“YOU MOVE AND YOU’RE DEAD…”
We are all familiar with the words dead by dawn which were made famous in the late eighties by bloody battles and saw wielding leading men chased by demons…you already know that story. What is not yet known is a horror story from Uncork’d Entertainment along with Silver Spider Investments and Velvet Hammer Films aptly titled Dead by Dawn.
This film comes from the dark minds of Sean Cain and Wes Laurie and stars Drew Lindsey Mitchell (Tuesday Crowd),Kelcey Watson (Lucifer), Skylar Dominique and Bo Burroughs (All About the Money) Jamie Bernadette rounds out the team coming in with much experience in the horror genre with films like I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu – a sequel to the 1978 original film directed by Meir Zarchi. 4/20 Massacre and The 6th Friend which she co-wrote, produced and starred in. This cast as a whole worked well together to tell a story of loss, depravity, desperation and finding purpose and strength to press forward while getting chased by real life demons.
“A suicidal man in a remote cabin is suddenly faced with protecting a kidnapped woman from three killers and their sadistic games…”
The characters in this movie play off each other well and you can almost feel the realness come across the screen – they’re tapping into some hurt and pain thats there only serving such purpose. As the movie unfolds we find that there are a few stories within this film that could hold their own if given the chance – they let you peek into their baggage while not letting it all come unfolded and muddying up the main two stories going on within the film which is the hurt and pain both main characters are feeling and the uncertainty of the morning after. The cast all came together to tell a story from their respective sides. All the actors brought the intensity needed to help the film unfold with some rage and callousness mixed with comedic relief “peepee monster” and back to letting flashes shine through of past hurt and broken dreams.
My favorite part of the film is when they decide to not sit by and be victims and extend invitations to their assailants by making use of Dylan’s daughters prepper box and set out to take hold of the situation. We find out a lot more from all characters involved as the story unfolds and depending on where you sit by then, you’ll either love it or hate it.
“It’s a fight to the death where only the strongest will survive until dawn.”
The cinematography is in the hands of Eric A. Wahl and he helps you get immersed into the film- you feel as though you are in the same room kneeling down with the people in the scene, outside almost getting shot at or looking down at bullet wounds. the sound design by Mario Salvucci really gives you a score/soundtrack that helps auto select your emotions or level of anxiety for certain scenes. Really well done edits are key to letting this film flow in its intended purpose.
A big plus was the use of practical effects mixed with some CG helmed by Marina Coria and Eduardo Arambula. They married the best of both worlds to create scenes and a feel needed for the film. Subtle use and proper use whenever needed and it helped the film achieve realness in those facets.
“This is not fuck around time…”
From start to finish this film brings you on a wild horror ride of deceit, destruction, loss and the growth from having gone through hell and back.. you might not be the same person if you’re not Dead By Dawn! If you have the chance to put your peepers on this film once it hits the streets i’d say take the warrior way and hit play, ya shit-bird! – Angel L. @chaosmanis / @thatstrangeshow
“YOUR TEETH AND BONES- THEY SHALL BE MINE…”
Over two years ago i spotted an independent filmmaker- Josh Hasty and his crowdfunding campaign online trying to rally the people and bring his feature film Candy Corn to life. Intrigued by the name – who eats those anyways? – i checked it out. It looked interesting and i kept it on my radar for quite some time…
Fast forward to 2019 and Candy Corn is finally here! i can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work that went and goes into producing a feature film such as this one or ones with lower budgets. Working close with people in the horror community and being part of The Dorkening Podcast Network i was able to get access to this film from Epic Pictures and Dread.
Traditions. We all love them. We all have our times on the calendar year where we partake in all sorts of ritualistic functions of some kind – Valentines Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Kicking someones head in. You know- the usual grumblings of a yearly tradition.. but for this group of young adults things take a turn into a hellish world of pain. The freaks come out at night I’ve heard them say and we know what happens when someone is bent on revenge…
“It’s Halloween weekend and a group of bullies are planning their annual hazing on local outcast, Jacob Atkins. When they take things too far, he’s resurrected to seek revenge against those that wronged him.”
As this movie kicks off we are introduced to our first group planning their yearly tradition – it opens with a shot that swings in and pulls up to get you right into the middle of their secret planning. We find Carol (Madison Russ), Mike (Jimothy Beckholt), Steve (Cy Creamer) and Bobby (Caleb Thomas) in Coopers, a town diner. Their action leads them to a confrontation with Jacob (Nate Chaney) where violence boils over and the catalyst for the movie is “born” and thus we are introduced to Dr. Death/Lester (Pancho Moler) as he makes the decision for exacting revenge.
From this point the movie goes on to make it known that the people on the list for Jacob / Dr. Death stand no chance as they are hunted down and killed one by one – much to the dismay of Sheriff Sam Bramford (Courtney Gains- Children of the Corn) on Halloween night, the night of all sorts of delights, some more sinister than others. I found myself rooting for the group of four to be taken and killed sooner than later! There are wonderful characters that are intertwined in this story that make up the regular townies and the freaks – other recognizable faces include Tony Todd (Candyman, The Crow) as Bishop Gate, P.J Soles (Halloween, Stripes), Sky Elobar (The Greasy Strangler) Justin Mabry (Trick or Treat Studios) and everyone in this film pulled their weight – the acting was spot on for the type of environment that was building and continued to be built around them and the town.
A lot of the setting/tone in this movie come across very believable and makes you feel like you’re in middle of it all – the town, even though its present day- it feels 80s, couple that with the sound design in this movie: produced by Josh Hasty and Michael Brooker and you got an almost perfect homage to 80s cult films. its very Carpenter-esque in the sense of building suspense with minimalistic and slight nuanced soundscapes.
Huge highlight for me on this movie for sure was the use of practical fx mixed with a bit of CGI. When it came to the kills – the amount of gore present was very well done. The character design for Jacob – his mask and long blood soaked trench coat with subtle striping (mostly all the way up the arm, blood) The mask design was great and harkened back the slashers of yesterday- which is great by me! I’m hoping that we get to see more of Dr. Death’s Sideshow Spookhouse Spectacular as he alluded that there are many stories to tell. Josh Hasty has just begun with Candy Corn and I’m glad he was able to tell this story the way he wanted to – he’s onto something here.. – Angel L.
“OMFG! I ENJOYED THIS MOVIE!”
I am generally not a fan of writing reviews- anyone who follows That Strange Show knows I can be insanely critical of most films and have very specific tastes when it comes to what I’m viewing. However- when I was tasked with taking to the keyboard for this particular indie I couldn’t have been more willing! I jumped at the opportunity to give my two cents about something that is completely “up my alley!”
What movie am I talking about?! What has met my standards so awesomely that I felt moved to put my thoughts down and encourage you to partake in the viewing experience?! Have your “is it awesome?” check lists out and get ready to ring in the Christmas season with HOLIDAY HELL!
Directed by the team of Jeremy Berg, David Burns, Jeff Ferrell, and Jeff Vigil. HOLIDAY HELL is a horror anthology (check) boasting 4 tales of seasonal terror.. These stories ranging from revenge, paranoia, and the paranormal (check) all come wrapped in a narrative starring the always creepy- yet charismatic, Jeffrey Combs (check) as a shopkeeper akin to Stephen King’s Leland Gaunt (check), who shares the backstories of potential gifts to a last minute present buyer looking for something just right.
So, what is it about this film that really made me enjoy it? The Feels. Plain and simple. Each story felt like a subtle nod to past awesomeness (Puppet Master, Silent Night Deadly Night, Tales From The Crypt) but with fresh takes on the past. Packed with plenty of suspense, well timed frights, and some solid chuckles (check, check, check!), It’s sure to be a happy addition to any horror fans collection and it’ll leave you feeling like your high on titty coke!
Also featuring Joel Murray (one last check), and from Enlighten Media Group / Black Sunday Productions, you’ll be full of Christmas spirit when you don’t miss this independent gem! – Ryan C.
“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.