“Yuletide Mindfucks and Kids On Drugs”
As many of you strangers know, it isn’t very often that I am left speechless. However, as the credits began to roll on this particular Christmas treat, I found myself in silence trying to figure out what in the fuck had just transpired on the screen in front of me. I couldn’t quite figure out if the film was sarcastic and darkly humored, or a sick and sadistic tale of raging unchecked hormones gone wrong in this wary world. Better Watch Out is the newest offering from director Chris Peckover (2010s Undocumented ) and writer Zach Kahn. Now, what I had previously written above about this film may have sounded like I was confused and upset at a film that couldn’t decided what genre it wanted to be and became blurry in the process, but I honestly felt this is why I believe this may very become a new holiday tradition among horror hounds for years to come! What starts out as a well acted well timed comedic piece about adolescence begins shifting gears and taking you down the rabbit hole of “holy shit what’s going on” in the blink of an eye. Also, it fucks with you, plain and simple. I found myself letting up my guard with subtle nods to holiday classics, perfect comedic execution with well written dialogue. Just to have my jaw dropped to the floor as this visceral onslaught turns its head and look you dead in the eye and reminds you that this is not your typical Yuletide scare fest. Does it have some reused tactics? Yes. Does it repeat some old as time stereotypes? What doesn’t nowadays? Does it breath life into a genre that sometimes feels stagnant and on repeat? Fuck yes! Is it worth a watch? It’s worth a purchase! Don’t listen to the naysayers and the self appointed “film buffs” Keep you eyes open because you Better Watch Out! Stay Strange! – Ryan C.
“You’re gonna get blood all over it..”
I love when something surprises me and leaves me wanting more. I went into this film blind – having not looked into the story or researching the material at all. I’m very glad i did because the experience was way more intense and enjoyable that way. There are twists and turns to this short that lead you to believe they’re relying on old horror tropes of 1980s horror genres and delivering kind of the same story – nope. switch game crazy. The lead characters Claire and Nick come across the screen very believable and engaging, having no backstory to them, you find your self caring as the story progresses and you are fully immersed in whats going on. One of my favorite scenes – without giving too much away – was one particular scene which called back to one of my favorites – “The Shining”
The comedic elements in the film are interjected rather subtle and used rather well. The lighting and colors used throughout the film give and set differing moods which tell a story alongside the main story. The editing and cinematography are done well and help the flow of the film and the special effects are perfect for the storytelling. The score from Andrew Scott Bell is spot on for setting the mood of the film and has a bit of a throwback feel. With the way this ended i can see a continuation on the universe thats been created here and i definitely would love to see more from the creative team responsible for this film.
If this short film comes across your radar give it a whirl – you won’t be disappointed. Trevor Dillon & Ian Hock / Ghost Party Pictures delivered an original, fun and horror filled short film with “Foxwood” and i fully recommend it. Stay Strange! – Angel L.
“Grey Canyon…or…When Social Media Pays Off!”
Not being a huge “social media” person has had its share of perks and disadvantages. For example, a disadvantage is that i don’t always know what everyone is up to in life, while the perk is not having to swipe my way through photo after photo or meals, pop vinyl figures, and sunsets on beaches I’ll never visit. Then one day, finally, while checking out our Instagram page – out of boredom – I come across something worth a “double tap!” The experimental sci-fi short “Grey Canyon” – a solid 13 minutes and 14 seconds of pure sci-fi gold – which is something that our listeners know is rare for me to say!
Director and writer Zeshaan Younus invokes a feeling of impending dread and curiosity with a visual feel that recalls the films of Joe Chappelle with a hint of X Files while supplying a killer neo-scifi synth driven score that flows with the images on the screen in front of you perfectly. The main characters, Sean and Megan, vibe as any genuine couple would putting you at ease with their comfortable nature. The right amount of humor is the icing on the cake as it’s subtle, but chuckle worthy and adds to the texture smoothly. All that aside, what made this short work for me is its sudden twists and its “don’t show the shark” story that hints at a larger picture than what you are given and dangles it just out of site with David Lynch virtuosity and bite. It’s hard to decipher what you are witnessing, and that is exactly the direction this needed to go.
Don’t be surprised to see more from Younus in the future. I for one welcome it and hope for a continuation of this story. Currently on the festival circuit and soon available to you. Stay out of the woods and head straight to the theatre to see Grey Canyon! – Ryan C.
“Whakamataku! Roaches to get Hollywood Reboot!”
The Chihuahuan Desert, 6:25am – Everything seems normal, until it isn’t. My love for comics stretches back as far as i can remember and I’ve been involved in the independent creator owned comic book world for some time. i find this is where you get the most honest and unfiltered stories, there is nothing held back. This is where i find Alien Toilet Monsters.
The imaginative and visually striking art work is what stood out to me from the very beginning . “Breaking the Seal” written by Carol Zara & Eric Barnett – with art handled by Eric Barnett and published by OmniMorphic Productions, starts off right away with telling of a futuristic dystopian-esque environment while still maintaining a humanistic dwelling – theres visuals of holograms and interactive plug and play mixed with everyday life situations. The instances of fantasy and disrupt are full of body horror and transformations sure to delight any Cronenberg fan. Certain panels remind me of Carpenters The Thing mixed with a Lovecraftian touch. The elements of “time travel” and future policing paint a story i want to continue.
There are drama and horror elements to satisfy even the non avid comic book reader – if you’re into weird futuristic worlds and the people that inhabit and coexist within it, check out Alien Toilet Monsters #1 “Breaking the Seal” it will not disappoint. – Angel L.