We all fantasize. Whether it’s about hooking up with the girl next door or taking down the creep down the street. Sometimes we want to step in and do the right thing or simply do whatever it is we want. What happens when we take every moment and rewrite it in our heads? What happens when we can no longer differentiate between what’s real and what’s fantasy? Director Charles de Lauzirika takes a hard and violent look at what could happen we lose control of what our mind and body Crave.
I Am ZoZo, which is based in part on actual events, follows a group of young friends as they tempt fate by playing with a Ouija Board on Halloween. Naturally, the youngsters conjure the attention of a nasty demon. The group soon learns that the entity answers to the name ZoZo. As one might suspect, ZoZo is mad as hell and won’t be satisfied until someone’s day has been ruined.
One unique aspect of I Am ZoZo is that the entire film was shot on Super 8 (and then digitized) in an attempt to pay homage to the horror films of yesteryear. The feature was shot in 4:3 and then stretched to 16:9, presumably to achieve the grainy texture associated with 8MM. That’s not something that you see much anymore and I commend director Scott Di Lalla for his decision to do something slightly unexpected.
To say death is personal is an understatement since life is the most personal thing we have. That being said, the act of dying can be more so. Terminal diseases that slowly take our life away is something horrifying to watch, but what if it was taking our life away without killing us? That is the creepy premise of Eric England’s Contracted.
Contracted follows three days in the life (?) of Samantha (Najarra Townsend), a young waitress going through a rough relationship problem with her girlfriend Nikki (Katie Stegeman). While stood up at a party, she is hit on by a guy named B.J. Lonely and feeling rejected (and a little drunk), she is easily slipped a ruffie and raped.
Waking up the next morning with what she thinks is a hangover, she goes about her daily business. Her main activity seems to be holding her life together as best as she can, which isn’t easy.
Reality programing has become the standard of believability on TV. What we see, we perceive as the truth, even though we know it’s all scripted. We do know that, right? Most people actually assume that Reality TV and that is a scary thing all its own. What happens when the entertainment is extreme and perceived as real. What are the dangers there? This frighteningly real possibility is the springboard for actress Jessica Cameron’s first foray into directing, the tense thriller, Truth or Dare…
In the opening minutes, we are introduced to the Truth or Dare-Devils, Jennifer (Jessica Cameron), Ray (Shelby Stehlin), Courtney (Devanny Pinn), Michelle (Heather Dorff ), Tony (Brandon Van Vliet ), and John (Jesse Wilson ). The team that brings the horror to reality based YouTube shows, all in good fun, of course. While on a talk show, the group is questioned by an enthusiastic fan about their lack of responses to emails he’s sent. He is brushed off with little care. This group is clearly basking in their 15 minutes, but does that make them bad people?
Some movies achieve cult status because they are of high quality and were criminally under seen upon initial release and deserve a much wider audience. Others attain cult status for, well, very different reasons. The Visitor is one of those movies. It is totally bonkers, a mishmash of genres and all kinds of crazy.
Initially released in 1979, Drafthouse Films is giving it a platform release this fall. The cast is nearly as odd and unexpected as the movie itself: a young Lance Henriksen along with Shelly Winters and Glenn Ford and directing legends John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch).
The crazy starts right away. A man on a distant planet tells a tale of a ship with an evil man aboard. The man, a mutant capable of transforming itself and eager to kill, found a hiding place on Earth. He procreates with women on Earth to produce more evil. Meanwhile, a good man hunts the evil one, as do his descendants.
Does “Skinwalker Ranch” mean anything to anyone? The movie of the same name claims to be inspired by true events. Apparently the cattle ranch in question is home to a wide range of unexplained phenomena, including the disappearance of an eight year-old boy, something that received media attention in 2010.
That is music to the ears of filmmakers looking to produce another found footage film. Alas, Skinwalker Ranch doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the crowd.
The obligatory setup introduces us to the team that has traveled to the ranch to document the alleged disturbances happening there. It includes a field scientist, investigative journalist, veterinary technician, security specialist, driver/assistant, and a cameraman. In addition to examining the disturbances, they are going to try and find out what happened to the son of the ranch’s owner.
The “remake thing” has been prevalent for so long, I’ve now determined that remakes fall into two categories. There are remakes for them and remakes for us – “us” meaning the seasoned horror fans who have likely seen it all.
In the former category, you have remakes that are literally straight re-tellings with little to no differences between the original film and the redo. These are usually safely told, not taking any risks to deviate from the previously explored material and sticking to what works. They’re usually for someone not familiar with – or who have never seen – the original film. The remakes for “us” deftly embrace the tone of the original, maybe alter some things yet stay true to the heart and perhaps have something new to say.
This modern adaptation of Carrie is definitely one for “them.” It’s a beat-for-beat remake of Brian De Palma’s 1976 film starring Sissy Space and Piper Laurie, but it’s a totally harmless remake. My only major complaint is that director Kimberly Peirce misses the opportunity to put her stamp on it and make this a thoughtful commentary on modern-day bullying.
What is the impact of Night of the Living Dead? Sure, you know it’s a classic, but why? You’ve heard of the impact that it had on audiences, but never first hand. What is this film we have latched on to as a society and proclaimed it a “game changer”?
The new documentary, Birth of the Living Dead, attempts to tell the story of its creation and journey in to history, a journey well worth taking.
This is the first film that attempts to detail the outside forces that surrounded the film’s release, and the lasting impact of those who saw it in the theater for the first time. This doc not only interviews George Romero and crew, but for the first time (I believe), theater-goers that saw it and were change by the absolute horror they saw on screen. These are very real and honest stories and allow us – for the first time – to live vicariously through the people of the time, feeling their shock, emotion, and interest as if we were there in that theater.