and are taking a beating, that is till Godzilla gets a little help from Mothra and super charges up and is able to turn the tables and along with the humans help is able to take back control of Mechagodzilla as well as blow up the UFO. Once defeated, the Alien Queen in a fit of anger turns herself into Queen Ghidorah and it takes all of the combined powers of the good Kaiju and the humans to bring her down. In the end Godzilla, Anguirus, Varan and Manda return to Monster Island and Mothra and Gfantis return to space as all the bad Kaiju are left defeated as the humans celebrate that Chicago is safe once more.

Thoughts: Wow, this is a great fan film that delivers lots of giant monsters fighting in an American city and delivers nonstop fighting and action as the humans are more the side characters and the monsters are the stars of the film. The costumes in this film range from cheesy to amazing, and I need to stress even the cheesy ones are pretty badass! Also used in shots are action figures of the characters that are wisely used to bring more detail and life to some of the Kaiju. They used the familiar Godzilla roars and soundtrack, and this gave it a really classic Toho feel. Plus making the aliens over act also felt right for a Godzilla film. While watching it, I really liked the plot of the aliens bringing back King Kong from the dead in order to once more do battle with Godzilla to show who the real King of the Monsters is, and for big parts of this battle royal fight, Godzilla and Zombie Kong duke it out. The fights in this film take place in front of a green screen but they also built sets for the actors to stomp around, and both come off pretty great for a fan film. You can tell that director Billy Dubose really does love Godzilla and his pals and made this film out of his love for them and even manages to get a cameo from actor Akira Takarada who was in many of the classic Toho films. Plus model Vicka Xaika looks great as the Alien Queen, and Billy himself is over the top fun as Razor Shark. Over all if you enjoy Godzilla and or King Kong films and enjoy a layer of cheese on your indie fan films, this one is for you.

Grade: A-

Gremlins Recall
Starring – Katherine Rodriguez & Randy Irwin       Directed by Ryan Patrick
Released in 2017       Runtime: 11min       Not Rated

Plot: WING is a company that is engineering Mogwais to be safe for the world to have as pets! But when Clara, a waitress at a small diner, meets a truck driver who is hauling Mogwais and has a white furred one named Trink, she becomes a fan of the little creatures, but makes a mistake when she shares a cherry from a milkshake with one that has not been treated and now the small diner is covered with Gremlins that are killing people and have stolen the WING truck and are ready for a rampage. Clara, the truck driver and Trink now must gear up and head out to stop this rampage.

Thoughts: While we wait for a Gremlins 3 from Hollywood, fan and indie filmmaker Ryan Patrick decided to take matters into his own hands and create a short fan film to fill that will fill the empty void Warner Brothers has left in our horror loving souls. And the first thing when watching this film that blew me away was just how amazing the Gremlins and Mogwai looked! I mean these things are big budget Hollywood looking creatures and really brought the feel of Gremlins alive. I like the fact that, in this film, the Gremlins are treated as scary horror characters and the humor is played down making it feel more like the original and less like Gremlins 2. The film’s acting is also really well done and there is not a weak link at all. Katherine Rodriguez who plays Clara is a likable character who could be the series next Billy. The only downsize to this fan film is that it ends before we get a full ending as we don’t see if Clara and her new friends stop the runaway Gremlins, and in 11 minutes I just didn’t get enough! This, no joke, is a great fan short film, and I wish that these guys would get money to make a full length fan film as the world needs it.

Grade: A

Jason vs. Leatherface
Starring – E.H. Jenkins & Lynda Huyck     Directed by Matt Spease
Released in 2003     Runtime: 26 min   Not Rated

Plot: Jason Voorhees is tricked by Freddy Kruger, who is acting as the voice of Mrs. Voorhees, to go to Texas in order to help Leatherface who is always being abused by his crazy family and is ordered to kill the Sawyer family if things do not go well. Once in Texas, Jason runs into W.E. Sawyer who takes the masked killer home to meet the family. All the while a couple in Texas become the targets of the Sawyers who want to make meals from them! In the end Jason snaps and kills Dirk Sawyer, Annabelle Sawyer as well as W.E., and this sparks Leatherface to go crazy and the pair of killers square off with finally Jason coming out the winner when he cuts the head off of Leatheface. But as Jason starts his walk back to Camp Crystal Lake, he finds himself being stalked by Michael Myers, and thus ends this fright flick.

Thoughts: This shot on video fan film was done by Evil On Queens Street director Matt Spease who also stars in the film as Jason Voorhees and Dirk Sawyer and shows that he is a fan of both the Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series as well as a fan of the Topps Comic mini series that pitted the two against each other. The film’s plot moves along at a good pace and dose not allow itself to drag. The effects are few and far and both costumes for Jason and Leatherface are the common store bought masks, but they are used well to showcase the characters and get the job done. The acting in the film is your typical no budget style with the cast trying their best to deliver believable lines in-between smiling. Plus it’s cool to see an early acting from not only Spease but also Lynda Huyck who was a lead in Evil On Queens Street. The battle between Jason and Leatherface is fun to watch and even at one point they pick up each other’s weapons to duel, so Jason swings a chainsaw as Leatherface uses a machete to try and kill the other. I also like how this film does not pull any punches and allows Jason to win the fight by truly killing Leatherface and setting up the sequel that would have Jason taking on Michael Myers from Halloween. The film also uses lots of modern (for the time) rock music as well as score cues from Friday The 13th films making it sound like a film from the era. Over all this is a fun and very cheesy little fan film that might have been left in the dust when it comes to Fan Films about both characters but did leave its mark on the genre as it’s one of the first ones I ever bought on DVD way back when. I would recommend this fan film for those who love shot on video films like myself or those who like fan films of either character as it delivers a quick and fun watch.

Grade: C+

King Kong
Starring – Sylvana Boonstra & Brett Charles   Directed by Jack Buchanan
Released In 2016     Runtime: 2hrs 35min   Not Rated

Plot: Film Maker Carl Denham teams with an oil hungry worker and have a mysterious map that leads to the island called Skull Island that is said to not only house a mythical creature perfect for a movie but also lots of raw oil! The pair of greedy men hire Captain Jack Driscoll and his crew to take them to it, and when a female reporter stowaway is found, she becomes the star of Denham’s film! But once at Skull Island, they are attacked by natives who kidnap and give Anne to their god, a giant gorilla they call King Kong, and Jack along with the ships crew must travel deep into the jungle and battle dinosaurs and giant insects to get her back. But Driscoll soon has other plans when the oil on the island is not good and the film is lost when the camera is destroyed, so he decides to knock out the giant gorilla King Kong and take him back to New York to become an attraction for the oil company and will make them both rich and famous. But once in New York, King Kong escapes when he thinks Anne is in danger and this leads to him dying to protect her as the army gun him down on the Empire State Building and he falls to his death, but not before making many of his attackers and kidnapers pay for their crimes.

Thoughts: This King Kong fan film has lots of heart and is clearly made by fans of the character who did their best to do it all justice even though they did not have the budget to pull off the special effects. But what they lacked in budget for effects, they made due with costumes, Claymation and digital effects that all came together for a fun and cheesy watch. The acting of course is amateurish, but I must say that everyone involved took their roles serious and gave it their all. Sylvana Boonstra, who play the part of Anne Darrow, does her best to act on a green screen and a giant plush hand that grabs her and make it seem legit. I really do think this is one of the most ambitious fan films I have ever seen done by people of this age ,and what sets it really apart as I said before is that everyone involved seemed to really believe in the project and director Jack Buchanan clearly is a massive Kong fan and was able to not only get his friends and family to help but also wrote a script that brings together elements of the King Kong films from 1933, 1976 and 2005 as well as add his own twists and plot changes and yet still respects the source material. What he does with the Carl Denham character in the film was a nice change of pace, and for those that want to watch this flick, I will not ruin it for you. King Kong himself is played by actor Bradley Dunn and is nothing more than a human in a gorilla suit placed into scenes with the help of a green screen and computer effects, but I will say they did a great job using different masks to express the emotions of Kong. Over all, this is a fun little watch that brings a new vision of Kong to the world of micro budget cinema.

Grade: B+

Night Of The Maniac
Starring – Eric Yoder & Tegan Moritz         Directed by Eric Yoder
Released in 2018     Runtime: 11min     Not Rated

Plot: Frank Zito is getting his murder tools ready as the TV news is reporting on his crimes that go unsolved. And once ready, he hits the streets and selects a cute blonde who has just gotten home as his target. The young woman goes about her business as Frank cuts stalks and waits to attack, and when he does, he chokes her until she passes out and then takes her to her bedroom where he ties her up and talks to her as if she is his mom who abused him and left him alone as a child. Frank snaps and with his knife he stabs and scalps the young woman and places it on a mannequin. And we end with him once more walking the streets.

Thoughts: Maniac is one of my favorite 80’s horror movies and when hearing about this fan film I had to check it out…and I was not disappointed in it, besides the fact I wish it was longer. The film builds up Frank Zito getting his tools of murder together in order to find a lone female to murder and the payout has him getting what he came for her scalp. The atmosphere of this short film is spot on and does showcase the gritty feel and nasty nature of the William Lustig film. The makeup effects done by Eric Yoder to make himself look like actor Joe Spinell are great and makes it feel like a deleted scene from the original film, and the blood effects are also affective. The film is well acted even if it has very little dialogue, and they make great use of the film’s score here as well. So if you enjoy Maniac from 1980 and like solid creepy short Horror Movies based on it, give this one a watch. Eric Yoder, I want to also say, is a name we might all want to watch out for as he could became a name in the world of Horror.

Grade: A

A Nightmare On Elm Street: Trial By Fire
Starring – Elspeth Summers & Ellie Nestaval       Directed by James Coleman II
Released in 2015     Runtime: 55min      Not Rated

Plot: Marilyn is a teenage girl living on Elm Street, and in her nightmare one night she witnesses the attack of her neighbor and friend by the one and only Freddy Kruger! After this Marilyn is haunted by visions of young kids warning her that Freddy is coming back for them all! Now poor Marilyn is plagued with terrible dreams and death is surrounding her, and she is slowly slipping into madness, as she cannot sleep in fear of her nightmares. The parents know that the sin of their past is back to kill their children or some think it’s a copycat killer, while others know that he could be back as something nonhuman. Marilyn wants to stop the killings and even goes to Nancy Thomas for help as she is the only known survivor of his nightmare slash attacks. In the end it looks like Marilyn might be the new key for Freddy to once more be at full power, and he uses her to get revenge on her father who was his lawyer on the night he was set on fire.

Thoughts: This is another A Nightmare On Elm Street fan film that was done by fans that love the series and wanted to add their own tale to the legend. This film once more follows Freddy Kruger as he slaughters and kills teenagers who live on Elm Street, the only change this time is that it looks like the teens don’t stand a chance against Freddy and evil wins with this round. And I kind of like that as most of the Nightmare On Elm Street Fan Films I have covered have all had Kruger on the losing end, and this one spiced it up a little. The film is shot really well, and I only noticed a few weird audio moments making the over all production pretty good. The acting is also well done with Elspeth Summers who plays Marilyn being the standout, and the un-credited actor who takes on the role of Freddy Kruger also does a great job. Plus with the quick looks we get of Freddy, the makeup looks pretty good help adding to the mood of the film. The short film does have some blood and pretty standard kills, it’s the use of CGI blood that takes away from many of the kill moments. Over all this is a pretty standard and entertaining fan film based on the mega hit film A Nightmare On Elm Street, and if you are tired of waiting for a new film in the series, maybe give this short a watch to help tide you over. I want to also note that this film was written by Jason Korsiak who directed “Freddy’s Return: A Nightmare Reborn”.

Grade: B

Predator: Dark Ages
Starring – Adrian Bouchet & Philip Lane       Directed by James Bushe
Released in 2015     Runtime: 27min     Not Rated

Plot: A village has hired the church for help to hunt a monster that has been killing their people, and the church sends in a group of Templar Knights and a Muslim scholar into the woods after it. The monster is a Predator, and one by one he hunts and kills the knights leaving only one left as well as the scholar who flees for his life when the lone knight decides to have a showdown with The Predator. In the end, the knight tries his best to defeat it but must get the help of scholar in the end who makes a deal with the Predator saving not only the knights life but his own.

Thoughts: This short film is amazing and has a fantastic story that brings the time of the crusades together with the world of science fiction horror. First thing I need to point out is the film is well shot and feels like a real horror flick that you could watch on cable on a late night and director James Bushe knows his stuff when it comes to filming as well as the folklore of Predator. I like the idea of Templar Knights armed with swords, shields, bows and crossbows up against the universe’s most talented hunting killing machine, as I am a big fan of the history of the Templar Knights and really enjoy the hell out of the Predator films…so this mash up was perfect for me. The costume for the Predator looks great as does the armor for the knights, and the effects of the gore are pretty cool and mix practical and digital. The film’s runtime goes really fast and it really does feel like you are watching a film in the Predator series as all the formula that makes those films great are in this short, the only one complaint I do have is that I wish that at some point in the short The Predator would have removed his metal mask and we would have gotten a good look at his ugly mug…but over all its just a minor complaint. This film also uses bits of the iconic score theme from the series but also ads its own touch, and it’s solid. Over all if you’re a fan of Predator, give this one a watch as its really cool and well done.

Grade: A

Return Of The Witch
Starring – Brandon Tabatto & Shanna Ammons       Directed by Brandon Tabatto
Released in 2018     Runtime: 26min     Not Rated

Plot: After the tragic events of 1982 that lead to the deaths of millions of small kids who wore their Silver Shamrock masks on Halloween night a cursed commercial played. And the hero of the event is Dr. Daniel Challis, who has written a book about the cult he battled and the lives he did and didn’t save from Conal Cochran, the owner of Silver Shamrock the warlock and leader of the cult. Now in 2018 Silver Shamrock is gearing up for a comeback with Connor Cochran as the owner, and he wants to clear his family’s name and become the leader once more of high end Halloween masks. The news is having a field day with this return and is asking people how they feel about this company coming back and making masks with the world being split with many wanting them gone forever. The night of their big return, Silver Shamrock plans a big give away commercial that will not only be on TV but also all over social media! Roger is the grandson of Daniel Challis and is wanting to expose Silver Shamrock once and for all and is now kidnapped and forced to wear a mask and watch the commercial and meet his maker. As the commercial is about to air, people all over wear their masks and soon find themselves dead as Connor wins and millions more die for their cause. And this time around Daniel Challis loses not only innocent lives, but also his own grandson.

Thoughts: Since it s release in 1982, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch has gained a pretty loyal cult following, and it comes to no shock that in 2018 it got its very own fan made sequel to give watchers a nice follow up to the events. And it’s a nice touch to add the Conal Cochran’s grandson as the short film’s villain and Dr. Daniel Challis as the hero once more showing that these two families all these years have a game of cat and mouse to play still. I also like how they added Challis’s grandson in the fold and for a split second, you think he will be the film’s hero….and nope he dies horribly! The film uses footage and sound clips of actor Tom Atkins from other films in order to make it seem like he is part of the film, and I must say it works pretty well for this style of film. The acting is cheesy and over the top for the most part and I feel as a viewer they spend way too much of the runtime on News Broadcasts that are the cheesiest parts of the short film. The plot is pretty cool, and I like how the world is split on the return of a company that was accused of killing many kids back in the 80’s. While this is a pretty good fan film I think for me the overuse of the Silver Shamrock commercial and jingle as well as the over long News stuff left me wanting more of something a little different. Clearly made by fans of Halloween III and highly skilled makers, this one just is kind of okay in my book and I hope they do more fan HIII films in the future so I can see if Connor gets what’s coming to him. Oh I should also note that this film also uses the masks from Halloween III so you get to see the Skeleton, Pumpkin and Witch back in action…well remolds of them any way.

Grade: C

Sally’s Escape From Hell
Starring – Jennie Yates & Roderick Klimek      Directed by Gus Trapani
Released in 2016     Runtime: 9min     Not Rated

Plot: Sally Hardesty wakes up a prisoner in the home of the Sawyer family and is greeted by the sinister Hitchhiker and his brother Leatherface who torment her as she is tied up in their basement. Sally is able to break free and escape the house but behind her is the Hitchhiker who slashes her with his razor and Leatherface with his chainsaw each wanting to end the young ladies life. Even a passer by with a gun meets his end by the blade of the Hitchhiker who also ends up shooting his murderer dead! In the end Sally is able to escape in the back of a pickup truck as Leatherface swings his chainsaw in the middle of the road.

Thoughts: This fan film is really just a short reimagine of the original 1974 films ending and removes the iconic dinner scene for a more torture in the a basement scene. The film’s production looks great and the appearance of Leatherface captures the original film’s style making it feel like it could very well been a deleted scene. The actors all do a great job in their roles and actress Jennie Yates who played Sally had to scream her head off in the role, and I am surprised she did not lose her voice! They also did a pretty great job hiding the fact they shot this in modern times and masked elements that would have given away the decade really well. The downside for me about this fan film is that it did not really feel like a short film and just kind of felt like a scene, and this just left me slightly underwhelmed and just wanting more…but keep in mind this is still a really fantastic well made fan fright flick. Not much else to say besides fans of Texas Chainsaw Massacre should really enjoy this one.

Grade: B-

Sawyer
Starring – Shanna Ammons & Kage Walker     Directed by Brandon Tobatto
Released in 2018     Runtime: 18min     Not Rated

Plot: A couple are making a documentary about the Sawyer family and the crime spree they did that was dubbed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre by the media. They give a small history of the terrible events that survivor Sally Hardesty went through as well as a little about the Sawyer family who committed the crimes. All the while they are showing the locations that the events took place at. And finally the pair decided to visit the last known location of the Sawyer family that is an abandoned trailer park, and they are attacked by Leatherface who is the only living member of the family left as Drayton has just died and been buried behind the rundown trailer. After killing the male, the female is able to get away and Leatherface does the chainsaw dance.

Thoughts: This Texas Chainsaw Massacre fan film has a good storyline, but just is not really executed very well and leaves you wondering slightly why it was made. This fan film acts as if all the sequels did not happen and that the Sawyer family have been on the run sense the events of 1973. And it’s really a great idea to have thrill seeking fame seekers to visit the places these crimes took place in order to make a video. I also like the idea that all the other family members passed away and now Leatherface who is living in a small rundown trailer in an abandoned park is the only one left. Now the cons of this short are they spend way to much of the short runtime having actress Shanna Ammons telling us the story of the first film as well as the new history of the trailer park being their last known location…while all good, we just spend way to much time on it. I also scratch my head at some of the dumb actions of our two leads who don’t run when they should and who also talk loud when Leatherface is inches away about the smell of her perfume. Another small thing that bothered me is the fact the actor who plays Leatherface has tattoos all over his arms making it seem out of place…like how did he get them? I doubt Leatherface could walk into a tattoo parlor and demand tats! Plus the film is bloodless and even the one death in the film comes off lackluster and kind of boring. Over all this was an okay fan film but not the best TCM fan film…in fact not even in the ballpark of any of the other Leatherface films on this list. Oh and I should note that Leatherface has about three different looks in this film and that as well is a nice touch.

Grade: C-

Scream
Starring – Natalie Ryan & Gretchen Sailer         Directed by William Guanzon
Released in 2017?   Runtime: 1hr     Not Rated

Plot: A couple home for the night are attacked and killed by a masked killer causing fear and terror to run all around town. And when the bodies start pilling up, Sidney who’s mother was the start of the murders and her friends gather for a party that is crashed by the masked killer who also targets the town’s deputy and top news reporter Gail Weathers all to get to Sidney who is the main target of this murder spree. In the end Sidney must come face to face with her attacker or attackers and find out the truth about her mother as well as fight to survive.

Thoughts: Scream was the movie in the 1990’s that brought horror back to being box office hits and inspired a whole new generation of horror fans to create films of all types of budgets again. And filmmaker William Guanzon was so inspired by Scream and its sequels that he decided to remake the original film with his friends and add in his own twists and extra characters. The film for the post part follows the original story pretty closely and many of the films quotable lines are used, but what is different is who the killer or killers are in his fan reimagining. And the fact they do spice up who or whom the killer(s) are brings a new level of watch-ability to the film and helps make it feel like a familiar yet new experience viewing. The only downside for me is that Ghostface does not show up as much as I feel he should, and when on screen he seems to come and go very fast leaving you wanting more and not in a great way. The film does have some pretty cool kills that shows some cool indie style effects. The runaway actress in this film is Natalie Ryan who plays Sidney as I feel she does a good job in her part and I would like to see her do more horror movies in the future. Over this Scream remake fan film is a fun watch and is a nice way to pass the time as we all wait for a Scream 5 or a reboot to that series.

Grade: B-

TCM: The Last Round Up Rollin’ Grill
Starring – Marie M. & Ali Gustafson         Directed by Justin Saenz
Released in 2018       Runtime: 25min     Not Rated

Plot: Terri and Greg are driving through Texas to make it to a wedding when they pick up beautiful hitchhiker Caroline who is on her way to Austin to stay with her sister. While together the couple befriends Caroline and decide to just drop her off before they go to the wedding at her destination even if it’s a few miles out of their way. But while on this trip, they come across a man who has been gravely injured and they stop to help only for them to become the targets of Leatherface and his evil brother The Hitchhiker! One by one Leatherface kills the travelers with his chainsaw and trusty hammer and with her new friends dead Caroline must do what she can to stay alive against the Sawyer family.

Thoughts: This fan film acts as a prequel to the 1974 classic and shows how The Hitchhiker got his camera and how Leatherface got his makeup done face, not to mention it really does kind of feel like it could take place in the cinematic universe of the TCM film series. The film captures the gritty and downbeat nature of Leatherface and his family and shows that they kill for not pleasure (though I am sure they do take some joy in it) but for food as they eat who they kill. The film does a great job also bringing the blood and meat of a slasher film but this also does not follow the almost bloodless original film that this event is supposed to pre-date. The look of Leatherface is good and the mask and his gear look fantastic and it’s clear these items are a step above most store bought masks. The Hitchhiker is a little off and not just in his appearance but mostly in his line delivery and over all attitude presentation. The victims are all likable with Marie M. who played Caroline being the stand out as she is a great scream queen and is hypnotically beautiful. I also like the use of old country music as well as music taken from the score from the original film making it feel right. Over all if you’re a fan of TCM and enjoy retro style fan films, I would say check this one out as its very enjoyable and delivers a very close Chainsaw experience as we wait for the next installment from Legendary Pictures.

Grade: A-

The Thing: Who Goes There?
Starring – Shawn Ronzio & Dan Miller       Directed by Eric Yoder
Released in 2017      Runtime: 11min       Not Rated

Plot: A group of men in the arctic are all at odds with themselves as something has been affecting them and turning them into monsters. One member with a gun is holding the other hostage and is forcing them to all give blood and test it with fire as the thing hates fire. One by one he tests the blood until one of the man exposes himself to be The Thing, and it transformers and attacks and kills all those near it. In the end only the man with the gun is left and he must face his fear as he is left alone with The Thing in a cold cruel world far from any help. Can this man survive or will he also fall to the grip of The Thing.

Thoughts: The Thing remake is a film that for many has surpassed the original it was based on, and in fact the remake even spawned a sequel and is almost always on people’s top Horror Movie lists. And when fan and effect artist Eric Yoder decided he was going to make a fan film of The Thing, many fans were happy as sadly the last film was made in 2011 and only a rumor has been spreading about another sequel being in the works in Hollywood. Yoder in his short fan film captures the mood and atmosphere of John Carpenter’s The Thing as well as it’s “who is infected” paranoia that spreads not only for the characters in the movie but to us the viewer as well. This short film makes you also feel very claustrophobic as it takes place in a small base in the middle of the arctic with snow all around. This helps set the mood in your mind of what would you do in this scenario. The acting is well done and each takes their roles very seriously and come off believable as coworkers who have turned on each other over fear. The effects in this short film are hands down the best in any of the other fan films we are covering on this update and look like they could be in a true Hollywood sequel. The only downside is that the runtime is very short and leaves you as the viewer wanting more and wishing this was at least 20-25 minutes longer. Fans of The Thing should check this one out as I think you will have a blast watching it.

Grade: A-

Welcome To Fright Night
Starring – Eric Yoder & Lucio Fernandez       Directed by Brandon Medina
Released in 2016     Runtime: 37min       Not Rated

Plot: Charlie is a man who is having relationship issues with his girlfriend Amy, and worse notices his new neighbor is a little strange and is named Jerry who clearly has a dark side and is by all accounts a vampire! Charlie takes notes from his favorite show Fright Night hosted by Peter Vincent and tries to get the help of his friend Evil Ed to come up with a plan…but all he really does is get the attention of Jerry who is pissed off and shows he truly is a vampire and not to be messed with. Charlie after a run in with Jerry meets Horror Host Jerry Vincent at a public signing and is as well laughed at and thrown out where he meets up with Evil and Amy who in turn gets Peter Vincent to meet with Charlie to meet with Jerry and he finds that he is in fact a vampire. Jerry that night turns Evil into a vampire and uses his charm to kidnap and turn Amy as well. Now Charlie and Peter must team up and get Amy back and to do so they must battle not only Evil Ed but also the vampire Jerry!

Thoughts: This Fright Night fan flick does a good job of remaking the original film into a short and adding it’s own flare and touches. The acting is pretty well done and each take their roles very seriously and deliver good performances. The directing is well done and shows that Brandon Medina has talent and a love for Fright Night. The downside to the film is at times the editing and sound mix is a little odd and this can be distracting. The films score is taken from the original film so it offers a nice touch and helps hide some of the sound flaws. The film’s vampire effects are really cool and come off scary when they need to be and some of the “gore” effects as well are well done and shows talent once more…I am sure they were done by the talented Eric Yoder who truly should be working on bigger budget horror films. The film’s story movies at a fast pace and many characters from the film have been removed to move it along and keep it tighter, and while this is a great idea it also loses some moments that are needed like the death of Jerry’s butler sidekick who has been removed from the short all together. Over all this is a fun fan film that will please fans of Fright Night.

Grade: B-

Wow, many of these films were fantastic and many of them are surely ones that I look forward to watching again and hope many of you will also give them a watch on YouTube, DVD or however you can get your hands on a copy! For me the best films that I gave the highest grades would be in no order “Predator: Dark Ages”, “Night Of The Maniac” and “Gremlins Recall” with many others like “Dracula A.D. 2015”, “King Kong (2015)” and “Godzilla: Battle Royal” being must watches! And while some of the films were not ground breaking, even those deserve to be watched and given a chance. I hope you enjoyed this update that showcased these Horror Fan Films and for our next update we will be going back to comics and will be taking a look at the Horror Movie Jennifer’s Body and the Graphic Novel based on it….plus I will be turning Rotten Ink over to my dear friend Natalie Claude for this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update as this is one of her favorite Horror Films and one that means something to her. So until next time, read a comic of three, watch a fan film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. So be ready soon for Natalie to talk Jennifer’s Body!

Matt Goes To The Movies 2018

The Rotten Ink Theater is open once more, and man, was this a crazy year at the cinema filled with lots of Superhero, Horror and Sequel motion pictures that all lead to great times at all my normal favorite theaters like Rave, Cinemark, Regal and Cranberry. One thing that really made this year a great one is the fact that so many Horror Movies were released as well as many highly anticipated sequels to big franchises making for almost weekly visits to see films I was excited for. Last year really was a busy one for me as I had lots of things to do for Sparkle Comics, Independent B Movie, Rockstar Pro Wrestling, Game Swap, Danberry Cinema and even Rotten Ink so getting away to watch a movie at the cinema was really a great way to relax and put all my stress away for a small time and enjoy the wonders of the silver screen. So if you’re ready, let’s take a look at the movies of 2018, and I’ll share my favorites with you.

So to kick this off right, let’s take a look at the Action Movies of 2018 that I saw in the theater. While we did not get a new Arnold or Sly film, we did have some pretty good ones as you will see below. So get ready to see what Pure Action films made my list!

# 11

12 Strong is based on real events that took place after September 11, 2001 and follows Captain Mitch Nelson and his team of 11 soldiers as they join forces with General Abdul Rashid Dostum of The Northern Alliance in Afghanistan and his horseback soldiers as they take on and defeat the terrorist scum who pulled off that coward attack. This film follows their battles as they defeat the terrorist and push them out of cities they took over in Afghanistan. The film documents the first US battle with the terrorist after 9/11. This was a pretty good war film based mostly on true events and stars Chris Hemsworth as Nelson, who does a great job in the role. The film did okay for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office bringing in $45,500,164.00 on a budget of $35 million. While I am not a War Movie fan, this one was entertaining and delivered a good popcorn film on the big screen.

# 10

The classic 1974 vigilante film Death Wish gets the remake treatment thanks to MGM and director Elli Roth! Dr. Paul Kersey is a man who has it all; a nice house, a beautiful wife and a daughter who is a sport star and about to go to collage. But his perfect world changes when a group of three burglars break into his house while he is at work and attack his daughter, putting her into a coma, and murder his wife. The police have no leads and with this Paul decides to take the law into his own hands and becomes a vigilante, killing criminals and tracking down those who did this to his family. Actor Bruce Willis steps into the role of Paul Kersey, and while he does an okay job, he is by no means as good as Charles Bronson who played the role before him in 5 films. The film is gritty and not too over the top with blood, delivering a solid and entertaining action film that was a fun popcorn film to sit in the theater and watch. The film did poorly for MGM at the US Box Office bringing on only $34,013,419.00 on a $30 million budget. While not a perfect film and a very much unnecessary remake, it packs a small punch, and I was entertained. Check it out via rental or DVD.

# 9

Will Sawyer was a FBI rescue team leader who during a hostage situation has one of his legs blown off  and is now a security expert who along with his family are in Hong Kong to check the security of a high rise called The Pearl that becomes the target of a terrorist group. Worse, his family is stuck inside the now burning building with a group of highly armed men who want the building creator’s secrets, and he must find out a way to get inside and save them. This is a like a 2018 version of Die Hard, and The Rock does a great job as Will Sawyer. It was cool to see Neve Campbell again in a blockbuster movie playing his wife. The film did not do that great at the US Box Office for Universal as it only brought in $67,796,355.00 on a budget of $125 million, by all accounts making it a bomb. While it might not have been a massive summer hit, Skyscraper was a fun one to see on the big screen.

# 8

Mary is a tough as nails hit woman for a crime family that feels bad after a hit leaves a young child homeless and having to work the streets as a drug runner for a sleazy drug pusher. But once Mary saves the young kid’s life, she turns her own life upside down and risks it all in order to give him a better life now. This is a really fun action drama that keeps you as the viewer entertained, all the while unwinding the plot that is filled with lies, corruption and greed, and once Mary gets started in the final scene there is no stopping her! This film stars Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown and Danny Glover, and they are all fantastic in their roles. Sadly this film did just okay at the US Box Office for Sony as it only did $20,877,013.00 on a budget of $14 million. While this might not have been a life changing action drama film, it still was a very entertaining one that sadly slipped under the radar for most of the move going public.

# 7

England is under a cyber attack, and the identities of all the members of M17 have been exposed to the world. The prime minister is in a bad spot when cyber attacks keep happing. So they call in former M17 spy now school teacher Johnny English to find out who is behind the attacks while English government brings in cyber hot shot Jason Volta to try and stop the attacks. Armed with old school spy tech and his trusty assistant Bough, our goofy spy hero uncovers not only a beautiful Russian spy but also who is behind the cyber attacks now threatening the world’s internet! And with his bumbling ways, Johnny once more stumbles his way into saving the day. This third film in the Johnny English series is lots of goofy fun and has some silly moments that will have you chuckling out loud. Rowan Atkinson is master of facial expression comedy and really does a fantastic job of making Johnny English a fun comedic character. This fun action comedy film also stars Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy, Ben Miller and Olga Kurylenko. This film sadly did not do well for Universal in the US as it brought in only $4,285,545.00 on a budget of $25 million. While this third film was not a mega hit, I found it to be a very entertaining film that features one of the world’s best comedians. Check it out if you enjoyed the other two films in the series or just like spy films mixed with childish humor.

# 6

CIA Special Activities Division Officer Matt Graver has been hired to start a war in Mexico that would pit the cartels against each other, and he calls on his crew including Alejandro Gillick as all rules are off the table. But things go wrong when they kidnap a drug lord’s daughter and the local police set up an ambush that leaves Alejandro behind with the daughter in Mexico and Graver getting orders from the Government to kill everyone who can link the U.S. to this war including the young girl and Alejandro! So the film becomes a fight to get over the border and back in America for Alejandro, who refuses to leave the young girl behind and must come face to face with gang members who deal in human trafficking who as well want him dead as one of their own knows he works for our Government. This is a great sequel that adds more thrills and action to the Sicario saga, and once more Benicio del Toro does a fantastic job of being an action star who adds elements of drama and real life feel to his character. The film did just okay for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $50,072,235.00 on a budget of $35 million. Worth watching if you enjoyed the first film or just want to see Benicio take on drug cartels again.

# 5

Laura Croft is a young woman whose rich father went missing when she was just a young girl, and after years of being a strong minded independent woman she has found a clue to where her father disappeared to and sets out on a adventure to find him, but things are not that simple as she finds that he is on an island with some very bad people who have very bad intentions. Is Laura’s father alive? Will she be able to get off the island alive? Who is the main person behind the bad guys? All these questions are answered in this reboot to the Tomb Raider movie series. This was a fun video game inspired movie and holds true to the route the game series is taking. Sadly the film did not do that great for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office as it only did $57,409,662.00 on a budget of $94 million and the foreign box office is what saved the day and make it profitable. If you enjoy adventure films, this is one you need to check out on DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital.

# 4

Youngblood Priest is a low key drug kingpin in the world of cocaine, and he is so low key that another drug ring has moved in called the Snow Patrol and when things get bad Priest thinks of one final hustle that will leave he and his two girlfriends and friends set for life…all he has to do is out smart his rivals, a Mexican drug cartel and a pair of dirty cops to do it! This is a modern remake of the 1972 movie of the same name, and to my surprise, it was one heck of a good action crime drama film. The film works on so many levels and really brings the classic Blaxploitation film to a modern audience, and while the film is its own, it does justice to the original. Actor Trevor Jackson was a great choice to play Priest as he makes you really care and cheer for a drug seller! Plus actress Andrea Londo is stunning and does fantastic in her role as Cynthia, one of Priest’s girlfriends who is also a fighter when it comes to fight or flight situations. Sadly the film did not do that well for Columbia at the US Box Office as it had a budget of $16 million and only brought in $20,545,116.00. This is one of those films I will own on DVD and hope that it finds a cult following on home media and digital.

# 3

Robert McCall is at it again helping others out in a world filled with injustice and crime that slips under the radar. But things get really personal when someone makes the mistake of killing his best friend, and now they don’t know what they have unleashed on themselves! Along his journey to uncover the truth and get revenge, he befriends a young troubled youth who also becomes a pawn in the sick game of the bad guys who all now have a trained killer on their tail known as Robert McCall. This is a great sequel that delivers some great action and a solid story and is just another chapter in the quest of Robert McCall, and I hope a third film is to come. Denzel Washington is fantastic as Robert, and this film did just okay for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $102,084,362.00 on a budget of $62 million and was a great summer popcorn film that I enjoyed seeing in the theater.

# 2

Adonis Creed has fought his way to become the boxing heavyweight champion and soon finds himself the target of the son of Ivan Drago who wants to bring honor back to his family’s name.  Now a showdown between two families with a long bad history must once more clash to settle scores and for their own pride. And worse for Adonis, he must also come face to face with his love becoming more deaf, becoming a father as well as facing a true butt whooping during their first encounter. This is a great film that, just like the original, captures the magic and feel of the Rocky series and leaves you wanting to see more movies and more of the life of Adonis Creed and his family. Plus seeing Sylvester Stallone as Rocky once more is always a must see on the big screen. Plus for those who don’t know Drago’s son is trained by Ivan who is once more played by Dolph Lundgren! This movie did well for MGM at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $112,148,125 on a budget of $50 million. This is a must see film for fans of Rocky, boxing, Drama, Action and those who just enjoy a great movie…also a must own on home media for me!

# 1

Ethan Hunt and his team are at it again, and this time they have to go undercover to stop a sinister plan that involves nuclear bombs and saving the life of a known terrorist. The bad thing is someone has set them up as well to look like they are working with the bad guys as double agents. Now Ethan must kick it into high gear and clear his name as well as save the world from a terrible bomb. This is hands down for me the best film in the Mission Impossible series as, to be honest, I have never been that big of a fan of the series. The thing about this film is that it has lots of action as well as twists and turns that kept me glued to the edge of my seat. And this is a pure popcorn film that was a great way to enjoy a big budget blockbuster flick on the big screen. Tom Cruise is fantastic as Ethan Hunt and brings a very likable quality to the character as you find yourself cheering for him the whole way. The film did great for Paramount in the US bringing in $220,159,104.00 on a budget of $178 million, and worldwide it did even better bringing in over $500 million more! This action film is worth seeing if you like spies and car chases in your films. Worth owning for sure as well if you are into Mission Impossible movies.

So as you can see, the cinema was packed with some great action films that not only brought the explosions but also brought some laughs and sporting flare. So with that, let’s take a look at Sci-Fi and Fantasy films that entertained me this year in the theater.

# 10

At birth Samson was chosen by God to lead the Hebrews to a better life and is given lots of pure power and strength, but these Godly gifts came with rules like his hands could not touch the dead, he cannot drink wine and must not ever get his hair cut. Samson is a showoff who enjoys his gifts, and when he meets the love of his life Taren, who is a slave girl to the Philistine King and his evil son, he is pushed to break two of the rules in his quest to marry her as he drinks wine and must touch the dead in order to settle a debt. After the murder of his bride at the hands of the King’s Son, a war is waged that leaves Samson alone killing hundreds of soldiers and being left alone to rule his people. That is until he falls in love with Delilah, who is working along side the Philistines and cuts his hair that allows the army remove his eyes and take him prisoner! In the end Samson finds that God is still with him, and he brings the pillars down in the castle before he can be killed and becomes an inspiration to Hebrews to rise up for their God. This religious sword and sandal film was lots of fun to watch on the big screen, and while a little too long, it was entertaining. The film brought in $4,719,928.00 for Pure Flix as the US Box Office on an unknown budget. It was lots of fun to see if you enjoy cheesy sword and sandal films that also pack a religious history lesson in made for TV production levels.

# 8

A science experiment goes horribly wrong in space, and an accident sends canisters to earth that ends up turning a wolf, alligator and a white gorilla into rage filled giant monsters! The gorilla is named George and was living in a zoo, and Davis Okoye was the man saved him from poachers when he was a baby and now wants to find a cure and save his friend from a fate set by the government who want to kill them and the company responsible for the canisters want to cover their tracks. This was a fun and silly film that brought the Midway video games alive to the big screen. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and the movie did poorly for New Line Cinema at the US Boxoffice only bringing in $95,089,209.00 on a budget of $120 million. But the film did do well at the foreign box office, making it a hit over all. Worth seeing if you enjoy giant monsters and like the video game, even if it strays very far away from it.

# 7

Grey Trace is a mechanic who fixes up classic muscles cars as his wife Asha works for a company that develops computers that are to help mankind. But when out to celebrate a car sale, the couple are attacked. Asha is killed, and Grey is shot and paralyzed leaving him to a life in a wheelchair and help from robots and his mother. But Grey gets a second chance at life as well as revenge when one of his clients, a tech genius, designs a chip that will help Grey walk again as well as will talk to him in his mind as well as take over when needed! The chip is called STEM, and together they must find his wife’s murderers as well as dodge the police and the tech maker who wants to stop their quest for just revenge. This is a fun action and sci-fi film that seems like it could fit perfect in the world of Blade Runner if that world had a rich suburbs! Logan Marshall-Green does a fantastic job as Grey and Simon Maiden is great as the voice of STEM, and this once more shows that Blumhouse is one of the best film producing companies going today as they get Horror and Science Fiction and they almost always deliver a entertaining movie. The film did okay for Blumhouse at the US Box Office bringing in $11,916,615.00 on a budget of $5 million. This one is an enjoyable film with some cool surprises and blends action and sci-fi together really well.

# 6

Robin Of Loxley is a rich man who has fallen in love with a thief named Marian who ends up also falling madly in love with him. The pair spend lots of time together until Robin is drafted to fight in the crusade war.  Years pass, and he is reported dead and returns to find that he has lost every thing his love, his house and his money all because of the greed of the Sheriff Of Nottingham who has plans to gain power. Working with an Arab Warrior named John, they come up with a plan to rob from the rich and greedy church and help lead an uprising of the people who have been drained dry of their money by the rich and greedy. But when things get really bad, and the poor are being bullied and killed, Robin must make his move and bring down the Sheriff as well as win the heart of Marian once more. This was a very fun and silly film that was not only an adventure film but does also have a message about the poor standing together against the 1% who rule our their lives. The film stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn and Eve Hewson who is singer Bono’s daughter! This film did very poorly for Lionsgate at the US Box Office bringing in only $30,637,019.00 on a budget of $100 million. While the critics and reviews will tell you how terrible this movie is, I will tell you it’s a fun watch that you can check your brain at the door and eat some popcorn and enjoy a new adventure for classic hero Robin Hood.

# 5

Christopher Robin is a young boy whose best friend is a small stuff bear named Winnie the Pooh, who is alive as well as other plush dolls that he meets after crawling through a whole in a tree. Grown up Christopher has a family, a demanding job and seems to forget about his youthful friends who all await for his return. But when Pooh comes to visit him in London, Christopher must balance his work as well as his family who have also seemed to be left behind due to work. This is fun family film that brings the classic character to life in a live action film that will warm your heart. All the characters are done so well and will surely please the fans who grew up loving them. The film did just okay for Disney in the US bringing in $99,215.042.00 on a budget of $75 million. If you like Winnie the Pooh and classic Disney family fun, check this one out.

# 4

Cybertron is at war, and the Autobots must leave in order to regroup and gather their troops as they are losing. Bumblebee is sent to Earth in order to set up a base for the Autobots once they are all gathered up. Once on Earth, he is attacked by the army as well as a Decepticon and loses not only his memory but also his voice and turns into a VW Bug before shutting down. Time passes, and young lady Charlie ends up getting the rundown bug from a junkyard and fixes it and discovers that her car is really a robot. They become close friends and must fight when Decepticon bounty hunters team with the army in order to find the reactivated Bumblebee! With the army really wanting to kill all the space robots and the Decepticons wanting to not only kill the Autobots but wanting to take over the Earth, things are really stacked against Bumblebee and Charlie. This is a Transformer film done right and wipes away the bad taste of the Platinum Dunes series that spent more time making the main characters look nothing like they should. This one makes them look like their cartoon counterparts. Over all this is a great fun Transformers film and shows that this series is on the right track and has lots of offer still at the theater. As of this update’s posting, the film has done $67,178,020.00 on a budget of $135 million making it have a fight to meet its budget for Paramount. I would say this is the best live action Transformers movie thus far and is worth a watch.

# 3

Han is a young man living on a terrible planet that forces the orphaned to steal for slimy crime bosses, and he wants to smuggle some coaxium to get his girlfriend Qi’ra and himself off it and away from it all. During their escape, he makes it out, and she is captured. Over the years Han joins the empire and meets a group of smugglers that he ends up joining with the end goal being to get his own ship and take Qi’ra off the planet. But things go wrong as he gets in deep with an evil smuggler ring that wants his group to pull off a crazy heist and finds that his true love Qi’ra is also tied to this dangerous group! Also along the way, he meets Chewbacca, a Wookie, and smuggler Lando Calrissian who become friends of his for life. This Star Wars Story film is filled with action, drama and twists and brings a classic Han Solo legend story to life. The downside is none of the threats are really threats as we all know Han, Chewie and Lando will come out of this film unharmed. The film did blah for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $213,767,512.00 on a budget of $275 million making it the least profitable in the film series. While not life changing, it was still a very enjoyable film that has that Star Wars charm. I should also note that Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover all do fantastic work in their roles, and the film does have a really cool cameo from a classic Sith character from the past.

# 2

Clara is a young woman who is an inventor and is having a very hard time dealing with the death of her mother, and this has stressed her relationship with her father. On Christmas, Clara gets a final gift from her mother that’s a locked egg box with no key, and after going to a big Christmas party and talking with her Grandfather, she finds herself following a string to get her gift and ends up in another realm that is at war with itself and finds that she is now the Queen of the land as her mother was before her! Now she must get a key from Mother Ginger who is blamed for the worlds’ issues. But soon Clara along with her new friend, a nutcracker soldier Captain Hoffman, must find a way to bring peace to the world as well as learn who to trust as well as Clara to find answers about her mother. This was a real fun popcorn movie to watch in the theater and was one I had zero expectations for that I ended up really liking as I found it to feel like a classic 80’s style family film. The film sadly did not do that well for Disney at the US Box Office only bringing in $54,509,683.00 on a massive budget of $120 million. While a bomb in the theater, I hope this film finds more success on the home media market. Worth a watch and one I would watch again.

# 1

The dinosaurs of the now defunct Jurassic World theme park are in trouble as the volcano on the island is about to erupt and kill them all off! Many in the government are saying that we should not save the dinosaurs, while a group of protesters lead by Claire Dearing want to save them as they are living creatures. With backing from the former owners of the park, a rescue mission is put into place, and they even are able to get former park trainer Owen Grady. But the rescuers soon find out that their backers really didn’t care about saving the lives of the dinos and really want to engineer them as well as sell them as pets to the rich and powerful. This is such a fun adventure film that adds in lots of horror elements and has some surprises as well as twists that make for a great popcorn film that was a great watch in the theater. In fact, this film sets up another sequel that I am very much looking forward to watching once released in 2020. The film did fantastic for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in a massive $416,769,345.00 on a budget of $170 million showing that this franchise is back and is a powerhouse when getting viewers into the theater. This was hands down my favorite Sci-Fi film of the year and is one that’s a must own for me on home media.

Some pretty great new sequels released this year for Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and as you can also see, some pretty great original ones as well. I mean this year we got movies starring characters like Han Solo, Samson, Robin Hood and Bumblebee and all entertained this moviegoer. But next let’s see what 2018 had to offer in the way of Superheroes!

# 7

Teenager Miles Morales witnesses the death of Spider-Man, but only after he himself has been bitten by a radioactive spider and gained powers. Kinpin has created a dimension portal in hopes of bringing his wife and son back after their deaths, and by accident he brings spider people from other dimensions in like Spider-Gwen and Spider-Ham! Now Miles must find his inner Spider-Man in order to send all his other Spider cohorts back to their dimensions as well as stop the Kingpin and his goons from ever using the world changing machine again. This is a fun animated film that brings the nature of Spider-Man onto the big screen and delivers moviegoers their first real look at Miles Morales, who was shown to comic readers many years back when he took over as Spidey after the “death” of Peter Parker. This film has been a hit with critics and viewers alike and as of this update being posted has brought in $104,148,730.00 on a budget of $90 million for Sony. While many say it’s the best Spider-Man and or Superhero film of all time, I found it to be enjoyable but far from the best. Worth watching for those who like their hero movies animated and silly as it delivers the action.

# 6

Eddie Brock is a hard-hitting TV news reporter who makes the mistake of trying to bring down a high-powered businessman who has the power to ruin Eddie’s life and he does just that as the one time popular reporter looses his job, his fiancé as well as his home. But years later, when one of the scientist who work for the businessman comes to him for help over the company killing homeless people for experiments, he soon finds himself infected with an alien being that turns him into a super-powered monster known as Venom! Now this anti hero must stop the coming invasion of alien beings who want to take over the earth and infect us humans. This is a fun superhero film that is based around one of Spider-Man’s most popular foes and brings him to the cinema in a better light than Spider-Man 3 did. Tom Hardy is fantastic as Eddie Brock/Venom, and the action and humor blend really well together. The film did well for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $213,205,181.00 on a budget of $100 million. Worth watching for fans of Venom and is one I will own on DVD!

# 5

Deadpool is back and is an X-Men member in training and blows his chances when he kills some doctors and orderlies who work at an orphanage for mutant kids after one of the youths confesses they abused him. Worse, a mercenary from the future named Cable has come to our time in order to kill the youth who in the future brings the end to his family. Now Deadpool must bring together the youth, Cable, the X-Men and his new team of misfits called X-Force in order to stop this coming end of mutants and to right all the wrongs of the past. The film did fantastic for Fox at the Box Office in the US and brought in $318,491,426.00 on a budget of $110 million. If you like your superhero movies crude and rude, this one is for you! Plus Ryan Reynolds is truly the right actor to play Deadpool.

# 4

Ant-Man is under house arrest and his partners the Wasp and Hank Pym are on the run from the authorities, and a super villain named Ghost is trying to steal experiment equipment from Pym as it’s needed as she is dying from an accident that leaves her body uncontrollable and unstable. Now Ant-Man must risk getting off house arrest in order to help Wasp and Pym get the equipment back in order to save Pym’s wife, who has been stuck in a limbo world for decades. This film is packed with action and laughs and brings together the new and old as the original Ant-Man and Wasp are with the current versions and also brings in Ghost and Black Goliath as the baddies who might not be as bad as you think. The acting is great. Paul Rudd is fantastic as Ant-Man, and it’s always great to see Michelle Pfeiffer on the big screen. The film did good for Disney at the Box Office in the US bringing in $216,648,740.00 on a budget of around $170 million. If you liked the first film in the series like I did, then this sequel will surely bring you joy. Also worth owning on home media if you’re wondering.

# 3

Aquaman is saving people in the ocean from not only storms but also pirates who all want to kill him for his good deeds. But while he helps the surface world, Atlantis, the birthplace of his mother, is at war with itself over attacking the land walkers above who have polluted their world for centuries. Now Aquaman must travel to Atlantis as he is the true ruler and must face is stepbrother The Ocean Master, who has plans of being the world’s ruler and has gotten the help of a one time pirate now turned super villain named Black Manta. Can Aquaman bring peace to the two worlds, and can he finally find out what has happened to his mother who has been missing for decades? Between this and Wonder Woman, DC Comics have shown that they are not down for the count when it comes to making big budget superhero movies, and they still have some fight in them to challenge Marvel. This film has some great action moments, and the film’s main villain Ocean Master, while doing bad things, is not a soulless character as he truly thinks what he is doing is right adding to the tension between the two estranged brothers. Jason Momoa is good as Aquaman, and my only complaint about his performance is I hate that he smirks so many times after delivering eye-rolling lines of dialogue. Plus when the actors wore their masks and costumes, both Black Manta and Ocean Master looked great and made me wish they would have kept the costumes on more. The film as of this update is doing okay for Warner Brothers bringing in this far $189,375,000.00 at the US Box Office on a budget of around $160 million. While not the best DC Superhero film from this modern re-launch (that honor goes to Wonder Woman), this is definitely a step in the right direction for their shared hero universe.

# 2

Prince T’Challa has become the King of Wakanda after the death of his father and has been faced with challenges that include Man-Ape who wants to try his hand at claiming the thrown, but after defeating him he must now find a terrorist criminal who is stealing Wakanda tech and has lead his cousin Killmonger to the kingdom where he challenges and wins the thrown. Now Black Panther and his closest friends must regroup and fight to take back the Kingdom and stop Killmonger’s thirst for war and power. Black Panther is a fantastic film that does a great job of bringing in drama into the action superhero movie mold. Adding in classic villains like Man-Ape and Killmonger felt right, and their looks were great updates to dated characters. The action in this movie is great, and the battles between Black Panther and Killmonger will have you on the edge of your seat. The film at the Box Office in the US did amazing for Disney bringing in $700,059,566.00 on a budget of $200 million and making this film the top grossing film in America for 2018! A great watch and one that will please any superhero fan, this one is a must own now that it’s out on home media.

# 1

Thanos wants to collect all the Infinity Gems in order to kill off half of the population in the universe with one thought, and after collecting some, he gets another after killing Loki and many of the Asgardians and leaving the Hulk and Thor defeated. Now the world’s mightiest heroes Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Falcon, War Machine, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Man-Ape, Winter Solider join Thor and Hulk in the battle to stop Thanos and his army from getting the remaining stones and fulfilling his desire. But can the world’s best defeat the odds, or are we all in trouble? This is what a superhero movie is all about, as the stakes are high and the threat to the universe is real! Seeing all of these characters from Marvel films from over the last 10 years in one single film is truly amazing and seeing them battle the likes of Thanos, who is one of the companies best villains, is pure big screen magic. Not mention the film’s climax that leads us to the next sequel will leave you feeling defeated and sad! The sheer amount of talent in this film also boggles ones mind, and this was hands down one amazing popcorn flick that kept me super entertained and wanting more movies from Marvel! The film did top notch in the US Box Office for Disney bringing in $678,815,482.00 on an estimated budget of $350 million, and with overseas money their gross is over $2 billion dollars! If you like superhero movies and want to see one epic fight between the forces of heroes and villains, then check this movie out. And yep I did buy this movie on DVD when it was released

Superheroes films are all the rage when it comes to toping the Box Office here in America, and many of them make up the top grossing films of the year! But while you readers know I am a big comic book reader and superhero movie watching junkie, my top films that I love seeing in the theater are the ones in Horror genre. This year we got some great ones from Slashers to Ghosts to even a giant Shark. 2018 was a great year for Horror Cinema and was a blast for me sitting in the theater listening to fellow movie goers shriek in fear or even nervously laugh at the scares on the silver screen. So here is my ranking of all the Horror Movies I seen in theater this year.

# 20

The Quinn family of New York have became the obsession of evil ventriloquist dummy Slappy who was found in the old house of R.L. Stine as well as the book writer’s unfinished first book called “Haunted Halloween,” and when the family makes a mistake and opens the book and Slappy chooses them to be his new family, the horrors of the book are unleashed and the world is in trouble unless they can stop Slappy who’s plan is to unleash monsters all over the world as they are his true family. This sequel is a little of a letdown and does not have the charm and fun nature of the first film, and to be honest, I found myself a little bored during most of the start of this kid friendly Horror flick. This film stars Jack Black, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Ken Jeong among many others and is well acted as the actors all do a good job with this plot holed script. The film did poorly for Sony at the US box office as it only brought in a total of $46,700,633.00 on a budget off $35 million. Over all, this a onetime watch and fans of Goosebumps might want to check it out.

# 19

Matias is a young man whose girlfriend is deaf and his lack of sign langue is causing issues in their relationship. So he steals a laptop from his work at a cyber café to add an app that will run smoother on this better computer. While having a Skype game night with friends, he soon learns that the computer he stole belongs to a very bad man who works on the deep web as a murderer for hire as people pay him to torture and kill people for their pleasure. Now Matias and his friends must play a game of life and death as the killer wants his laptop back and his employers want blood. This second film in the Unfriended series removes the supernatural aspects of the first film and adds in the real life spookiness of the Dark Web. It’s a fun watch and is a solid follow up to the first film and takes the same style and makes it feel like its own. The film did pretty well for Blumhouse at the US Box Office bringing in $8,783,985.00 on a budget of $1 million dollars. Worth seeing if you enjoy the world of the net mixed with Horror.

# 18

A group of four friends decide one night during a sleepover to try and contact the Creepypasta legend Slender Man by watching a video. And after doing so, one of the friends go missing and the rest are now being haunted and driven crazy by Slender Man who wants to also take them. The film has gotten the worst hate from fans and critics on the web for any Horror Movie released this year, and I found the hate to be a little over done as the film is nothing special and is not nearly as bad as many want you to think. The films pluses are it has some cool creepy moments. Slender Man, when not CGI, looks pretty good, the music score is top notch, some shots are really cool and actress Joey King who played character Wren is great and makes me want to see her in more Horror Movies. The downside of this film is its pacing, terrible side storylines that go nowhere and Slender Man is never scary in the film. The film has done okay for Sony at the US Box Office bringing in $30,569,484.00 on a budget of $10 million. Over all worth seeing if you like the Creepypasta or movies that take inspiration from The Ring.

# 17

A batch of drafted newly out of boot camp soldiers are being sent on a mission to bring down a communication scrambler set up by the Nazi’s at a church in a small French town in order to help our side to receive messages to do air raids! But when they are forced to jump from a damaged plane, they find themselves surrounded by Nazi’s with many of their own being killed off. But things get worse when they discover that the church is also being used for experiments to create the ultimate soldiers, and now our group of heroes must not only complete their mission but also survive and stop these cruel and brutal experiments that are also on the loose. This is a Horror Movie that is mixed with a War Movie that delivers some good intense moments as well as a few scares along the way. The main cast of our good guys are all likable, and the bad guys come off like very terrible people, making it work. The one downside for me was that the experimented zombie soldiers are not in the film much and many of the good guys make dumb decisions causing more issues for them down the line. This film was an enjoyable watch on the big screen and did very poorly for Paramount at the US Box Office bringing in only $21,704,844.00 on a budget of $38 million. While not a groundbreaking Horror War Movie, it was an entertaining one worth a watch when out on home media.

# 16

Jonas Taylor is one of the best deep-sea rescue divers who has been labeled crazy after he claims something attacked a sub that left two of his crew dead. Now when his ex-wife and her crew get stuck at the bottom of the ocean, he must come out of retirement and face his haters in order to save her, but while doing so he unleashes a massive Megalodon Shark who is now on a killing and eating rampage! Proving he’s not crazy, he and a research group must try all they can to stop the Megalodon before its body count of victims rises! This is a fun Action Horror Movie that was a great popcorn summer film that tried to be this generation’s version of JAWS. The film stars Li Bingbing and Jason Statham, and sadly did not do so well for Warner Brothers at the US Box Office only bringing in $145,443,742.00 on a budget of $130 million. While not a groundbreaking ocean terror film, it was sure an entertaining one! Worth watching on Blu-Ray and DVD and even worth having in your collection to go along side your other shark themed Horror Movies.

# 15

The Purge movie series gets a prequel! The New Founding Fathers have just taken office and have a wild idea to make America great again and that’s to have one night that for 12 hours all types of crimes are legal including murder. They are testing it in New York on Staten Island. They also are offering payouts to residents who stay in town for the night as well as those who kill, and the more you kill, the more money you will make. This experiment is called The Purge and was created by Dr. Updale in order for people to lash out and unleash their inner beasts. We follow those who are protesting it lead by Nya who gather in a local church. We also follow Dmitri, a local drug lord and his crew who decided to protect the people as well as we follow the militant gangs sent in my the Government plus the local scared up nut job Skeletor who is killing anyone who gets in his way. This movie is a time bomb of violence and people standing up for each other and human rights and is a good sequel to a great series of films. The main characters are likable and you find yourself cheering them on to make it through the night. The downside for me is I felt it offered nothing really new to the series and just kind of felt like a sequel made to promote the USA Network TV show that is as well a prequel to the rest of the films in this series. The film did well for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in $69,086,325.00 on a budget of $13 million making it a hit for them. While my least favorite in the series, this is one I own on DVD and recommend to fans of the other films. I also want to say that I do hope Blumhouse and Universal do make another in this series as I do really enjoy them.

# 14

Olivia and her friends go to Mexico for spring break and meet a young man who tricks them to going to an old monastery and play a game of Truth Or Dare that is being run by a demon, who, once you’re in the game, forces you to play. Now one by one, the group of friends is forced to tell hurtful truths and dangerous and murderous dares! With time running out and her friends dropping like flies, Olivia must find away to stop the game once and for all and return the demon to captivity. This Universal and Blumhouse team up was a fun silly film that had moments of thrills and horror that delivered an enjoyable watch at the cinema. While the film and its plot was nothing special, it was very cool to hear moviegoers after the film ask their friends Truth Or Dare. The characters, while generic, do have a likable quality, and I really liked how the demon disfigured people’s mouths to ask them truth or dare. The film did okay for Universal at the US Box Office bringing in only $40,531,430.00 on a budget of only $3.5 million. While not one I would say is a must see, I would watch again once out on DVD.

# 13

Doctor Eric Price is hired by Winchester Gun Company to evaluate their majority share owners mental state as Sarah Winchester has suffered great loss as her husband and child have both passed on. She herself is spending tons of money on building new rooms to her mansion as she claims the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifles have told her to do so in order for forgiveness. At first Eric thinks that the aging widow has lost her connection with reality due to her grief of the death of her loved ones, but soon he himself must face the facts that maybe the ghosts of those killed by the rifles are indeed in the house looking for a place to stay and be set free. This is a pretty solid ghost film that packs lots of atmosphere and holds a true classic Hammer Horror feel to it as they were the original company to release this before selling off the script rights. The film is a slow burn and plays up on fears of the unknown and plays with what we think we see and hear, and then turns right into a vengeful ghost story complete with a very mean disfigured ghost who is the main one causing problems. The film did alright for Lionsgate at the US Box Office as it did about $25,091,816.00 on an undisclosed budget. This was a pretty cool Horror Flick and was the second one released in theaters in 2018 and was a spooky little popcorn flick.

# 12

Susie Bannion, a young woman from Ohio, moves to Berlin after the death of her mother and wants to join the Markos Dance Academy under the teaching of Madame Blanc. But while she is a skillful dancer, there is more to this dance school that meets the eye as young women keep going missing and rumors of a cult of witches running it travels around. With one dancer named Sara wanting to get to the bottom of it and find her missing friend and an old doctor as well looking into the disappearances, Susie must find her own inner dancer and come face to face with a clan of witches who have sinister plans for her as well as the other dancers. This film is a remake of the Dario Argento film of the same name and while it holds some elements from the original, it is really its own thing and brings in a very strong art house feel. While the film is a slow burn and has a long runtime of over two and a half hours, it does pack in some pretty cool chills as well as bloody deaths that reminds you that you are watching a Horror Movie. The film has a great cast with such names as Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz and Mia Goth who steals the show with a great performance. The film had a limited release and but did help bring in $2,483,472.00 for Amazon Studios who had a $20 million dollar budget in this film. While I do not find it as spooky or haunting as the original, this remake still was a fun one to see in the theater and did have some cool and creepy moments. Worth owning on home media for those who like slower paced art house Horror flicks.

# 11

While on a sniper mission, Quinn McKenna is the only survivor when a spacecraft crashes and a Predator is once more loose on the Earth. Before he flees, Quinn is able to steal the alien’s helmet and arm guard and sends it home, but this causes the Predator to as well track the package that’s been opened by his autistic son and worse for everyone, a super genetically engineered 11 foot tall Predator wants stolen cargo that’s on the crashed ship and will kill anyone and anything that gets in his way. So it’s up to Quinn and a rag tag bunch of mentally unstable soldiers to save his son, dodge the government and stop the Predators from their hunts. This fourth film in the Predator series is a fun Sci-Fi, Action and Horror hybrid film that delivers some good kills and over the top moments. But while enjoyable, the film does have its flaws. For one, some of the editing leaves plot holes and the character of Quinn McKenna is just a very unlikable hero character…or at least he was for me. While I did enjoy this film I do need to say that of the main Predator film series this is my least favorite. The film did okay for Fox at the US Box Office bringing in $51,024,708.00 on a budget of $88 million dollars. With this film leaving the door wide open for Shane Black to continue with another sequel, I for one would like to see Predator continue as I want the see the suit in action…watch the film and you’ll see what I am talking about.

# 10

Ashley has just picked up her husband Max from jail, and they are traveling home through the woods of the Pacific North West when they have an accident by striking a pedestrian who seems to have been attacked by a wild animal. Things get worse when Max is struck by a thrown rock that knocks him out and into the river below, leaving Ashley to go in after him. Now the couple is alone in the woods with something stalking them and even when finding help from a group of asshole hunters, they all soon realize that Bigfoot is real and he is pissed and enjoys hunting humans! Throw in a Native American Sheriff and an old witch that lives in the woods, and you have yourself this fun horror film that takes elements from the Predator films and turns them more primal and laced with folklore. This film had great practical effects with many of the kills being brutal, an amazing Bigfoot who was part wild primate and part Rambo, stunning lead actress Casey Gagliardi and one heck of a fun ride of a plot. This film was shown in theaters for one night only as part of the Fathom Events and was one heck of a fun time. The film brought in a total of $21,903.00 for its one night showing in the US for Fathom. This one was lots of fun and worth owning on DVD, Digital or Blu-Ray.

# 9

Blood Fest is an event that celebrates all things horror, and Dax, a mega horror movie fan, disobeys his fathers wishes and along with two of his best friends heads to the event only to find that the events organizer is a crazy man and all the killers and ghouls of the event are there to kill all attendees and create the ultimate Horror Movie from the footage. This is a really fun and gory Horror Comedy that blends the two genres together so well and delivers a highly entertaining watch. The film has killer clowns, zombies, a puppet, masked killers and vampires and has some over the top and brutal kills. The film was shown at a Fathom Event and has a great cast lead by Robbie Kay and Seychelle Gabriel and did pretty well for Cinedigm at the US Box Office bringing in a total of $82,744.00 on a budget of unknown. This is a must see film for fans of Horror Comedies and is one I bought on DVD/Blu-Ray when released.

# 8

Megan Reed is a former cop who was let go from the force when she became an addict after an accident left her partner shot. She now is recovering and has taken a graveyard shift job at the city morgue. But when the mutilated and burned body of a young woman named Hannah Grace is brought in, things start to get real weird as a person breaks in to the morgue to burn the body and staff from the hospital above are going missing. And things get even scarier for her when she notices that Hannah seems to be alive and moving around, and worse when she does some research on the dead girl, she finds out she died during an exorcism! When the demon inside Hannah fully wakes up, Megan must fight for not only her life but her soul. This is a possession film that is set in a morgue that is very cold in look and this helps add the over all vibe of this creepy little film as most of the movie takes place in the morgue and the parking garage that leads to the drop off area. Actress Shay Mitchell plays Megan and is very likable. Her performance has you cheering for her to make it out alive. Plus, it was great to see Stana Katic, who played Kate Beckett on TV Show Castle, in a small role. Over all while this is just another standard demon possession film, its setting and creepy demon woman Hannah made it an entertaining watch for me, even if the people I went with did not really enjoy it. The film did ok for Sony at the Box Office here in America bringing in $14,560,796.00 on a budget of $9.5 million. While this film was trashed by critics and Horror Fans across the board, I found it a fun watch on a late night at the cinema and is one I plan on buying on DVD when released.

# 7

The grandma of the Graham family has passed away, and young 13 year old Charlie takes it the worst as she was close to her strange grandma. But when an accident also leaves Charlie deceased, her family is left heartbroken and looking for answers as strange things start to happen all around them and mother Annie seems to be losing her mind…but things are very sinister as friends are not what the seem and forces are in play to get what they need from the Graham family. This film was a great slow burn horror movie that built the feelings of sadness, dread and anxiety as I watched to see how the story played out. No joke, when the character Charlie played by Milly Shapiro dies in the film, I really did find myself filled with sadness, and that’s crazy for me as most kids in movies annoy me! The film has done well for A24 at the US Box Office as it brought in $44,069,456.00 on a budget of $10 million. Well worth watching and one I bought on DVD when it was released. And will also say it’s the best A24 Horror Movie release I have seen this far.

# 6

A group of friends head out to the area’s biggest Halloween event and soon find themselves being stalked by a masked killer who enjoys turning the horrors of the haunted houses real. And during Hell Fest, a massive Halloween attraction he sets his site on Natalie and her group of friends. One by one, he stalks and kills them for his own twisted reasons, until the survivors and the killer have a showdown. This was a fun modern slasher film set in great background of a massive haunted attraction and adds a layer of shock. The film also has a great soundtrack and really is a sadly over looked film as it did okay for Lions Gate at the US Box Office bringing in only $11,107,431.00 on a budget of $5.5 million. With the film being left open for a part 2, I hope that Lions Gate takes a chance and allows it to be made. Worth seeing, and I even made sure to buy the film on DVD when it was released. Oh and I have to say I am becoming a fan of actress Bex Taylor-Klaus who plays Taylor in the film and is also known for being on MTV’s Scream show.

# 5

The Abbott family are living in a world where they must always remain quiet as monsters are roaming around that are blind but attack and kill any noise they hear. The family is struggling not to make a noise in a world where it means death, plus the family is having some issues over the loss of one of them, and worse, the mother is about to have a baby! This movie uses sign langue for almost all the dialogue and really plays up the tension of a family struggling with the loss of a loved one making the horror of the monsters outside even more intense as every little sound made me as a viewer feel nervous. A Quiet Place is a really good indie horror movie that was a great watch in the theater and with a fellow movie goers who were all silent during the film. The movie did really well for Paramount at the US Box Office bringing in $188,024,361.00 on a budget of $17 million. This is one that when released I bought the DVD and would recommend to Horror fans who enjoy their scary films with a touch of arty and emotions.

# 4

Insidious: The Last Key was the first Horror Movie released in theaters in 2018 and it was a great way to kick off a great year of Horror cinema. Elise Rainier has had a hard life as she can talk and see ghosts and uses her gift to help others who are being haunted. And her next case takes her to her old family home where she must help the new owner and come face to face with the sinister spirit called Key Face who can steal the souls of the living and force the living to also do his bidding when living in that house. Elise along with her team must enter the house, face her fears and torment of the past, patch things up with her estranged brother, meet her nieces and help save them and stop Key Face from unlocking the doors of the spirit world. This movie takes lots of twists and turns and packs some great jump scares. It’s shocking that this Blumhouse series just seems to be solid throughout its sequels, and I for one can not wait to see what Chapter 5 brings to the story. The film did well for Universal at the USA Box Office bringing in $67,347,895.00 on a budget of $10 million making it yet another hit for Blumhouse! If you enjoyed the first three movies in the series, you will surely enjoy this one as well. Also this is one I bought on DVD when released.

# 3

Kinsey is a troubled teenage girl who is being driven by her parents and brother to a small vacation to their family’s seasonal trailer park before she is sent to a boarding school. But while the family tries to spend time with each other and heal hurt feelings, they soon find out they are not alone as The Strangers are also in the trailer park and have set their sights on the family being their next victims. One by one they stalk and kill the family, but soon find out that this family is not going to go down without a fight. This sequel was 10 years in the making and it lived up to the wait as this was one heck of a spooky ride filled with cool kills, amazing score and some eerie shots. This film feels like a classic 80’s slasher film and does a great job of ending the story of The Strangers but also leaves the door cracked if they ever want to revisit this series for a third film. The film did great for Aviron at the US Box Office bringing in $24,431,472.00 on a budget of $5 million! Really enjoyed this film and was a solid follow up and was a great film to see on the big screen, worth buying on DVD, Blu-Ray of Digital. And in fact I did buy the DVD when released.

# 2

The body of a nun who hanged herself is found at an old monastery in the hills of Romania, and the Vatican sends in a priest and a nun in order to find out why. While there, they find that the locals think it’s haunted as well as the land around it…and when night comes they soon learn that it is indeed, as the demon Valak has claimed it and is looking to enter our world for good and cause fear and chaos. In order to stop the evil spirit, they must truly have faith and risk everything to stop its coming of power. This creepy film in the Conjuring expanded universe is a fun watch with some creepy moments that felt to me as if it had a dash of Italian Horror mixed into a demonic ghost American fright flick. Valak is a great horror monster and the film’s downbeat atmosphere truly made for a great late night watch at the theater. The film did great for New Line Cinema at the US Box Office bringing in $117,450,119.00 on a budget of $22 million showing that The Conjuring films are here to stay for awhile. This movie is worth owning on DVD or Blu-Ray and I in fact did buy the DVD when it was released. If you like demonic ghost movies, you should check this one out.

# 1

It’s been 40 years after Michael Myers went on a killing spree, and Laurie Strode was one of the only survivors. Spending this whole time in an asylum, on Halloween 2018 he breaks free and once more goes on a killing rampage in Haddonfield, Illinois that leads him to cross paths again with Laurie Strode as well as her daughter and granddaughter. Will Michael be able to finish what he started in 1978, or will Laurie finally get her revenge for that night of terror he put her through? This sequel to the hugely popular Halloween film series takes place after the original film and is the start of a new batch of sequels being done by Blumhouse and Universal that have been bringing us Horror Fans a bunch of great scare flicks. This sequel brings Michael Myers back to the core of who what he is, a cold blooded killer and wipes out the family connection between he and Laurie and just plays up on the fact the two hate each other. It was great to see Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode as well as that the original Michael Myers actor Nick Castle got to also be apart of this film. The kills are great and some are pretty brutal, and the score is done by John Carpenter and brings that true Halloween feel to it. Another plus is that almost all of the main characters are likable and are pretty well developed. The one major downside for me was some of the Danny McBride written humor just seemed out of place and really dumb and that was mostly spewing out of the mouth of Laurie’s son in law. Over all I think that Halloween series is in good hands with Universal and Blumhouse, and I am very much looking forward to see what’s next. The film did amazing for Universal at the Box Office here in America bringing in $159,326.595.00 on a small budget of $10 million. This really was hands down my favorite Horror Movie I saw in theater in 2018 and lived up to what I wanted from it.

So as you can see, this was a great year in movies in all genres and for this movie goer, I got to watch film is all kinds of cool theaters from Neon Movies to Cinemark and got to spend time with some amazing friends like Natalie Claude, Theresa Daniels, Stephen Alexander and Josh Weinberg plus as always got to see many with my gal Juliet. Well I can see the clean up crew is here and are ready to clean up the Rotten Ink Theater, so we should probably clear our, but before we go I would like to say that our next update is going to be about those 80’s toy The Popples! So until next time, watch a movie or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See ya for a Popple good time next update!

 

Land Of The Monster Bash Convention (2018)

Welcome back to Rotten Ink. I hope you have your bag packed already as it’s that time of the year once again when you all take a trip with me and Juliet as we head to Monster Bash in Mars, PA for a fun time of celebrating classic monsters and 200 years of Frankenstein’s Monster! I have been looking forward to taking time away from work, filming movies and working on comics for some time now, and what better way to do so than to hang out with fellow classic monster lovers as well as my gal pal Juliet in an area that is starting to feel like my home away from home, Cranberry Township. I cannot wait to see what classic monster car is parked up front and what statues await us inside the convention. I do have a feeling that they will be of The Monster through the ages as that seems to make the most sense. Not to mention, I am looking forward to eating at places like Moe’s and Eat’n Park plus visiting Evans City Cemetery to soak in all the horror movie magic that was shot there. So lets hop into the Mazda 3 and find some music and podcasts to listen to and make our way to Monster Bash! Oh and for this update, I am sure you guessed it, that we will be taking a look at Land Of The Dead, the fourth film in the Romero Dead series and the IDW comic adaption of it! Let’s head out to the highway and have fun along the way.

Juliet and I hit the road on June 21, 2018 and spent most of the drive chatting about comics, music and wrestling and even had to make our way through random rainstorms. As always, we stopped at the Ruby Tuesdays on the border of Ohio and West Virginia where Juliet ate a grilled chicken salad, and I had blackened salmon with rice and a loaded baked potato. It was super tasty! Once back on the road we continued chatting and time seemed to go by fast…that was until we entered Cranberry, and traffic was backed up due to a car on fire! Passing the car that was being surrounded by the fire department, we both hoped the person driving made it out of the car okay. This year we also had to stay at a new hotel as our beloved Comfort Inn was filled, and so we stayed at the fancy Hyatt and man was the room big! After relaxing and watching some TV, we decided to have Eat ‘N Park for dinner where I had a hot turkey sandwich with mash potatoes & gravy as well as fried pickles! And of course, I had to have a smile cookie as what is a trip to Eat ‘N Park without one? After dinner we watched more TV and planned our next day as it was the first day of Monster Bash!

Waking up in the morning, we got ready for our day as Monster Bash did not open until 3pm so we headed to New Dimension Comics to look around for a few minuets. While there, I found a few comics to read and add to my collection like Web Of Spider-Man # 25 & 35, Hercules # 1,7 & 9 from DC, Where Creatures Roam # 8 and Southern Blood # 0. After comic shopping we headed to lunch at Max & Erma’s where I scarfed down a turkey burger with fries, and all the while Juliet and I chatted about our plans for the day. We then went to Barns and Nobles, and I found a really cool Funko Pop Figure of The Mummy based on the 2017 film from Universal. Then we returned to the room and waited for Monster Bash to start! Check out the pics below to see the fun stuff from the morning.

At 3:00pm Juliet and I headed to Monster Bash 2018, and the car outside was not around yet. We got into the line in order to get tickets, and man did it move fast! Once inside, the wonders of all types of classic monsters surrounded us as the amazing statues this year featured Frankenstein’s Monster from the ages as full body versions of The Monster were all around, from the classic 1931 Karloff version all the way to the one in Monster Squad and others had busts like the 1910 Edison version…so amazing and all well done! But my favorite one this year was not Frankenstein’s Monster at all, but John Carradine as Dracula in House Of Frankenstein! Once inside the dealer room, we saw all types of great stuff like toys, movies, comics, books, soundtracks, posters and art and much of it was really, really cool! We were also happy to see Horror Hosts Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri, who are amazing and wonderful people and are super nice. Also on hand was Son Of Ghoul, a true icon of Horror Hosting. While looking around, we saw some amazing Halloween Masks and even took a walk around a room filled with classic posters and lobby cards. Once we walked around for a while, we bought some amazing stuff and headed back to the hotel to unwind and get ready for our first dinner and a movie night. Check out the pics below to see some of the amazing sights of this first day.

So I am sure you’re all wondering what goodies I got on this first day’s haul…and man, did I find some cool stuff! For movies I got Attack Of The 50ft. Woman, Phantom Of Hollywood on DVD for $20.00 each and Creature With The Atom Brain for $10.00! Comic wise, I found The Young Witches # 1 for only $2.00! I found an Imperial King Kong for $20.00 and a King Kong windup for $5.00! And for paperback books I got Ben and Freddy vs. Jason for $5.00 each, and for only $1.00 each I got Tales From The Crypt Demon Knight and Dick Tracy: Secret Files. So as you can see, we did really well this first day and I was very pleased with what I was able to get for good prices. Check out the pic down below to see l my haul in all its glory!

We decided that the first night of Monster Bash would be our night to eat Wing Kings and watch a movie on the laptop with the night’s feature being Attack Of The 50ft. Woman as it’s been one I have wanted to revisit for some time now. So I ordered some Garlic Wings and some fried pickles and a coke to drink! When we are in Cranberry, both Juliet and I look forward to eating at Wing Kings as they have really great wings and we have yet to have a bad meal from them. So huddled by the laptop with our food, we watched a classic science fiction horror film about a massive and mean woman causing mayhem in a city gripped by fear. And after dinner and the movie, we spent the night gearing up for Day 2 and watching New Japan Pro Wrestling and LFA MMA on TV, and I read a some comic book.

Day two started with Juliet and I eating breakfast and then us heading to the Monster Bash! The weather outside was looking like bad storms coming and would make Doctor Frankenstein very happy. To me, this was very fitting weather for this classic monster convention. Once walking in again, a rush of good vibes surrounded me as I saw familiar faces and classic monster movies and memorabilia all around. That’s what sets Monster Bash apart from all other Horror Cons, the vibe is so chill and it’s all about the movies and monsters and not the parties. After walking around for a bit, we bought some amazing stuff and looked at some cool things and headed out to do some more fun stuff in Cranberry!

I am sure you’re also wondering what cool things I ended up getting on Day 2 of Monster Bash. Just like before, I think I found some pretty cool items. I got two wood plaques to hang in my house of King Kong and Gorgo for $25.00 each, a VHS copy of Konga for only $3.00 and a DVD of a documentary called Beast Of Whitehall for $15.00. Plus I got a lot of six Monster In My Pocket figures including werewolf and Lochness for $5.00! Over all another great haul and some very cool items I am looking forward to adding to my collection.

We hit the roads of Cranberry and ended up back at New Dimension Comics where I found 40 dollars books that were sold to me at half price making the whole pile $20.00 plus tax! I found lots of great indie titles as well as a few Avengers comics that I will be reading while here. We then went to Moe’s Southwest Grill for lunch, and I had a tasty chicken burrito. After that we had TCBY and chatted about creative ideas. That’s the thing about Juliet and I, we talk a lot to each other and mostly about life and creative things…it’s nice to have a partner you gel with really well. After spending some time out in the city, we headed back to the hotel to relax and plan our second night of Dinner and a Movie.

For our second dinner and a movie, we chose something more simple and ate Bob Evans takeout where I had roasted chicken with sides, and we watched the 1955 Science Fiction Horror Movie “Creature With The Atom Brain”, a pretty cheesy motion picture that features brain-dead reanimated zombies who are being controlled by a crime boss to get revenge on his enemies. The food was pretty good, and the film was okay making for a start to a fun night. For the rest of the night, we read and watched TV and chatted more about creative ideas for future comics that could be in the works for Sparkle Comics.

June 24, 2018 was the final day of Monster Bash and we started our morning by getting breakfast at Pig Iron Public House where I once again had the Chorizo Hash. If you ever find yourself at a Pig Iron for brunch, I recommend it. And once done we made our way to Monster Bash to once more soak it all in and have one last day of shopping. The last day of Monster Bash is always a sad one as the fun weekend is coming to an end, and I know it will be another year before I can do the next convention. When walking in as well we watched for a moment as they broke down the Frankenstein Monster’s and took a glance at The Blob for the last time for the weekend. We walked around and had good conversations with Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri as well as with Ken and Pam of Cinema Wasteland. As we made our final rounds, I was on the look out for my pal David “The Rock” Nelson as I wanted to pick up some more of his amazing shot on video films and wanted to chat with him about life in general, and I sent him a message on Facebook the night before that he did not get to read and it looked like we were going to miss him until the monster Gods smiled down on us, and we ran into each other at the place I selected in the message! Once catching up with David and picking up some of his movies, Juliet and I headed out, and that was a wrap for Monster Bash 2018.

The last day’s haul were great and all stuff that I wanted and most at fair prices. I got another Imperial Dracula that was in fantastic shape for only $15.00! I also picked up six more Monster In My Pocket figures and paid once more $5.00 for the lot. I got Super Powers Which Way Book 2: Supergirl paperback book for only $2.00! I got issues 1-5 of Escape Of The Living Dead signed by John Russo and released by Avatar for $12.00. And for movies I got Kraa! The Sea Monster on DVD for $8.00, Red Sands DVD for only $1.00 and the best buys of the trip being the three David “The Rock” Nelson film I got for $20.00 each that are “Bigfoot Runs Amok!”, “Dinosaur Woman” and “The Giant Horny Toad Monster” all films I very much looking forward to watching. Not a bad year for finds at Monster Bash 2018.

After leaving Monster Bash, we headed to get more bottled water for our stay and while at the store, we also picked up the Universal and Blumhouse film Stephanie. We then made our way to The Snowman where we hung out near the horses and I drank a Yeti Milkshake. As always the shake was fantastic as was the atmosphere around the Snowman as it had just rained before we showed up. We then left and walked around the small cemetery that’s connected to the Portersville Bible Church, a very peaceful place with a great view of woods and farmland. Juliet and I walked for a while and looked at the land all around as well as paid our respects to the people buried in the cemetery. Once done we headed back to the Hotel and we read, chatted and watched a little TV until dinner and a movie round 3.

For our third dinner and movie, we chose to once more get take out from Eat ’N Park and the 4hr film “Dinosaur Woman” directed by David Nelson as we are both big fans of his independent shot on video monsta movies. While the food was good, the movie was the best part of the night as watching David’s films are an event all to themselves as they are epic and filled with lots of fun and over the top horror and characters. After Dinner and the movie, we ended up watching Kong: Skull Island on HBO and planning our next day of events!

Monday June 25th marked the first day after Monster Bash, and we started our morning by going to Cranberry Cinema and seeing “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” This is a fun one to see in the theater and as always Cranberry Cinema proved why they are better than most major chains as they gave Juliet and I each a free popcorn to munch on as we watched our movie. After the film we headed back to Moe’s for lunch, and we ate and talked about the film as well as the possibility of scientist cloning saber tooth tigers. After lunch we headed back to the hotel and Juliet and I read and played “Super Powers Which Way Book 2: Supergirl” as Juliet read it out loud I had to choose the path of Supergirl! And lucky for me I was able to have Supergirl save the day and make it out of the land of OZ, yep my adventure took me to OZ! After the book adventure I read some more comic books and worked on a few things for Sparkle Comics as well as updates for future Rotten Ink updates. We chose to have Wing Kings again for dinner and watched WWE Monday Night Raw on USA for the evening’s entertainment. After Raw I ended up reading a little more and watched a little TV before bed and geared up for Evan City.

We woke up early and checked out of our hotel and hit the road heading toward Mars in order to get a morning cup of coffee from Mars Brew House as they are also a must when we are in Pennsylvania, and as always the coffee was great! We then walked to the UFO in the middle of the small town and chatted for a moment about the second issue of Wolf Hunter that we hope will be released soon from Sparkle Comics, as well as chatted about the amazing small town feel of Mars. Once done chatting we jumped back into the Mazda 3 and headed for Evans City.

After leaving Mars we ended up in Evans City and were sad when we remembered that The Living Dead Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so we could not go in for a visit. But all was well again once we pulled into Evans City Cemetery, and we walked around once more in the shooting location of Night Of The Living Dead and the atmosphere once more recharged my creative batteries as ideas for comics, movies and blog updates filled my head. This time around we also took time and read tombstones and paid our respects to those buried there, and Juliet and I just talked and enjoyed the sunshine. We spent some time in the cemetery before we headed out and ending our wave 1 of our vacation.

Back home from Monster Bash and Cranberry, I still had a few days left of vacation and so on June 30, 2018 Juliet and I had ourselves a very cool Horror Movie Marathon that was filled with lots of great and independent horror’s from our to be watched stack of DVDs. We also loaded up one some great eats like chips and breakfast casserole and decided on buffalo chicken and baked potatoes for dinner. The first movie of the marathon was the 1931 version of “Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde” that is about a poor doctor who experiment turns him into a sinister foul person who calls himself Hyde. The next film was “The Man With Two Heads” that was cheesy cult director Andy Milligan’s version of Jekyll and Hyde that follows William Jekyll and his transformation into Danny Blood. The third chiller feature was the indie horror creature flick called “Cryptid” about a pint sized government made creature on a rampage! Next up we had “Manhater” about a woman whose anger at men becomes a living demon who gets revenge for her. Shot on video film “Cemetery Sisters” was next and was about sisters who married and killed men in order to get money to open a mortuary. We then watched “Phantom Of The Opera” a modern 2014 reimagining of the classic story. The seventh film of the marathon was the spooky found footage film “Hell House LLC”. We then viewed “Dark Shade Creek 2” that is an independent slasher film. The cheesy “Ghost Of Camp Blood” was next and has the evil spirit of the clown mask killer looking for revenge. That was followed up by “Monkey Farm” a chilling tale about a research monkey that could possible be more than that. The chilling horror anthology “10/31” was next and delivered some frights. And our final fright flick of the night was “Carnivore: Werewolf Of London” about a couple at a cabin fighting for their lives against a werewolf. What a fun filled day with lots of great Horror Movies and a cool way to relax with Juliet.

The day was filled with some great films and some that were just okay and one that was hands down the Golden Turkey winner for both Juliet and myself and that’s Cryptid as this film was terribly paced and had some of the most useless main hero characters I have seen in a film for quit some time. I will say that the creature of the film was cool and well done and shows that this movie could have been something better with a good script. For me picking the top three spots was kind of an easy one with my # 1.) being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) as this is a great classic monster film that was released the same time as Universal started making their Monster films and was Paramount’s way of cashing in, plus the acting is fantastic as is the look of Mr. Hyde. For me # 2.) was 10/31 an amazing modern horror anthology film that has every segment take place on Halloween, I found myself enjoying every segment and the score was top notch, this is one fright flick I think every one should view on Halloween. My # 3.) was a hard one to choose as I enjoyed so many but I had to go with Hell House LLC. as I found it to be one of the better found footage horror flicks I have seen in quite awhile, the mood and feel of the movie is fantastic! I must say that a runner up for 3rd for me was Manhater as I also found it well done and enjoyed the super sexy demon lady. Juliet’s top three of the marathon went like this # 1.) 10/31…#2.) Hell House LLC…#3.) Phantom Of The Opera (2014)! As always the Horror Movie Marathon is a great relaxing time and event I look forward to doing multiple times a year.

I am sure you’re all wondering what fiend for this Horror Movie Marathon won the Golden Chainsaw award, and I am here to tell you it was the weird small monster from Cryptid! This little guy racked up a body count of 16 people and possibly more…while the movie was not great and was the Golden Turkey for both of us, it still wracked up a body count. His best kill of the film is eating the skin off a woman’s face, a brutal and a cool indie effect. So here is to you, Cryptid monster for all your bloodshed.

George A. Romero made a perfect zombie Horror Movie trilogy starting with the 1968 film Night Of The Living Dead and ending with Day of The Dead that was released in 1985. For years afterward, the godfather of zombie films stayed away from the world ruled by the dead he created. But 20 years after his last film, he returned to that world when in 2005 he released Land Of The Dead to moviegoers. So if you’re ready to get aboard Dead Reckoning, and go on a supply run for the rich, I think it’s time we take a look at Land Of The Dead!

In 2004, Zack Snyder and James Gunn released a remake of Dawn Of The Dead for Universal Studios, and the film sparked interest back in fans and Universal for Horror Movies that featured zombies. While the remake of his film Dawn Of The Dead was in production, George A. Romero was trying to also get a fourth film of his Dead series into production and was dealing with 20th Century Foxfor the film he was calling Twilight Of The Dead as it’s working title. Fox wanted him to call the movie “Night Of The Living Dead” as they wanted to own the rights to a new franchise, and even when he said no and wanted to call it “Dead Reckoning,” they came back with the title “Night Of The Living Dead: Dead Reckoning” and this greedy nature of Fox made Romero seek a new studio to produce the new film.  Enter Universal once more to release a new zombie film for movie goers. The film’s script had elements of the original Day Of The Dead script, and the film’s title was changed to Land Of The Dead. Universal put lots of money into the film with the rumored budget being $15 million making it the highest budget in the Dead series! While Romero wrote and directed, he hired lots of talented actors in big roles like John Leguizamo, Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento and Tom Savini to name a few and even had such stars as Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Gregory Nicotero cameo as zombies. Filming went well, and it was released in theaters on June, 24 2005 and was meet with mostly positive reviews from both critics and fans and did pretty well at the box office bringing in $46,770,602.00 worldwide and was #112 for the year at the US Box Office. In 2005 these other Horror Movies were released Saw II, The Descent, Devil’s Rejects, Ring Two, Wolf Creek, House Of Wax, Cry Wolf, Hellraiser: Deader, The Skeleton Key and Boogeyman to name a few showing that the world of Horror was very much alive and bringing in movie goers and home video watchers. So as you can see, Land Of The Dead might have been lost in the shuffle slightly at the Box Office it still has made it mark on the world of horror and shows that no one knew zombies better than Romero.

As a youngster I was really into music and when moving from Waynesville to Kettering I was the odd Monster Metalhead Kid who had a chip on his shoulder and would spend his time after school listening to the likes of Billy Idol, Alice Cooper and Motley Crue on vinyl and cassette and would call the local radio station The Edge and request songs from the likes of Adam Ant and became friends with the DJ Scott Mallory who ended up years later giving me advanced tickets to see Land Of The Dead in the theater before its release date. I was able to bring many of my friends as going with me was my then girlfriend Misty as well as my brother Bryan and my pals Andy Copp and Josh Weinberg, and I can remember waiting in line and all of us being so excited to see it, and after the movie we all left with the fact we enjoyed it but it seemed a little too polished. And what we all liked is the message of the rich using the poor as at the time that feeling among the hardworking low income was dealing with that in George W. Bush’s America. I was also really happy that Asia Argento was in it as she was one of the best foreign genre actresses going at the time. Plus the film’s effects were good minus the use of CGI blood in spots as that always looks terrible. The things from the movie that I was not that big of a fan of was the focus of the film being the rolling armored vehicle Dead Reckoning as it was large and silly and seemed like something from a video game. The other thing I was not sold on was the lead zombie Big Daddy who is showing signs of intelligence naturally and felt pain as his fellow zombies were shot and killed. But with these things I didn’t like I over all really did enjoy this film and found it to be a great sequel to Night Of The Living Dead and proved that with a budget Romero could make something very special for fans. When the film was released to home media I bought the DVD and still own and watch it from time to time till this day. While this might not be the best in the Dead series it’s by no means the worst, as that honor goes to the 6th film in the series “Survival Of The Dead”. If you have not seen this film do yourself a favor and watch it late one stormy night and open the windows to allow a breeze to role in and enjoy this zombie filled romp.

Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek handled the score for Land Of The Dead and brought something fresh and new and yet still has a very classic feel to it. The mood of the music is dark when needed and filled with action when moments call for it. While I feel it’s not as iconic of a score as the work of Goblin or John Harrison from the past two sequels, I still find it very solid and is worth listening to and even have played it on Alpha Rhythms on WYSO during October. This score can be found on CD and via Digital and was released by Varese Sarabande and is a great release for fans who collect Horror Movie scores.

Like the films in the series before it, Land Of The Dead has had its fair share of merchandise that delivered cool items for the fans. Items like posters, soundtrack, t-shirts, buttons and comics all came out. Action figures were made by Sorta Toys that were highly detailed and figures of almost the all the main zombies were made including Big Daddy and The Butcher. Also made was a Video Game that was exclusive to the original XBOX called “Land Of The Dead: Road To Fiddler’s Green” that was a first person shooter that had you trying to fight through hordes of the undead in order to get the promise land of Fiddler’s Green, the game was not well rated by fans and critics but still offered something cool for fans of the film. Over the years I have owned the comics, mini poster and soundtrack of this film. So if you love Land Of The Dead, there is lots of cool stuff for you to collect.

As I said one of the biggest pluses for Land Of The Dead for me has to be the fact the very lovely Asia Argento was cast as main character Slack. For those who don’t know who Asia is, shame on you as she is the daughter of director Dario Argento and has acted in such classic films as Demons 2, The Church, Phantom Of The Opera, Scarlet Diva, xXx, Mother Of Tears and Dracula 3D to name a few. She also has directed some films like The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and Misunderstood. Sadly in modern news Asia was one of the victims of the scumbag movie producer Harvey Weinstein and sadly was victim-shamed in her own homeland of Italy causing her to have to move to Germany to escape the media’s hurtful words. I for one stand with Asia Argento and hope that Harvey gets what’s coming to him, and that Asia after this drama ends returns to making Horror Movies and Cult Films as I for one am looking forward to her future in films. Check out the pictures below to see Asia Argento as Slack from Land of The Dead.

So we are at the electric and guarded gates of Fiddler’s Green and that must mean we are at the point of taking a look at the comic adaption of our film of the hour Land Of The Dead that was released by IDW. And while we try and find our way in and get shelter from these terrible flesh-eating zombies I would like to thank Bell Book And Comic and Lone Star Comic for having these issues in stock to make this update possible and I would also like to remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So I can hear Big Daddy groaning off in the distance which means that the zombies are on their way so let’s get to reading these comics before we all become a snack for them!

Land Of The Dead # 1  ***
Released in 2005      Cover Price $3.99       IDW      # 1 of 5

Riley and his crew that include Charlie, Cholo and Pretty Boy (to name a few) control the combat truck called Dead Reckoning and are on a supply run in a small town that is overrun by zombies. Riley is noticing that the zombies seem to be getting smarter and are trying to mimic their old human lives and seem to be communicating with each other now. This is his last night in command of this group, and he wants it to go smoothly but when Cholo goes off track and leads to a rookies death, and one of their biker members is knocked from his motorcycle and eaten by the undead his mission turned sour. The zombies now have seemed to come together and are ready to take the fight to the living. When back safe Riley and Cholo get into it over the antics back in town, and as they separate Riley and Charlie go to find a man named Chihuahua who owns Riley a car at his bar that includes a zombie fight cage! While Cholo is turned away from getting an apartment in the upper class high rise building called Fiddlers Green by the Mr. Kaufman who runs the town. As Cholo is leaving he beats up the security officers who have been told to kill him.

The dead are getting smarter and the living are still fighting among themselves over greed plus power and money! Our story follows the crew of Dead Reckoning and their two men in charge and their lives in a world of corruption and he dead. Our main hero is Riley who is the man in charge of the crew and after their last mission is retiring and is wanting to get a car and leave the area behind him. But sadly for him looks like his money has been taken and his car is just a pipedream and the man he was buying it from is clearly a con man. Charlie is a simple man who has one side of his face burnt and is the closest friend to Riley and is like his right hand man. Cholo is reckless and self-serving but also has most of the crews respect as he gets results, not to mention he also does all the dirty work for Mr. Kaufman and once his rich boss turned on him it’s clear there will be hell to pay! Mr. Kaufman is clearly a smug rich man who enjoys his power over others and does not value those who get him his supplies or keep him safe. The world inside Fiddlers Green is posh and filled with shops and restaurants with armed guards while out side the town is kept safe by electric fences and soldiers with the people being poor and fight for the scraps. The zombies are all around the town and are getting smarter and are bounding together and seem to have had enough of the living! Big Daddy in this issue is really downplayed as he takes a back seat to the female athlete zombie who is the one that uses a tool to knock a biker off his bike for them to all snack on. This first issue holds pretty true to the film it was based on and yet holds a feel of its own making it a really good read. The cover for this issue is amazing and is very eye catching and reminds me of a zombie cover that you could have seen on an issue of The Dead or Dead Walkers. The interior art is also well done and is done by Gabriel Rodriguez who also did IDW’s “Lock & Key” and “Little Nemo: Return To Slumberland”. A very good zombie horror comic first issue that shows he respect to the film and also adds and takes away enough to make it feel like it’s own experience. Lets see what issue two has in store for us, shall we?

Land Of The Dead # 2   **1/2
Released in 2005      Cover Price $3.99       IDW     # 2 of 5

The zombies now being lead by the one called Big Daddy are making their way to the city and are taking the war to the living! Meanwhile Riley and Charlie while waiting on answers about the car watch as a young woman named Slack is thrown into the arena with two spray painted zombies with the crowd voting on what one will get her first. Riley and Charlie make the decision to save Slack and shoot the zombies and even have to kill the little man who was the key to Riley’s car and this leads to them all being arrested including Slack. Meanwhile Cholo and his crew steal Dead Reckoning just as the zombies have broken into the outer walls of the city! Cholo calls Mr. Kauffman and wants five million dollars or he will use the guns and missiles from Dead Reckoning to blow up Fiddlers Green. This worries Mr. Kauffman who refuses to pay the money and brings Riley up from jail and demands that he gets Dead Reckoning back and deal with Cholo once and for all.

The corruption of the ones in power is clearly putting the poor and working class at risk as Mr. Kauffman and his power has put everyone in the small secure town at risk no only from the zombies but also the one man he crossed that has the means and anger to do something about it. Kauffman is such a smug and overly confidante man who lives a posh life style and rubs elbows with the rich but also has his fingers in the underbelly of the town’s illegal activities. Cholo meanwhile is also a very cold person who really only looks out for himself as he wants his money and walks away from a zombie attack leaving people to die so that he can steal Dead Reckoning, and then once had threatens to blow up the town in order to get money. Riley and Charlie clearly make a great team and while Riley acts tough and cold it’s clear he cares about peoples life and that’s why he risks it all to save the life of a woman he didn’t even know. Slack is that woman who is a skilled fighter, but due to her good looks was forced into being a streetwalker by Kauffman and his crime connections, and once they find she is talking to a group of rebels set on one day fighting the powers that be she is arrested and set to be killed in the zombie arena. This issue has some blood, gore and is building the mood to what is to come, the one thing you will notice is that while the zombies are around they seem to be only a background plot. This issue also shows that Big Daddy is the one who is leading the zombie revelation and he and his fellow undead are attacking smartly and have made their way to the cities outer border. The cover for this issue I have is ok and is just a photo still taken from the film and is nothing special, while the interior art once more was done by Gabriel Rodriguez and is once more great stuff. This second issue is solid and builds the story and brings us to the main meat of the story and that’s Riley and crew going out to get Dead Reckoning back. So let’s see what issue three has in store for us!

Land Of The Dead # 3  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 3 of 5

Riley agrees to get back Dead Reckoning on the condition that Charlie and Slack are set free and join him and for a car to leave the city to head north. As Riley and his crew gear up they are forced to also take three soldiers with them that’s Motown a tough as nails female, Manolete a prideful soldier who is named after a bullfighter and the massive Samoan Pillsbury who is a mountain of a man. Once out to get supplies needed they also find the aftermath of the last zombie attack and know that the city is in danger multiple ways! While getting ammo and finding a jeep stray zombies are around the leaves Manolete bitten and having to be shot by Slack, and once far away from the city Riley and Charlie pull guns on Motown and Pillsbury and let them know that they are aware that Kauffman has sent them to kill them after they get back Dead Reckoning and give them an option of going along with the plan of Riley taken the massive vehicle or getting out of the jeep and walking back to the city…they decide to go along for the ride. Cholo and his crew load the weapons and are ready to flow Fiddler’s Green away as Riley and his crew are trying to catch up with them to stop it. But while they are playing war games Big Daddy and his zombie friends have gotten across the river and are on track to attack the city!

Mr. Kauffman is upping the game against Cholo in this game of power and greed as he sends out his own task force to get his stolen war machine back. Riley clearly only takes the job of getting Dead Reckoning back in order to save the innocent people who will be killed in this little power struggle. Riley while a loner and tough as nails always does what’s right and does his best to protect the innocent. Charlie as well is a good guy, who will kill to protect his friends and those who need help he is also very skilled with a gun and always has Riley’s back. Slack who only grew up in the city has never seen the outside world and it’s clear she don’t like what she sees, but she as well is a skilled fighter and has bounded with Riley and Charlie. Motown and Pillsbury are skilled fighters who clearly work for Kauffman and would have killed Riley and his friends when he mission was over, but know that they have to play along or be left for the dead. Cholo really does just want’s what’s owed to him and does not mind killing to get it! Big Daddy and his zombie horde are causing death and destruction and make meals out of soldiers and any human they come across! This issue also brings the blood and gore and shows that while the world is under attack by greed they are the true threats to mankind. The cover for this issue is pretty great and is eye catching for Horror Comic readers, with the interior art once more being done by Gabriel Rodriguez being solid and great stuff! Over all this third issue is fantastic and is holding true to this George Romero film.

Land Of The Dead # 4  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99      IDW      # 4 of 5

Riley and his crew find Dead Reckoning and Pillsbury knocks out Motown who was planning on turning on the group and Riley and Charlie stand and meet Cholo and his crew who take the pair as hostages as Slack and Pillsbury hide in the shadows armed and ready to fire if things go south. When Riley uses a master control on Dead Reckoning to shut down its weapons Cholo and Riley get into a fight and this leads to the now woken up Motown to try and shoot them and one bullet hits Cholo and this also leads to her death as a zombie bites her and Slack putts a bullet in her brain. While at Fiddlers Green Mr. Kaufmann is stealing the cities money and is about to flee when he gets the call from Riley that Dead Reckoning has been recaptured, but when explosions in the city goes off they find out that the zombies lead by Big Daddy are in the city and want human flesh! Cholo and one of his friends decide to go and travel to Cleveland while Riley and the rest of them travel to the city and see if they can help as the city really is being taken over by the dead.

Things are really heating up as the zombies are in full force and have entered the city and are killing and eating anyone in their way. Riley and Charlie risk their own lives in order to get close to Dead Reckoning and Cholo and are able to pull off stopping the planned attack on the city. Riley once in control of the defense machine makes the decision to return to the city to help anyone he can from the zombies. Mr. Kauffman once more shows that he is a selfish person as when things get bad he tries to flee Fiddlers Green and is taking all the money of his residents! Kauffman really is a terrible person and one as a reader you really do want to see get his. Slack and Pillsbury are great back up for Riley as they watch his back during the stand off with Cholo. Speaking of Cholo that poor guy just can not win as in this issue he does not get his money, he does not get Dead Reckoning and worse gets shot and bite! This issue really has it all hit the fan as zombies are now working together and have gotten smarter and yet still want to eat and kill. The issue has lots of blood and zombie carnage and a pretty cool cover that features Slack who is played by Asia Argento predominately and again Gabriel Rodriguez did the interior art and is great stuff. So as you can see Dead Reckoning is in the hands of Riley who along with his crew are off to try and save the day. A great solid read and makes me look forward to see how the final issue plays out.

Land Of The Dead # 5  ***
Released in 2005     Cover Price $3.99     IDW     # 5 of 5

Riley and the crew of Dead Reckoning are on their way to try and save the innocent people of the city and they have to get a drawbridge to drop first and once more Riley risks his life in order to do so, and even must come face to face with some zombies! Meanwhile the now bitten and dying Cholo is dropped off near Fiddlers Green as he wants revenge of Mr. Kauffman who is also on the run as Big Daddy and the zombies have entered the building and are eating the rich. After Riley gets the bridge down they rush to the gates and find that many of the people have been killed by the zombies as the now fully dead Cholo has found Mr. Kauffman after he hid in a limo to get away from Big Daddy who had poured gasoline all over the limo and ground. The zombie Cholo attacks Kauffman by the limo and as the two tussle Big Daddy throws a flaming barrel at the limo that is covered in gas blowing up Kauffman and Cholo ending their greed once and for all. Meanwhile Riley is able save many lives when he fires missiles into a horde of zombies, as the survivors figure out what they want to do Riley, Charlie, Slack, Pretty Boy and the rest of the crew of Dead Reckoning all head to Canada as Big Daddy and the zombies head off back to the town they came from as their work and message was sent.

Wow this really was a great Horror Comic that does a great job of adapting the George Romero film and giving fans something more to have based on it. This issue has Riley doing what’s right and stopping Cholo from attacking the city, is able to keep onto Dead Reckoning and save lots of innocent lives from a zombie attack. Riley all through this comic mini series has been a real loner but it’s also clear he values the friendships he has in a world gone dead, plus it’s great that we have a hero in this comic and in the world it created that’s a true caring person with a tough edge. Charlie and Slack are as well loners who are looking for their own place in the world and find good friendship with each other as well as with Riley. It’s clear that Charlie owes his life to Riley who saved him from a very bad fire that left half his face scared. Slack meanwhile was a good soldier who was forced to be a prostitute who wants something better in life and for trying to better herself is sent to be killed by zombies in a arena cage, before she is rescued by Riley. Cholo is a man who has turned cold due to the world around him going to hell, his goal is to live the good life and once that is taken away from him he will do whatever he can to get his revenge. Mr. Kauffman is a rich scumbag who really only cares about himself and I love how in this comic series they keep his face hidden in shadow making him come off even more evil. Big Daddy and the rest of the zombies are flesh eaters who are adapting and learning and with their new smarts come’s skills in killing and eating humans. Land of the Dead is a film that translated really well to comics and IDW did a great job of making it happen and with this and as well as Dawn Of The Dead makes me wish they would have covered more of the films of George Romero like Day Of The Dead and even Survival Of The Dead. I also wish IDW would have made an ongoing comic series of Land as I would like to know what Riley, Charlie, Slack and the rest of Dead Reckoning is up to and what they found in Canada. The cover I have for this issue is fantastic and very eye catching and holds a classic indie zombie comic look, and the interior art by Gabriel Rodriguez is fitting for this title. Over all this is a very solid and good Horror Comic title based on a Horror Movie and is a nice comic series for fans of the film and is worth checking out for fans. Check out the art below to see how it looks in this comic and see the style of Rodriguez.

So as always super sad that our Monster Bash vacation has come to an end as I really do enjoy that Horror Convention and really love Cranberry, Mars and Evan City as they feel like my home away from home! Also sad as this is the last of the adaptation comics of the George A. Romero films based on zombies…I mean there are some more Night Of The Living Dead comics from the likes of Fantaco, Dead Dog and Avatar so who knows what next year will have in store for me to review for my Monster Bash Vacation. But for my next update, I will be leaving the world of Romero’s dead behind and once more be entering the world of Atlas Comics as I take a look at masked hero The Destructor! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Romero film or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bad guy bashing good time.

The History Of The Horror Movie Marathon

Welcome back to my little space on the ‘net where I talk about comics, movies, toys and video games and share some of my great memories with you all. One of my favorite pastimes was an event I call “The Horror Movie Marathon” where I would show horror flicks starting early morning until very late into the night.  This started out at what was called Independent B Movie Studios, that was really my parents basement, and would have me and some of my closest friends like Matt Hoffman, Josh Weinberg, Jason Gilmore, Dave Wean and Brandon Womeldorff over.  We would stuff our faces with potato chips, snack cakes, popcorn, soda and pizza and watch many horror films on VHS that we would buy the morning of the event from local second hand stores. The event only lasted a few years (like from 1999-2003) at that location, and the gang would come and go. Many times it would be just me and Josh or Jason as the rest of them were at work. And as quickly as they started, this fun bonding event disappeared as we all started moving away from our parents’ houses and got full time jobs and made our own films. The VHS days of this event were a blast, and we would spend hours looking through the horror shelves at video rental stores like K&L Video, Accent Video, West Coast Video and Blockbuster Video and buying PVT (Previously Viewed Tape) classics, but mostly we would buy cheesy films from places like Second Time Around and Replay Media and get titles like Winterbeast, The Prey, Demonoid Messenger of Doom, Dracula’s Widow, Terror On Tour, Hack-O-Lantern, Judgement Night, Grim Reaper, Phantom of the Opera and many more creepy schlocky horror. Fans of VHS tapes know what I mean when I say nothing will ever take the place of watching a horror flick late at night with friends and having the grainy glow of the TV fill the darkened room, and watching the film and at the best part, be it the kill or nudity, the tape would roll from being rewound and watched too many times.  Not to mention the sound of the tape rewinding as you and your pals talked about the film and what shocking horrors awaited you in the next creature feature. Those days were the best, and I will always cherish those moments I had with these friends.  One day I would love to get together with Gilmore, Weinberg, Hoffman, Wean and Womeldorff and have a classic marathon of VHS horror!

demonoid-vhshack-o-lantern-vhsterror-on-tour-vhsgrim-reaper-vhsjudgement-day-vhswinter-beast-vhs

The Horror Movie Marathon was not a new concept to me as my brother Bryan and I would have many of these all night horror film watching session years before these events, with films on TV like USA’s Up All Night, Saturday Nightmares and TNT’s Monstervison.  We would also watch rented or owned horror films on VHS before and after the cable shows. Anyways years after the the semi-retirement of the event I found myself living with my good friend Patrick Neeley and out of a job as I was let go from my work loading and unloading furniture trucks around 2006 and had no leads of finding a new one. Around the same time I has having issues with my then girlfriend Jennifer that lead to a breakup and could only find part time work at Mavericks Cards and Comics and the kicker was Patrick was going to be moving out! But thank God my good friend Jason Young allowed me to live with him and his roommates Doogie (Chris) and Zippy (Josh), and after a few brief and failed relationships I was able to find my cool as hell girlfriend Juliet. As things were getting back on track for me in 2007, I was missing the days of the marathon and was itching to have another one, but had no place to do it when Juliet was kind enough to offer her apartment for me to host the event! This was amazing news for me, and I went out and bought tons of snack food and pop and restarted the event that had always been so near and dear to my heart. But with this new age of the Marathon VHS was out and DVD was in, and while Josh Weinberg and Matt Hoffman were returning faces from the past, the guest list now included my cousin Stephen Alexander and friends like Chris Lett, Max Ervin, Lisa Weinberg, Jason Young, Doogie, Lauren Campenell, Mike Ritchie, Nick Williams, Thomas “Maurice” Blurton and many others. Juliet’s apartment became the new spot for the Marathon and we watched many films for the first time as well as revisited classics like Dracula’s Great Love starring Paul Naschy, Bigfoot, Salvage, Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster, Ice Queen and a mountain of other monster and slasher films. The small kitchen of her apartment was filled with tons of food like chicken wings and pizza as well as snacks and pops and beers.  The events became a huge hit again with my old high school friends as well as my friends I made along the years, and this became an issue as the venue, her apartment, was not large enough to fit all my friends who were coming over to watch the films! At one point we had a full room of people watching Dracula’s Great Love at around midnight and everyone was squeezed in like sardines around the old tube TV in the studio apartment. But like before, The Horror Movie Marathon came to a end as I started a new job managing Game Swap in Kettering as well as worked still for Mavericks and other things started to get into the way of us having marathons as well as friends less and less showing up at one point I held a Marathon and the only people to show up were Stephen, Chris Lett, Doogie, Juliet and myself making for a fun time with a very tiny turn out. During this Horror Movie Marathon 2.0 I also started a little thing called the pre-show that had a select few coming over to the apartment that I was now living at with Juliet to watch a couple of horror films before the main day. The select few were Stephen and Josh, and it was a cool way for us to hype ourselves up for the next day. But due to poor turn outs, not enough space for big turn outs and just life, the marathon once more was retired and thus ended its first comeback into my life in around 2012.

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Flash forward to 2015 when my cousin Stephen had just bought a house in Dayton.  While at work, he and I started to chat and toss around the idea of having me bring back The Horror Movie Marathon at his house as it has plenty of room and he as well as other friends missed the event and wanted it to return. I also missed the event and after thinking for just a few minutes, I agreed to bring the event back and so was born the current Horror Movie Marathon 3.0 that is still going strong to this day! We choose May 24th 2015 as the date of the marathon and Juliet, Stephen and I came up with the idea that at this event would be tons of independent sodas and beers would be available for our friends to drink all day and night to help add to the festive and gathering feel. We also ordered tons of chicken wings from Frickers as well as had candy, chips and hummus for people to snack on while watching the horrors of the small screen. We also had a Pre-Show the night before, and besides Josh, we also invited our pal Garrison Kane to watch films like House Of Wolfman, Frankenstein Theory and Deadly Mantis to kick off the event right. The first event at the new location was a big hit, and many friends showed up from Todd The Fox all the way to Jeremy Hoyt and everyone inbetween was there and ready to get scared and spend time with friends. The films included Deadly Manor, Summer of Massacre, Headless, Wolf Cop and Return To Boggy Creek, to name a few. The next event we had at Stephen’s house was on September 27, 2015 and had us watching such films as 100 Tears, Crimson, Stiches, Redwood Massacre, New Years Evil and Frankenfish to name a few and like the first event we packed the house, and everyone had fun. But sadly the third event that we held on April 10th 2016 slowed down in attendance, but those who showed up all had fun watching films like Elves, Dr. Jekyll And The Werewolf, XTRO, Demon’s Rook and Madhouse! Also during this time Juliet and I would also hold our own marathons for just the two of us, complete with pre-shows and all the great snacks and terrors that go along with the full attraction ones. With a new location and new and old blood mixing to have a good time and watch some horror films, the marathon seems to have a new home at Stephen’s house. One thing that has always been a highlight of The Horror Movie Marathon from the past to the present is sitting with friends and talking about the films we have just watched and seeing why they liked or disliked the film.  One of the best recent fun discussions was when Jeremy Hoyt got worked up over the film Headless and its extreme violence toward women and the rest of us saying what do you expect from a gore film? The Horror Movie Marathon is back, and if I can help it will never fade away again.

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So I decided for this update that I am going to cover not one, but two of the latest Horror Movie Marathons I have had with the first being held on November 13th 2016 with the Pre-Show taking place on the 12th that was a all-welcome friends marathon held at Stephen’s house. For the Pre-Show we had Garrison Kane, Theresa Lopez and Jeremy Hoyt, and we watched the following films to kick us into the spirit of this after Halloween blues marathon starting with “Evil Unleashed: The Mummy” that was about a Egyptian princess who sells her her soul and in modern time comes back as a vengeful Mummy on the prowl to kill some college kids who have stumbled onto her plan of ruling the world and bringing evil down on us all. The next film was released by Wild Eye Releasing called “ The Mothman Curse” and was about two woman who are working for a movie museum who are having visions and nightmares about the Mothman who seems to slowly bringing them into madness. I was feeling pretty rough from a sore throat and cold so we didn’t have a third film of the night that would have been the old Independent B Movie film I made called “Vigilante C: The Hunt For The Man-Beast,”  We all decided that the best film of the night was Evil Unleashed and not because it was good, just because it had some laugh out loud cheesy moments as well as backyard effects and a naked Mummy! The worst movie was Mothman Curse as we all found it very boring and while it felt like an arthouse film, it was just lacking being scary or entertaining. The night was fun, and everyone seemed to be having a good time, but oddly enough Josh Weinberg no showed the event as the date was picked for him to make it before the holiday rush of his work! But once the horrors of the small screen ended, bedtime was up and I got some much needed rest to try and shake the wicked cold that had me in its grip.

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The next morning at 7:00am sharp, we began the full Official Horror Movie Marathon and started with the 1943 Universal Monster film “The Mad Ghoul” about a scientist who falls in love with one of his student’s fiance and uses a gas that turns people into zombies in order to break them up and use his student as a tool of murder as a love triangle is in play. The vampire musical “Suck” was the next film and was about a down and out band who become vampires in order to become rock stars, but soon after meeting a vampire hunter try and stop their blood sucking ways! “Xtro II: The Second Encounter” was the third film and was about scientists in a underground facility being stalked by a killer alien from another dimension. The 1991 evil demon children film “The Boneyard” was next and was about a pair of cops as well as a psychic and a reanimated young lady who committed suicide stuck in the basement of the city morgue fighting for their lives against three evil demon children and their sinister creations. The next film was a Sci-Fi Channel original called “Scarecrow” about a killer you guessed it Scarecrow killing off a group of troubled kids as the owner of the farm and their teacher fight to try and save them. A independent slasher film was up next called “Hayride” about a killer who runs wild during Halloween and attacks people during a hayride attraction and customers and workers are his targets. The 1971 creature feature “Octaman” was next and had scientist battling a full size octopus man who wanted revenge for the taking and killing of his children and of course he ends up falling for one of the females that leads to the creatures downfall. “Gnome Alone” was the next flick to entertain us about a cursed witches bloodline that is plagued by a evil Gnome who also acts as their protectors and sadly a young girl becomes next in line, but this pint size terror also has a lust for not only revenge but blood. Kane Hodder and Bill Mosley starred in our next film called “Old 37” about two brothers who grew up watching their father who was a paramedic kill those in need, and now along with his old ambulance has taken up the killing ways. With the world being scared of creepy clowns, the next film for the marathon had to be the slasher flick “Clown Town” and was about a group of friends being stalked by killer clowns in a rundown town and they must quickly fight back in order to stay alive. And what better way to follow up a film about killer clowns than to deliver one about a serial killer in a easter bunny suit who along with his crazed friend stalk and kill women and that film was called “Bunnyman Massacre”. The 1985 shot on video film “The Ripper” was the final fright of the night and was about the spirit of Jack The Ripper being stuck inside a ring that possesses a school teacher who in turns starts up the killing spree of women in modern times, and cool enough FX Master Tom Savini plays The Ripper at the films climax. The event was pretty well attended with such friends as Stephen Alexander, Theresa Lopez, Jason Young, Jeremy Hoyt, Mike Ritchie, Juliet Fromholt and Garrison Kane all making appearances throughout the day, and weirdly enough once more this day Josh Weinberg didn’t show up to watch the spooky features of the small screen.

As always the Horror Movie Marathon was packed with some great food from snack food like potato chips and M&M’s all the way to pizza rolls and subs from Submarine House. As always we all had fun watching the films with Stephen, Theresa and I being the ones that stayed and watched all twelve films! I mean of course I was there the whole time as I am the host of the event, but have to say a big thanks to those two for enjoying every film alongside me. So for the best and worst list, I am going to have Stephen as well pick his to share his insights of the days horror flicks. This was a tough one to pick my best as I enjoyed many of the films that were shown and I felt all of them offered something different to the Horror Film world. My worst film of the day was pretty easy to pick as I would have to say Bunnyman Massacre as I felt that while watching a killer in a bunny suit chasing around women with a chainsaw was cool, it was the side character Joe who was also a killer who had some of the most lamest cuss spewing lame dialogue I have ever heard that, killed the mood of this slasher. Stephen as well selected Bunnyman Massacre as his worst and said this for his reason “It started strong and ended weak”. My # 3 of the day was The Ripper as this is one I seen on VHS many moons ago when my brother and I rented it from K&L Video.  For some reason, the cheesy storyline along with the gruesome gore effects makes it a guilty pleasure film.  Plus you can’t go wrong with Tom Savini as Jack The Ripper! My # 2 pick was Suck as I found this Rock N Roll musical to be well made and super funny as it also mixed comedy into the formula.  Plus you can’t go wrong with a film that stars Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins. Hands down, my # 1 was The Boneyard as I found it super fun, super creepy and over all a great flick! I mean whereelse in the world can you see a Phyllis Diller giant monster as well as a killer poodle monster? For me the film The Mad Ghoul almost made it to the my list as the third film but The Ripper was able to edge its way into the spot or should I say slash! For Stephen his picks were as follows: For his # 3 spot went to Octaman with his reason for picking it being “Solely because of the monster and how much they used him.” His # 2 spot was The Boneyard, and he had this to say, “Because it was fun and the monsters were very cool. Plus the use of average everyday people (as the actors) was refreshing”. And his # 1 spot went to Suck and this is why, “It was funny and a surprise. It had some cool people in it and the effects were cool. I definitely had the most fun with it by far”. So with that, this After Halloween Horror Movie Marathon came to an end and was a great time with great friends, good flicks and tasty food.

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For me growing up as a Monster Kid, having these get togethers with some of my nearest and dearest friends and family members is something that is just really special as I have a love for Horror Films and this allows me to share that with them. Plus what’s neat about these films I have shown for the Horror Movie Marathon 3.0 version is 98% of the time the films that are selected are first time watches for many of us and 2% of the time is stuff that we might have seen before but was so long ago that we want to revisit them. Take the above marathon for insistence, I had only seen two of the films before with them being Evil Unleashed: The Mummy and The Ripper, both that I had seen when I was younger with the rest being first time views! But to be fair, I can’t remember if I had seen Octaman before. And with that the next marathon I want to cover for this update was one that Juliet and I had at our apartment and was filled with many horror films that I helped via Kickstarter or Indie GoGo and only one film that I had seen before and was an event I was very much looking forward to! So check out below for a few more films I can remember the old gang watching on VHS for the first wave of the Horror Movie Marathon’s life and then we shall get into the main event of this update!

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Juliet and I selected April 3, 2017 as the day for this marathon as we wanted to pick a date to make this History of The Horror Movie Marathon fresh. So like normal, I had a typical day at work and headed home so that we could start the pre-show sharply at 6:00pm, and we had sausages for dinner.  We started the first film on the night, the 2016 flick that I helped on Indie Go-Go called “Killjoy: Psycho Circus,” the 5th film in this popular Full Moon Entertainment series that has the killer demon clown Killjoy hosting his own talk show called Psycho Circus and he and his band of killer clowns must rumble with Beezlebub who wants revenge. “Silent Night, Bloody Night: Homecoming” is a semi remake to the classic 1972 holiday flick and was the next fright flick pick.  It follows the cursed Butler Mansion and the killer that is stalking its grounds killing off the residents of the small town. “Monster On Campus” was next, and this Universal Monster film followed Doctor Donald Blake who by accident turns himself into a neanderthal man when he is cut on the hand by a prehistoric fishes tooth. And the final film of the night was “Sorority Slaughter House,” a cheesy killer doll film that has a college dean killing himself over a broken affair with a student that has his soul going into the body of a clown doll called Bobo. All these films helped add to the excitement of the coming Horror Movie Marathon day with both Juliet and I picking Monster On Campus as our favorite film of the night as it was a true cheesy science fiction horror film that was complete with a cool monster and historical women fainting into the arms of our monster. We both had different picks for our Golden Turkey of the night as I picked Sorority Slaughter House as mine because it was just plane bad! The film’s killer, Bobo, was not scary and voiced by Eric Roberts, and they reused the same shots over and over of the dolls feet moving around the house.  None of the cute girls get naked, and the plot was lame when they factor in a forced lesbian storylines and terrible shirtless male actors, but that’s what you get with modern David DeCoteau films. Juliet’s Golden Turkey pick was Silent Night, Bloody Night: Homecoming as she felt like it was a rushed remake that didn’t add anything new to the story and by all accounts would have been confusing to fans who had never seen the original as it did a poor job of diving into the film’s character history. But with the pre-show done and visions of bloody murders in my head, we went to sleep to gear up for the long day of Horror Flicks that awaited us.

On April 4th the weather outside was chilly yet nice spring weather, and Juliet and I woke up around 7am and started the marathon with the 1958 vampire film “The Return Of Dracula” that has Dracula hiding from his hunters with a family as posing as one of their relatives. “Godzilla 1984” was the next film and had Godzilla returning to Japan to once more destroy everything in sight and only a flying air craft and a scientist are the worlds hope. The third creepy flick was “Insane” about a couple buying a new home that has a sinister past of murder and when a clown show up things only get weirder. Shot-on-video film “Night Of The Clown” was up next and followed a family being stalked and killed by a killer in a clown suit who seems to hate pickles. The Massacre Home Video release of “City In Panic” was up next and was a cool slasher film about a killer who targets people with HIV. The sixth film of the day was directed by Don Dohler and was called “Fiend” about a killer spirit that reanimates a body who must kill in order to not rot away and tries to blend into a neighborhood but soon gets the attention of his neighbor who tries to solve the killings. Next was “Plank Face,” a horror film about a man who is taken captive by backwoods women who turn him into a wood faced breeding and attacking machine. Slasher film “Fender Bender” was next about a killer who picks his victims by causing small auto accidents to get their information and then coming to their homes and killing them. The next film was suppose to be “Knucklebones” put out by Brain Damage Films, but the movie on the disc was the wrong film so we watched the 1931 “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi! The next chiller was “Bloody Bloody Bible Camp,” a dark horror comedy about a masked killer nun who kills teens at a camp for worship. “The Barn” was next a film about three demons who are unleashed on Halloween when a group of friends awaken them! And the final fright of the night was “Krampus Unleashed” about a family who are targeted by Krampus an Christmas Eve.

This was another amazing Horror Movie Marathon that was filled with great food like Oh My Garlic Wings and breakfast casserole and lots of great and amazing films! I must say that all the films were so different and all entertaining in their own ways! But of course, Juliet and I had to pick our Golden Turkey of the day.  Mine was Night Of The Clown, while it was entertaining it seemed more like a inside joke about pickles and like a film that was made on a bored weekend with only two people in the whole cast. While I say that it was the Golden Turkey, I must stress that I really did enjoy the film for its backyard effects and great cheesy killer. Juliet picked Insane as she felt it was just not fully developed, and the story and characters seemed to lack motivation. Now my top three films of the day were hard to pick as I really enjoyed many of them, but here they go: my # 1 was The Barn as I found it really enjoyable and a nice throwback film to the 80’s, plus the movie monsters of the film Candycorn Scarecrow, Hollowed Jack and Boogeyman are all really great and work really well. The film has great acting and an amazing score as well…a must see. The # 2 film of the day for me was Fiend as the simple and effective film had a great story and a cool villain as the calm and cocky Longfellow stole the show as he choked his victims with glowing red hands! The cheesy effects of the rotting Longfellow were really cool and reminded me of Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things. My # 3 film of the day was hard to pick, but I decided that it was City In Panic as I found this low budget American Giallo feeling film to be a cool way to tackle the Aids scare of the 80’s and also had a fun plot of a radio DJ and his nightly talk show helping crack the case. Runners up for me had to be Plank Face and Return Of Dracula, both films I also really enjoyed. Juliet selected the following as her top films of the day # 1 The Barn, # 2 City In Panic and her # 3 was Plank Face! With this Marathon in the history books, I am looking forward to the next and the next as these events are truly special and a way for me and friends and loved ones to relax to the horrors of the TV screen.

The Horror Movie Marathon has had its ups and downs over the years in attendance and even with just staying around, but one thing is for sure, it has always entertained me and my friends who all love a good scare and who enjoy the spooky horrors of our TV screens thanks to home media. And while media has changed, I am hoping that The Horror Movie Marathon will stay around a very long time to entertain my friends and me with Horror films from the past and present. But for our next update, we are going to get up from the comfy couch and snack foods and head into the world of Atlas Comics as we take a look at one of their amazing superheroes Tiger Man! So until next time, read a comic or two, watch a Horror Film or three and enjoy some free time with your friends and family! See you next update as we go on the crime fighting hunt with the fearsome Tiger Man.

Horror Host Icon: The Creeper

Dayton has had its fair share of Horror Hosts with Dr. Creep of Shock Theater on Channel 22 being the most well known and loved. After Dr. Creep went off the air in 1985, the Horror Hosting void was filled years later thanks to public access and Hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Freak, Iris & Retina, Baron Von Porkchop, Commandant Gore and The Creeper who entertained and brought back the local host to TV airwaves. Growing up I have spent lots of late nights and early weekend afternoons watching Horror Hosts on the TV, and one that in my opinion has been way over looked here in the Dayton, Ohio area is The Creeper who hosted a great little show called “Moraine Playhouse Theater” that provided so many moments of entertainment for me and my brother Bryan. Thinking about it, I think The Creeper and A. Ghastlee Ghoul both started their Horror Host careers at the same time in 1989, making them both the official first Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts to fill the void of the legend Dr. Creep! So it’s with complete honor that I present to you again, and for some the first time, a host who brought so much joy to my youth and one that should be remembered for all he has done for not only Public Access TV but also the city of Moraine.  So welcome to this long overdue update as I bring to you Horror Host Icon: The Creeper!

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The Creeper was a host who enjoyed hosting locally shot Horror and Science Fiction no budget films on his show called Moraine Playhouse Theater that started in 1989 and aired on the public access stations MVCC and later DATV. No one is sure what The Creeper’s backstory is or why he loves to show cheesy locally shot movies but did know that he as well thought the armature films were stinkers but highly enjoyable. Over the shows run The Creeper had two looks that stuck out the most with me, with one being eye glasses with huge fake eyes, a red nose and a Halloween mask worn on the top of his head and backwards given the appearance that he had white hair and the more used and normal look for the later years of the show was a mask that was bald on top and white hair on the sides with an older vampire appearance that showcased wicked long teeth at the top of his mouth. But The Creeper’s appearance changed many times turning his run on public access even wearing a Jason Voorhees Hockey Mask! The Creeper just like Dr. Creep was known for his sinister high-pitched laugh that he would deliver through out the episode and would be something viewers would look forward to hearing. The Creeper’s style for hosting Moraine Playhouse Theater was that he would open and close the movie and would tell you at the start the films title and who was acting in it, while at the end he would most the time promote the film some more with also at times telling us about the next film to be shown. But while in most cases having a Horror Host only host during the opening and closing would not fair well with viewers it worked for The Creeper as Moraine Playhouse Theater was about an hour long and never felt like it over stayed it’s welcome with the armature cheesy film. One things for sure those who grew up watching The Creeper on Moraine Playhouse Theater understand that this nasally talking, high pitched laughing Horror Host was truly a great way to fill the void of Dr. Creep as our local Dayton, Ohio Host and made No Budget Horror films cool to watch and make.

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The Creeper was played by Dave Miller who at the time was working for the City of Moraine in the Parks and Recreation department and even as of this update he is still working for the city. He started his public access career in 1979 with the show “Moraine Recreation Update” and from there he and his friends would later go on to make their own No Budget Films and created “Moraine Playhouse Theater” as an outlet to show the films as well and encourage fellow Ohio viewers to write, produce and direct their own films with a chance to be shown on Moraine Playhouse Theater or better yet able to help on one of their films. For his time on Public Access Dave Miller has won many awards including an Arnie and as well is respected for all the stuff he has done for the city of Moraine. Dave also in his free time likes to hike looking for history and also enjoys going on ghost hunting adventures! Dave Miller is a man who takes pride in his city, state, family and making entertainment! I want to also note that he had a show called “Moraine Teen Theater” that was much like Moraine Playhouse but the films were done my teenagers!

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The Creeper never had any real sidekicks on his show but he did have many recurring characters in the movies he would show like the Paranormal Investigators, who were a group of scientists who would look into legends and cryptozoology creatures. They were very popular amongst the viewers and I can remember talking to kids at school about them as well as my brother and me would try and predict what other monsters they could have them hunt from Bigfoot all the way to Frankenstein’s Monster in future movies. We also had Deputy Cheeks, Sheriff Cobb and Billy Joe Black Bear all who lived in Colorado and hated the masked killer Jason Myers. But hands down the most popular character and the one that almost anyone who watched this show remembers is the hockey mask wearing supernatural serial killer named Jason Meyers who starred in four films that aired on the show and even was interviewed by The Creeper on one episode of the show! So while no characters shared the hosting duties with The Creeper on Moraine Playhouse Theater, the show did have many of the returning characters in the no budget movies feel like a part of the shows lore because they where! Below is a picture of the Paranormal Investigators as well as Jason Meyers all whom made this Horror Host show even more special for us the viewers.

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While the Jason Myers Friday The 13th knockoff films are some of the most iconic flicks that The Creeper had hosted one other has always stuck out to me! Moraine Playhouse Theater episode 7 were he hosted the film “Trail Of The Werewolf” that was an adventure of the Paranormal Investigators who travel to Minnesota in order to stop a killer werewolf who has been making short work of the locals. The Creeper segments were nothing to special and had him wearing a hockey mask in what appears to be a kitchen and while he is as entertaining as ever it was the over all cheesiness of the film that stuck out the most to me. The werewolf was just a man in a half faced werewolf Halloween mask, but to be honest I think that’s what I love about it the most. The effects of the kills was pure backyard stuff and tame and the soundtrack like most of the movies made for this show was taken from Night Of The Living Dead. My favorite scene from the film is when The Werewolf attacks a gravedigger in the cemetery, so fun and holds the true spirit of independent no budget cinema. You see I have always been a fan of werewolves and as you long time readers and friends know my first ever original shot on video film was “Werewolf Of Ohio” and with Trail Of The Werewolf being made years before it, I wonder if maybe this film and episode of Moraine Playhouse Theater helped inspire my cult shot on video film, it’s very possible as I know that this show was my introduction to armature local shot on video films. The copy I got of this episode came from the master tapes of The Creeper and while it has glitches I still found it to be as entertaining as it was in the past and this could be my favorite film of the series with my favorite host segments being on Moraine Playhouse Theater episode 4 aka the episode that shows Jason Still Lives Part 2: The Ski Resort Murders. So I want to send out a big thanks to The Creeper and the cast of crew that made this show and its movies as they helped shape this aging Monster Kid into what he is today.

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After about 15 years of being away from TV screens across the Dayton, Ohio area I had to look high and low in every local graveyard and abandon video rental stores to find him and I am proud to say that The Creeper has been found and was nice enough to take a few moments away from watching his shot on video no budget horror films to give me a interview! So here it is 5 Questions with The Creeper…

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Matt: Welcome to Rotten Ink Creeper, and I guess my first question for you is when did you decide to become a Horror Host and unleash Moraine Playhouse Theater onto the viewers of MVCC Public Access?

Creeper: Growing up I enjoyed watching Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and Christopher Lee horror movies and from that interest I purchased a super 8 movie camera.  My friends and I in high school began making silent movies in 1973 and trying to add sound to them with a tape recorder.  In 1979 working for the City of Moraine I was introduced to MVCC and began filming, writing, editing and hosting Moraine Parks & Recreation shows for the municipal access channel.  In the late 1980’s I began the Moraine Playhouse Theater shows hosted by The Creeper.  We wanted to write, act in and show our movies on TV and thought that some kind of horror host character would work good to introduce and make fun of our own movies.

Matt: So what if any Horror Hosts inspired you to become a host yourself?

Creeper:  Growing up before cable TV my television at home could only pick up four local channels and if the weather was good I could get one Cincinnati channel and one Indianapolis channel.  I watched Dr. Creep in Dayton, the Cool Ghoul in Cincinnati and Sammy Terry out of Indianapolis.  They were funny and played all the Universal classic monster movies.

Matt: So over the years us viewers always wondered why you changed your appearance so much, was it to keep us guessing at what was next from you?

Creeper: I really didn’t want to change the appearance of The Creeper.  I had a creepy looking half ghoul/ half old man mask that was perfect for The Creeper.  But I used it every year for Moraine’s haunted house attraction (which became Slash Moraine) which we ran three or four weekends every October for Moraine Parks & Recreation.   So eventually the mask wore out.  So in some Playhouse Theaters I grabbed whatever mask was handy, one time just grabbing the Jason hockey mask and wrapping myself in a bed sheet.  It added to the cheesy-ness of our productions.

Matt: Your show Moraine Playhouse Theater has had many fan favorite episodes, but what is your favorite episode?

Creeper: We began in 1989 and through 1999 we had over a dozen shows.  Among them we had four movies centered around the “Jason” character, one movie where we battled a werewolf, another movie aliens and UFO’s.  But my favorite movie was when the Paranormal Investigators battled a vampire in “Trail of the Vampire”.  It was classic poor acting, cheesy special effects, but a good story line which always keeps us laughing every time we watch it.  My second favorite is “Cops & Robbers” (we spent a lot of time on that creative title didn’t we?) which is a fast paced police tale in which the detective’s are on the trail of a criminal genius named “The Viper”.  Depending on the availability or lack of availability of the person playing the Viper, if you look real close sometimes the Viper has a full head of hair, sometimes he is going bald.

Matt: The final question that is on all the minds of us who grew up watching your show is will their ever be new episodes and will we ever see “Trail Of The Zombie” the lost adventure of The Paranormal Investigators?

Creeper: I am going to say yes you will see it by years end.  I need to learn digital editing at MVCC because editing and creating the final product is the most fun aspect of moviemaking to me.  We have a zombie footage scene that we filmed in back in 1991 and have filmed scenes for this movie at least four or five other years.   I guess it is time to try to come up with a plot to tie them all together (if that is even possible) and finish filming this epic movie.  And yes, The Creeper will host the show and I am sure he will mock the script and the poor acting.

Matt: Thanks for all these wonderful answers Creeper!

WOW! That’s fantastic news as it would be great to have another Dayton, Ohio Horror Host active to go alongside Baron Von Porkchop. And with rumors of a new episodes by Iris & Retina of “Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go” being in the works, Dayton might just become a hot bed for Horror Hosts again! I want to thank The Creeper for taking time away from his no budget films to answer these questions for me and my readers as it’s always fun to chat with a Host!

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So we are now at the part of this Horror Host Icon review where we take a look at the episodes I have on DVD-R.  I want to thank Andy Copp, who, a long time ago for my birthday, got me a copy of Episode 4.  Also, a big thank you to Dave Miller and the staff of MVCC who got me all the remaining episodes.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Cops And Robbers
Starring – Tim Clark & Dave Miller     Not Rated      199?

Host: The Creeper, wearing a skull mask, introduces the 6th episode of the series and hypes up both films that will be shown! The first is called “Cowboy And Indians” and acts as the warm up film as it’s a vintage 1970’s super 8 film. After the first film, The Creeper is wearing a goblin Halloween mask and explains that he will be going Trick Or Treating and then introduces the second film, a detective themed flick. At the end of the show, The Creeper wishes everyone a Happy Halloween and tells us about the next film that would appear on the show.

Movie: Jack Hammer and Joe Monday are two good detectives who are in the big city and must try to end the crime wave of the evil masked crime lord, The Viper, and his sinister henchmen!

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Still Lives
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    1989

Host: The Creeper comes out of a coffin and informs us that the night’s film is inspired by the Friday The 13th film series and will showcase the talents of many of Moraine, Ohio’s top armature actors. At the end of the show, The Creeper is drinking blood and introduces his son The Leper who is over 200 years old and briefly interviews him and shows his son’s short film “Fleshy Headed Mutants 2051”!

Movie: Jason Myers is a hockey masked killer on a cruise ship who comes ashore and starts killing people in Ohio! Can the local cops put a stop to his rampage or will this killer on the loose rid the town of its entire population?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Still Lives 2
Starring – Scott Golden & Dave Miller    Not Rated   199?

Host: The Creeper is once more in a great mood as he brings us the second film in the Jason Myers series.  He is so happy that he also gets to interview the killer live on the show! But joy turns to terror as the silent killing machine Jason does not take kindly to The Creeper’s judgment of him and attacks our host!

Movie: Jason Myers is back and now in Colorado on a murdering spree during a blizzard that leaves Sheriff Cobb and Deputy Cheeks on the hunt for the madman, all the while braving the cold and getting the help of a mountain man named Billy Joe Black Bear! In the end Jason has his final stand on a cliff that leaves the hockey masked killer falling to his death…or does he?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Return Of Jason 3
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    1992

Host: The Creeper is walking down a hall and notices the viewers.  He lets us know that today’s first film is a comedy short called “Junior: The Mean Little Boy,” changing up the pace from horror to silly comedy. The Creeper is now in master control of a TV station and tells us that today’s film was requested by fans and that it took two years to complete! But sadly this episode is not complete and is not only missing the end of the movie, but also the end of The Creepers closing segment.

Movie: Deputy Bud Cheeks and Sheriff Cobb are upset when the body of Jason is missing after falling off the cliff at the end of the second Jason film.  They go back to the scene of the crime and find that the killer could be alive still! After a phony press conference, Cobb and Cheek know that they must really stop the killer once and for all. Now Jason Myers is loose again and starting his killing spree on all those who get in his wicked path for revenge, but this time in Chicago.  So our Colorado law enforcement team of Cheeks, Cobb and Billy Joe Black Bear comes to Chi-Town to save face for lying.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Part IV
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    2000

Host: The Creeper is in a living room, covered with a blanket and introduces the day’s film, the fourth in the chilling Jason Myers series.  Our host informs us that this film was 8 years in the making. He also informs us that this is the show’s Halloween episode and ushers us into the film.

Movie: Jason Meyers is brought back to life at his funeral after a relative of one of his victims breaks into the funeral home and brings the killer back to life by accident. Deputy Bud Cheeks is once more on the hunt to bring down Jason and tries to get Billy Joe Black Bear to help him on the case again but instead must go to Chicago alone to bring him down. Can the world’s favorite goofy deputy do it?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The UFO
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark   Not Rated   1991-1997

Host: The Creeper is chilling in his office and shares a short film called “The Return Of The Vampire” and then chats about aliens & UFO’s and the new adventure of The Paranormal Investigators who star in the day’s film. The Creeper ends the show wearing a tux and thanks us for watching both films and dares us to join him for the next episode.

Movie: The Paranormal Investigators are back and this time are on the hunt for a UFO that has been tormenting a small town. When they themselves are abducted and wake up with missing hours, they wind up in a farmhouse with an alien outside with a message for NASA and the human race.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The Vampire
Starring – Dave Miller & Tim Clark    Not Rated    199? 

Host: The Creeper brags about how his show won an Arnie Award, meaning that they are the best of Public Access! He then informs us that this is the first in a series featuring The Paranormal Investigators that will always be on the trail of some sort of monster!

Movie: The Paranormal Investigators are back and this time are on the hunt to stop a vampire outbreak that has lead to many deaths and points back to Count Dracula! Can our team put an end to his blood sucking curse?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The Werewolf
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark   Not Rated   1992

Host: The Creeper is now wearing a Hockey Mask and a blanket and once more is very hyped to bring you the best of the worst of Moraine shot on video horror and ushers us with glee into the day’s movie. After the first movie, The Creeper brags about how bad the films he shows are but also delivers another short film for us to enjoy called “Janitor Man”! Once the film’s over, The Creeper wakes up from a nap and closes the show.

Movie: Harry is a wildman who is wandering around the town and at night, during the full moon, is a werewolf! But on the case once more are the legendary Paranormal Investigators who are going to stop the werewolf’s rampage!

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The Creeper and Moraine Playhouse Theater were truly staples of my childhood viewing as he and the cheap movies he showed always brightened my day. I can remember watching his show in Waynesville and when traveling with my parents and brother to Kettering to visit my grandparents, talking with my brother about the show. So I want to say a truly big THANK YOU to The Creeper for all the years of public access entertainment he has delivered, and I for one think he should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as he helped inspire me as well as other creative people in the Dayton area. For our next update, we are going to walk away from the world of Horror Hosts and into another chilling “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update about the 2014 film I, Frankenstein! So until next time, watch a Horror film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a shocking good time with Frankenstein’s Monster known as Adam.

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From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Back in 1978, there was no more room in Hell so the dead walked the earth and attacked a group of survivors who were living in a shopping mall…in 2004, it happened again! You see, Hollywood loves to remake classic horror films, and besides Dawn Of The Dead, many other classic series have gotten this treatment like Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Amityville Horror, Prom Night, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Night Of The Living Dead, The Hills Have Eyes, The Fly, Carrie, Black Christmas, Psycho, Friday The 13th, Evil Dead, The Wolf Man and my god, so many more showing that instead of making sequels or original horror films they would rather just modernize the classics. But that’s not to say that all remakes are bad.  While many are pure garbage like Psycho and A Nightmare On Elm Street, many are good like The Hills Have Eyes and Dawn of the Dead, which is the topic of todays update, another in our From Horror Movie To Horror Comic series. So let’s get ready to shop till we drop and spend our time dodging the undead as we once more hit the mall of the living dead! Are you ready for Dawn Of The Dead 2004 Remake…The Comic!!

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In order to move on, we must first come to understand what this film is bringing to the table in the killer/monster department so let’s take a moment to break it down. The film’s main villains are zombies, and in this remake, there is thousands of them in the parking lot of the mall, all who want to eat our heroes and are growing in numbers as the living keep dying. Why the dead are back and eating the living is a hot topic during this outbreak, and many have theories that range from God being upset to a new virus, man made or even nature made. The zombies are fast moving and can run as fast as a normal human with their undead advantage being that they do not get tired and can give chase long after a living person tires out. Besides being fast, they also have in their arsenal of killing the fact they are in large packs and can overwhelm their targets.  They will use their teeth and hands to shred and rip flesh, and they can infect living humans and cause them to die painfully and later turn into a undead being for their ever growing army. Also their rotting appearance is something that scares the living and causes them to panic as well as leave themselves open for an attack. The zombies do have weaknesses as they are not very bright and are consumed with the need to feed, making it easy for humans to outsmart them. They can be “killed” again with fire and gunshots to the head.  They can also be slowed down when cut in half. But even with their weaknesses, The Zombies are a force to be reckoned with as they will not stop until the world belongs to them and the living are no more.

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So as you can see, The Zombies made the lives of the Mall survivors very miserable.  Now that you know how they kill, I think we should take a look at the film that spawned this promo comic. Once more the write up will be taken from our pals at IMDB, plus we will look at the stars and makers of the film, and afterward I will share some of my thoughts on this remake film as well as the first time I watched it. So let’s aim for the head and take a moment to break down this 2004 film.

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Dawn Of The Dead (2004)

Ana goes home to her peaceful suburban residence, but she is unpleasantly surprised the morning that follows when her husband is brutally attacked by her zombified neighbor. In the chaos of her once picturesque neighborhood, Ana flees and stumbles upon a police officer named Kenneth, along with more survivors who decide that their best chances of survival would be found in the deserted Crossroads Shopping Mall. When supplies begin running low and other trapped survivors need help, the group comes to the realization that they cannot stay put forever at the Shopping Mall, and devise a plan to escape.”

When I first heard that a remake of Dawn Of The Dead was coming to theaters in 2004, I was in doubt that they could make a modern version of this classic zombie film work and with a then-unknown director named Zack Snyder heading it, I decided not to watch it in the theater as I felt this was just a bad idea and told all my friends that I was not going to be seeing this one and would just wait for DVD. But when I found out the screenplay writer was James Gunn, who was responsible for writing the film “Tromeo And Juliet” for Troma, along with lots of solid actors like Ving Rhames who plays police cop Kenneth Hall, Sarah Polley as Nurse Ana Clark, Mekhi Phifer as soon to be dad Andre, Ty Burrell as Stephen, Jake Weber as good guy Michael, Kim Poirier as the sexy blonde Monica and Lindy Booth as sweet young teenager Nicole, it made me break my grand stand of horror movie remake hate and head to the theaters with friends to watch this film on the silver screen.  All of us loved it as did the rest of the movie goers as the theater was somewhat packed! The film had a nice mix of horror, action, drama and comedy, and all the actors nailed their parts.  The score by Tyler Bates was moody and fitting. The best part was that this film didn’t try to be the original and added its own touch to the survivors in a mall during a zombie outbreak.  This is what made this movie shine as each character was their own person and had their own personalities with none borrowing from the 1978’s base characters. The zombies were treated as being scary, and they even have a baby zombie showing that this film was sticking to twisted and scary, meaning no pie fights between bikers and the undead. When the film was released on DVD, I ended up buying it and still to this day alongside a small amount of other remakes will praise it and say this is how a remake is done right. The film when released was # 51 at the US box office brining in a total of $59,020,957.00 on a $26 million dollar budget. In 2004, Dawn of The Dead was joined by other horror films like “Saw”, “Seed of Chucky”, “Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed”, “Secret Window”, “Shaun of The Dead”, “Tremors 4: The Legend Begins” and “The Card Player” to name a few showing that fans had lots of great stuff to chill their bones that year. While not as good as the original, this remake packs a bite and helped spark the rebirth of the zombie doom that is still going strong till this day.

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Along with the film’ release, in 2004 the Atari 2600 Homebrew game makers decided that the world needed a game based on this remake film, a game that has you driving a vehicle and fighting off zombies and collecting gas to keep your escape dream alive. The game is just a hack of “Worm War I” and can be found as a rom on the net as well as put on a Atari cart, which is how I own the game! While fun for a short while, it does get repetitive and like all Atari 2600 games it has simple game play and cheesy graphics. So if you like old school video games, this is one you might want to check out if you enjoy your games based on Horror Films.

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The 2004 version of Dawn Of The Dead was a perfect film to make into a comic book, and around the time of this film’s release IDW put out a comic adaptation mini series based on the original 1978 film.  So I am sure you’re wondering why the newer movie only got a promo comic given away free in the DVD release, right? Well around this time MiG.Biz was working on a magazine size adaptation of this film and this promo comic was just a small part of the over all bigger release that sadly never saw the light of day as it appears they went out of business before it could make it to comic shop shelves. It’s a shame as I would have loved to cover the whole comic for this update and not just the promo, but it was just not meant to be. I want to thank Game Swap Kettering for not only having this comic in stock but also for alerting me to the fact this comic was even made. So let’s enter the mall and see how this batch of survivors deals with the zombie apocalypse, but before I do I can hear this on the overhead speakers: “I grade this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.”  Now they are playing Richard Cheese covering Disturbed so I think it’s time to enter the mall!

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Dawn Of The Dead **
Released in 2004    Cover Price $0.00    Mig Biz    # 1 of 1

At St. George Hospital things are getting odd as a man with a bite on his arm from a bar fight is now at death’s door, and poor nurse Ana is already an hour late leaving work before she can go home to her husband Luis. Once home and spending date night together, Vivian, the young girl from the neighborhood shows up in their house dead, and as a zombie she bites and infects Luis who is now hungry for flesh.  Ana knowing something is wrong tries to call 911 only to find the line down and decides to jump in her car to get her man help.  But while driving she crashes and wakes up to find a police man holding a shotgun to her face.  Once he figures out she is alive, the pair run into three more survivors who warn them that the road up ahead is littered with zombies and a decision is made to make it to the nearby mall, and so ends this promo comic adventure.

This promo comic is just the adaptation of the film’s opening and is done with black and white art that cuts out much of the openings gore and blood. Yes you heard me right the comic is very light on the red stuff as the whole scene of the zombies attacking the neighborhood is gone as is the scene of zombie Luis attacking Ana who has to hide in the bathroom to escape his chopping teeth! Those two scenes are very iconic for the movie and for some reason MiG.Biz decided that they didn’t need to be added to this promo comic. The comics story is this Ana is a nurse who after a long shift at work goes home for date night with her husband who in the morning is bitten by a little zombie girl and is turned into a flesh eater himself! While getting away she has a car wreck that leads her to joining a small group of survivors that have a plan to hide out in a near by mall. They throw in some news broadcast pages and you have this very basic and not scary promo comic. Ana is a character who clearly is a hard worker as she stays after work to be helpful as well as a loving wife as she clearly loves her man. Luis seems like a man who is in love with his wife and just enjoys being who he is, but as a zombie he is filled with rage and hunger and clearly wants to eat his wife alive! Vivian is a young girl who likes to roller skate around the block and clearly is liked by the Clarks, but once turned into a zombie she don’t care about friendship as she wants bloody flesh! The Police Cop and the other survivors we don’t get to know much about but we do know they want to live and have seen some terrible stuff while trying to do so. The downside to this comic is the fact we only see two zombies, one bite attack, the characters don’t get to flushed out and we really don’t get to the meat of the story as this seems just like we get a nibble on the free bread at the table. I have a feeling or at least I would hope that the full comic would have had some amazing zombie attacks complete with blood and guts, as this teaser was pretty tame and was very weak on the red stuff. But while this comic does have flaws I would say it was enjoyable and the art done by Miguel A. Insignares is pretty great stuff and holds a 2000’s zombie comic appeal. The cover for this issue is a little lame and has a zombie in shadow on a white background, pretty bland and for some reason reminds me of Image Comics from the 90’s. Over all this review was longer than the comic and it’s a shame that the full comic was never released as I would have loved to seen the comic version of actress Kim Poirier and seen how they would have handled the rest of the movies gore moments and key scenes. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Miguel’s.

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So once again we have made it out of the mall and are safe from the dead.  While this promo comic might not have been amazing and a must read for horror comic fans, I will say I am glad I found out about it cause it made for a great From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. For our next update, we are walking away from the world of horror and into the world of Archie Comics, and we will be taking a look at a NES Game turned comic with “The Adventures Of Bayou Billy”! So until we meet again, avoid being eaten by a zombie, watch a horror movie or two, read a horror comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host! See you in the bayou readers and friends!

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From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Sleepstalker

Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep as your body and mind really does need it to recharge, and it allows your mind to drift into pleasant dreams and sinister nightmares. Being 37 years old now, I have had several dreams or is that nightmares that have been recurring ones.  One had to do with Freddy Kruger from the A Nightmare On Elm Street series chasing me up stairs and around the basement in our old house on Muriel Ave.  The second had me at school in Waynesville, and the hall monitors were the Gamorrean Guards (Pig Guards) from Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi who were very mean and would shove and punch you in the arms. Growing up, I was told of a magical being called Mr. Sandman who is responsible for your slumber, listened to the song Mr. Sandman sung by The Chordettes, boxed Mr. Sandman in the Nintendo video game series Punch Out, read about Spider-Man beating The Sandman on the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man comics and watched him get beat up by Jean-Claude Van Damme in the 1990 film Death Warrant, but I also knew him as the killer in the 1995 direct to video film Sleepstalker.  This master of the killing arts will be the topic for today’s quick and bloody “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update, so sit back and drink some warm milk or sleepy time tea as we go on a dream slasher spree with The Sandman from the film Sleepstalker and the Malibu comic based around it. So ready or not, The Sandman is on the prowl here at Rotten Ink and he has a bedtime story to tell you all….

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So before we get too far into this update, we need to take a look and understand the killer of this independent horror flick. The Sandman is a serial killer who puts families to sleep, even dropping sand over their dying faces and sings bed time nursery rhymes. His targets were families with 7 years old kids and his motives were unknown at the time of his capture, but soon thanks to The Preacher we find out The Sandman must kill his last victim, his brother! His lips are scared from being sewn shut when he was a kid by an abusive father, and his face is thin with evil intentions.  He is truly a walking nightmare with a sick reality brewing in his twisted brain. After being captured and 17 years after his crimes, The Sandman is being executed by the gas chamber but is given immortality and demonic power thanks to a voodoo priest, but he can only keep the powers if he can kill his last victim that lead to his arrest. As the demonic Sandman, he is sand based and can turn into a piles of sand and morph into his human form. His weaknesses are water, as it washes away his sand body and can hurt him, and sunlight. He is cold, calculated and thinks his killings are justified and takes pleasure in them. While abused as a child and saving his baby brother from the abuse as an adult, he now wants to kill his brother and become the force of evil he thinks he should be. The Sandman can use the sand that makes up his body to morph into places, kill his victims and when heated up can use his body as glass to shank and kill. Sinister and calculated, this serial killer is on a mission to become even more evil and seems to not have a care in the world as to how many must die for him to achieve it.

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So now you know why and how The Sandman kills, so we should now move onto the film Sleepstalker that spawned this sand based killer. We will take the film’s plot from our good friends at IMDB, and we will learn not only about its story but also who directed it, the stars of the film as well as my first time viewing it. So grip your pillow a little tighter as we are about to drift deeper into this nightmare Horror film.

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Sleepstalker  (1995)

Seventeen years after slaughtering all but one member of a family, a vicious serial killer known only as “The Sandman” awaits execution. But first, his jailers allow a minister to visit the killer to give him last rites, unaware that the minister is a voodoo priest and an ally of the condemned prisoner. The priest places a hex on the Sandman so that when he is executed, his soul migrates into a new body made of sand. To sever his ties with his former life and achieve absolute power, the sandman must find and kill a man named Griffin, the sole survivor of the last family murdered by the killer.

In 1995, a movie was released direct to video that was directed by Turi Meyer who also directed horror film “Candyman: Day Of The Dead” as well as episodes for TV shows like “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Smallville,” and the film I am talking about today is Sleepstalker. The film stars Jay Underwood as Griffin the hero, Kathryn Morris plays damsel in distress Megan, Ken Foree plays a police detective, Peter Mark Vasquez plays a street gang leader, Michael D. Roberts played the sinister Preacher and Michael Harris plays the killer The Sandman. I can remember this film playing on Cinemax when I was a kid as well as sitting on the shelves at Video Rental stores like West Coast Video, K & L Video and Blockbuster Video on VHS. The first time I watched it was on cable and can remember just how cheesy it, was and yet for some reason enjoyed it as I found the story to be a mix of Candyman, Dust Devil and Nightmare On Elm Street rolled together in one low budget package. My brother taped it on VHS off Cinemax, and on one lazy weekend evening we gave it a watch.  I can remember it being one we both said was okay but nothing too special, and it was quickly forgotten by me until it finally came to DVD thanks to Lions Gate. 1995, the year this film was released, had many other great horror films released and by all accounts this one was just lost in the shuffle as films like “Halloween 6: Curse Of Michael Myers”, “Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight”, “Castle Freak”, “Candyman: Farewell To The Flesh”, “Howling VII: New Moon Rising”, “Leprechaun 3” and “Embrace Of The Vampire.” The film was meet with poor reviews as many fans and critics thought the film had too many plot holes and that the killer’s motives were too close to those of Michael Myers of Halloween as he as well was on a quest to kill his sibling. The film was left open for a sequel as The Preacher finds the burnt up remains of The Sandman and begins his voodoo chants, but the sequel was never made as the powers to be in Hollywood seemed to not want a sequel. Another very interesting fact about this film was that also in 1995 independent filmmaker J.R. Bookwalter made a film called “The Sandman” about a dream demon who killed people in a trailer park as they slept…two horror films with The Sandman name as the killer made for fans of night terror themed horror films very happy. So say what you will about Sleepstalker, while it might have flaws it sure is a fun watch on a cold October night or for your own horror movie marathon.

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I have been a comic book reader and a horror film watcher for as long as I can remember, and besides garage sales, Big Bear and the antique stores in town, I always got my comics from Bookie Parlor and Mavericks and never in my quests for comics did I know that Malibu Comics released a comic based on Sleepstalker.  I did not learn about this comic until 2016 thanks to Lone Star Comics who had it in stock and made this update possible. That’s one thing I love about the world of comics and horror films there are so many of them out in the world have yet to be read and watched by me, and I love to discover issues like this as I am a fan of comics based on horror films. But slumber is calling and these sheep are not going to count themselves and these logs will not saw alone so The Sandman is demanding that I tell you that I grade this issue on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready to see if this comic that acts as a set up to the film holds any thrills or chills, I know I am ready!

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Sleepstalker: Sandman’s Last Rites # 1  **1/2
Released in 1995     Cover Price $2.20     Malibu Comics     # 1 of 1

Griffin sits alone in his apartment with a gun in his hand, he is scared as he knows that the supernatural killer The Sandman is on his way to kill him like he tried many years ago. He remembers back to when he was a young kid and The Sandman selected his family’s home to kill his mother and father all the while threatening him with permanent sleep and singing nursery rhymes. Griffin remembers back how a cop showed up just in time and arrested The Sandman who promised he would be back to finish what he started with Griffin, and now as an adult he knows that The Sandman is no longer a man but a demonic killer who’s body is made of sand and is heading his way. The Sandman meanwhile is using his sand abilities to kill a couple walking down the street as well as a taxi driver who drops him off at Griffin’s apartment. In the end The Sandman stands in the street in front of Griffin’s building and warns the young man he is there to kill him.

This promo comic acts as a way to hype the film to those who were thinking about renting it from their local video rental store. The plot has our hero and survivor of a murder attempt remembering back to the time of his life when he was the target of a madman, and we also follow that madman now on his way to kill the youngster he targeted 17 years before. Griffin is a man who is haunted by his past as he not only was being stalked by a killer but also seen the bodies of his parents that were murdered before his eyes, well at least his mother was. He knows that guns will not save his life this time as the once human killer is something more now. The Sandman is a killer who while human enjoyed singing, killing and covering the eyes with sand of his victims and even now as a demonic killer he still enjoys those things in undead life. His hatred and obsession with Griffin in this promo comic is unknown but as a reader you just pick up on the fact he hates him and wants him dead. This comic is only10 pages long and just acts as a way to bring the start of the film into the comic world and add its own twist to the lore the film set up. One funny change is that The Sandman instead of turning into a sand storm decides to take a cab to get to Griffin’s house…why would he take a cab? Imagine Jason Voorhees taking an uber ride to Crystal Lake or even Tall Man taking the RTA to the funeral home…just silly. The comic is bloodless but does have some kills with the best being the death of a couple that stumble across The Sandman who uses the sand to engulf them. The cover is pretty eye catching and is the films direct to video poster done with a comic layout twist, the art inside is done by Rob Davis and looks pretty good and is so fitting for the Malibu Comic style of comics. In fact Rob Davis also did work on such comics as “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Pirates Of Dark Water” and “Scimidar” and has a true 90’s comic feel to his work. While this Horror Comic is not ground breaking and is clearly only for fans of the film, I found it a good read and was cool to see The Sandman do what he does best and that’s sing and kill this time as a comic book character. Check out the artwork below for the style of this comic. And again if you are a fan of this film or just love to read comics based on horror films check it out, if you are neither of those, I would say avoid it.

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So the alarm clock on this update is about to go off, and the world of terror of The Sandman is coming to an end and it brings us to the finish of this look at Sleepstalker and the Malibu Comic based on it. But next we are still staying in the world of horror as we will once more look at an Undead File based around a micro budget comic called Zombies From Hell! So until we meet again on the next update watch a horror film or two, read a comic or three and as always support your local Horror Host…pleasant dreams readers and friends!!

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Matt Goes To The Movies 2016

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The year of 2016 was a crazy one for me as much of my time was spent working on comic books for Sparkle Comics, the company I co-own with Jason Young as well as trying to film Baron Von Porkchop episodes among many other things like helping on films and of course working on updates for here at Rotten Ink. One thing I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted to this year was go to the movie theater so I want to apologies for the lack of depth to this list. 2016 was a pretty big year for cinema as we got many sequels to big budget movies like “Star Trek Beyond” and “Rougue One: A Star Wars Story.” We got classic books turned into big summer blockbusters like “Jungle Book” and “The Legend Of Tarzan,” not to mention lots of horror films from “The Conjuring 2” all the way to “Blair Witch,” the third film in that cult series. Hitting the cinemas this year, I filled my tummy with lots of popcorn and blue Icee’s and saw films in theaters like Regal, Cinemark, Danberry Huber Heights and Cranberry Cinema and had a blast watching the silver screen with friends like Juliet Fromholt, Jeremy Hoyt, Josh Weinberg, Stephen Alexander, Theresa Lopez, Thomas “Maurice” Smith and many more all who made the experience more fun. A weird thing about this year in movies is that while it was filled with many blockbusters, it also had many flops that expressed moviegoers lack of interest in sequels and reboots to films of the past, but this year also proved that Disney knows how to pack them into the theater with superhero films as well as family friendly adventures. Plus, it proved to Hollywood that horror films make money and bring profits on smaller budgets. So let’s find our seats here at Rotten Ink Theater and chat a little about the films of 2016!

Film Reels

Normally I would start with my “Worst” list, but since I wasn’t at the cinema as much this year, I didn’t get to see the that many films, and lucky for me, none of the ones I did get to see were what I would call a worst film. So this time around we are going to start with science fiction and fantasy, two genres that are near and dear to my heart.  So let’s sit here for a moment and chat about them, shall we?scifi-16# 5

the-5th-wave-posterHigh school student Cassie Sullivan is stuck in a world of chaos as aliens are attacking the Earth, killing off the human race.  When her younger brother is taken, she along with some other survivors go to war to try and survive and bring back the world they once knew. This fun science fiction film was based on the book of the same name written by Rick Yancey and was filled with lots of action as well as aliens and their waves of attacks that included flooding and spreading a sickness. The film, while not groundbreaking, was a fun film to see in the theater and actress Chloe Grace Moretz is fantastic in the role of Cassie.  You definitely find yourself cheering for her to kick some alien butt. The film did poorly at the US box office for Sony and brought in $34,912,982.00 on a $38 million dollar budget, but was a hit overseas making the film semi profitable. I would say the film is worth checking out on DVD if you skipped it at the theater or even maybe a rental from a local video store.

# 4

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While a third Ghostbusters sequel with the original cast was just not in the cards, we did get a reboot to the series that featured a whole new female cast gearing up with their protonpacks and tackling a whole new group of ghosts as well as some returning favorites like Slimer! This go around we follow Dr. Erin Gilbert who lost her tenure at Columbia University after a video shows up online of her on a paranormal research.  Along with friends Dr. Abby Yates, Dr. Jillian Holtzmann and Patty Tolan, Erin opens The Ghostbusters, a business that is set to rid the city of ghosts thanks to equipment they make in house. But when the city of New York comes under attack by a powerful evil spirit, they are the only hope….but are they ready to be the heroes? The film was directed by Paul Feig and starred Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Chris Hemsworth and even has cameos from many of the actors from the original films. I found the film to be lots of fun, and the characters were well portrayed with Holtzmann being the silliest and funniest! The film had some funny moments, and I find the fact that many fanboys got butt hurt over the film being made with all females comedians as The Ghostbusters was just silly and showed that many of these types of “fans” ruin things for others as sadly the film did poorly for Sony at the US Boxoffice bringing in $128,350,574.00 on a $144 million dollar budget.  By the look of it, a sequel is not in the works. I would say if you skipped this at the theater make sure to give it a chance and watch it on DVD or Blu-Ray and make up your own mind about it.

# 3

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Disney has done another great job of turning one of their classic animated features into a live action film, and they made one heck of a great film with The Jungle Book! The film is about young human boy Mowgli who is raised by wolves in India, but when he becomes the target of the evil tiger Shere Khan, they are forced to send him away to rejoin the human race. Along his journey he is protected by black panther Bagheera and bear Baloo from not only Khan, but also giant python Kaa and King Louie, who is the king of the monkeys. But in the end Mowgli must face his fears of Shere Khan to save his animal friends and family from his terror as well as a fire that spreading across the jungle. The film was a great family adventure film and when sitting in the theater I felt like a kid again as Baloo sang “Bear Necessities.”  Everyone did a great job voicing the animals; I mean you cant go wrong with the talents of Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley and Christopher Walken. Director Jon Favreau did a fantastic job of making this film come alive and helps bring out the personality of the animals more by treating them as if they were real actors on set. The film did great for Disney at the US Box Office bringing in $364,001,123.00 on a $175 million budget making it a hit for sure! This was worth a watch and even a buy on home media if you enjoy the story of The Jungle Book as this is only slightly under the animated feature as being the best adaptation of the book.

# 2

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Captain Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise are in major trouble when they travel into an uncharted nebula on a set up mission that leaves them at the mercy of Krall and his men who want to kill as many federation members as possible and have chaos throughout the galaxy. Can Kirk and his crew along, with their new alley Jaylah, escape the nebula and save lives in time before Krall and his fleet attacks? Watch this science fiction adventure film and find out. This was such a fun film to watch in the theater in Imax 3-D, and the addition of over the top action made it not your standard Strek Trek fare yet still kept the charm of what makes Star Trek Star Trek! This was the third in the reboot series, and after a very lackluster teaser trailer, the internet started the bashing and hating on the film before it was released.  This caused the film to perform poorly at the US Box Office for Paramount only bringing in $ 158,848,340.00 on a $185 million dollar budget. While this is not the best Star Trek film in the long running film series, I would say it’s a solid sequel that offers enough sci-fi tech talk and action to make it a fun summer popcorn movie.  Make sure to check it out on DVD as it’s well worth the watch.

# 1

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Jyn Erso is the daughter of Galen, the man who lead the construction of the Empire’s newest and most deadly weapon, the Death Star! She was left behind at a young age to be raised by Rebel extremist fighter Saw Gerrera as her father was forced into labor by Orson Kernnic, the director of the Empire’s weapons research. Now older and on her own, Jyn must track down her father who has the secrets to destroy the Death Star from the inside.  She is joined by a rag tag group made up of Rebel soldiers and supporters who go on a suicide mission in order to get the plans into the hands of the Rebels. Add in tension between Kernnic and Grand Moff Tarkin, who both want credit for the Death Star, and in a annoyed Darth Vader as well as cameos from classic Star Wars characters, and you have one well made and entertaining science fiction film! The film’s main characters have amazing chemistry with each other and the friendships that are formed make sense and just add even more layers to their personalities. My favorite character was Jyn Erso as she proved that this new crop of Star Wars films are in the right hands as they clearly care about character development and story. Seeing Darth Vader back in full badass action was something to behold in IMAX 3-D as it made me feel like a kid again, seeing Return Of The Jedi in the theater. Plus the digital Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin made my Monster Kid heart grow three sizes, and I would say that I would love to see Hammer do this and make a new Frankenstein Movie. This film is still in theaters and as of January 1st has brought in a total of $393,554,705.00 for Disney on a $200 million dollar budget and is showing no signs of slowing down. If you have not seen this film yet, do yourself a favor and do so as its well worth the 2 hours of your time.

So as you can see, Hollywood delivered some great sci-fi and fantasy films all that were fantastic watches at my local cinema, not to mention we got a new Star Wars and Star Trek film last year. But another genre of films that rocked the box office this year is my second favorite kind of films, right behind horror, and thats super hero flicks! So grab a refill on your large popcorn, and let’s talk heroes from the comic books who have made the leap to the big screen in 2016.

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# 7

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The moviegoing public seemed to not be able to get enough of Batman on the big screen, and after the last Superman movie, someone at Warner Brothers and DC Comics decided that the world needed a vs. film that pitted their top two superheroes against each other.  So Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice was created and unleashed on the masses. The film has Bruce Wayne being very angry over the fight between Superman and General Zob that left some of his employees dead and others injured, and now, as Batman, he sets his sights on stopping Superman once and for all as he feels the government has not done their job well of keeping this superhuman alien in check. Throw in Wonder Woman, Lex Luther Jr. and Doomsday, and you have this epic battle film that will test the strength and mental fortitude of our heroes. The film was a little too long and for the most part, much of the hate that Batman had for Superman was weak.  In fact half way through, you wonder just why he has projected all the hate he has in his heart toward the Man of Steel and with that, the film kind of falls apart. Other flaws for this comic book fan and movie lover were: the birth of Doomsday was just dumb and pointless and Lex Luther Jr. was a turd and acted more like he was the son of The Joker.  While it sounds like I didn’t like it, I really did enjoy it as it was a fun popcorn flick that showcased that superhero films are just enjoyable on the big screen no matter how flawed they are. The film was directed by Zack Snyder and starred Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Amy Adams and did pretty dang well for WB at the US Box Office bringing a total of $330,360,194.00 on a $250 million dollar budget. It’s worth watching on home media or even on cable as it at least will be sure to please during the fight scenes.

# 6