Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Staff Profiles

Nickolas Cook (editor-in-chief)
Publishing Credits: Nickolas has had dozens of short stories and non-fiction reviews and articles published in print and electronic formats. He has been the fiction moderator for Shocklines.com for over four years. To date, his two published novels, THE BLACK BEAST OF ALGERNON WOOD (Dailey Swan Publishing), BALEFUL EYE (currently in pre-production with new publisher) and ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND 2nd Edition with Sourcebooks 2011, all of which have received several positive reviews and he’s been said to display a true craftsmanship missing in much of modern horror. His first short story collection, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT AND OTHER TALES OF LOST SOULS was recently released from Damnation Books.. He also has several new releases forthcoming from various publishers. Stay tuned for more news on his official website and his Facebook Page as listed below

Personal Info: Nickolas lives in the beautiful Southwestern desert with his wife and four wonderful Chinese Pugs, who are worse than little children…the dogs, not the wife.
Visit me at my official website, THE HORROR JAZZ AND BLUES REVUE
He also has a very active Facebook page
Or email him at Nickolasecook@aol.com

Co-Editor: Brian M. Sammons has been writing reviews on all things horror for more years than he'd care to admit. Wanting to give other critics the chance to ravage his work for a change, Brian has also penned a few short stories that have appeared in such anthologies as Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, and Dead but Dreaming 2. Some of the magazines where you can find his twisted tales are Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, and Dark Animus. He co-edited the upcoming anthology Cthulhu Unbound 3, has his first novella coming out called The R'lyeh Singularity, co-written with David Conyers, and is currently editing other fright collections, including the soon to be release Undead & Unbound. For more about this guy whose neighbors describe as "such
nice, quiet man" you can check out his very infrequently updated webpage here: http://www.freewebs.com/brian_sammons/

BIll Breedlove is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in publications such as RedEye, Chicago Tribune, Metazen, InSider, The Fortune News, Encyclopedia of Actuarial Science, Bluefood, and Playboy Online. Some of his stories can be found in the books TALES OF FORBIDDEN PASSION, STRANGE CREATURES, TAILS FROM THE PET SHOP, BOOK OF DEAD THINGS, CTHULHU & THE COEDs and BLOOD AND DONUTS. He is also the editor of the anthologies CANDY IN THE DUMPSTER, WAITING FOR OCTOBER, LIKE A CHINESE TATTOO, MIGHTY UNCLEAN, WHEN THE NIGHT COMES DOWN and (with John Everson) SWALLOWED BY THE CRACKS. He lives in Chicago.

MyMiserys (aka Kim Cook)
Personal Info: Kim lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, Nickolas Cook, and a pack of Pugs. She met Nick in 1997 in an old AOL Horror chat room and they married a year later on Halloween 1998. She has had a passion for horror novels since the tender age of 12, when she read The Exorcist (before it was made into a movie). Her favorite author, other than Nick, is Stephen King, and she truly considers herself his “Number One Fan”. She has been reading and collecting King’s books since “Carrie” was first published. When she is not reading, Kim bakes …and bakes and bakes. You can see pictures of her wonderful cakes on her MySpace page and Facebook. Each month Kim asks a featured author “13 Questions” so Black Glove readers can get to know a little about the person behind the books.
Guilty pleasure? MeatLoaf...the man...not the entrée.
Facebook Page

Carey M. Copeland has worked in television, radio and film. He has been a special effects artist on several film and TV productions, through The Joe Blasco Makeup Academy of Orlando Florida. Having worked at Sally Industries (now Sally Corp) , he helped design dark ride exhibits around the world, including the E.T. ride at Universal Studios Florida. Carey has been a lifelong horror fan and knew after seeing a rerun of “NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD” that he wanted to make monsters for a living. Carey says, “I love the creativity of the movies from 1930’s to 1990’s. It seems that with the creation of more affordable computers, the solid effects artist has become almost extinct. When you see a movie now, it’s almost all CGI, with practically no hands-on sculpting and molding. ”

Bill Lindblad has been a bookseller specializing in horror and other genre fiction for roughly fifteen years. He is a regular contributor to the writing blog Storytellers Unplugged and has been a staple at conventions for almost a quarter of a century (as an attendee, dealer, panelist, auctioneer and convention staff.) Bill is an unrepentant fan and has taken this out on the pets... as ferrets Mughi (Dirty Pair) and Boingo, cats Gamera and Shane (after Shane MacGowan) and black labrador Grue (Dying Earth and Infocom games) could attest were they able to talk. His wife makes him watch too many strange movies.

Jenny Orosel has been published in fiction and nonfiction for the past nine years. She is also an avid baker and candy-maker (having only set a kitchen on fire once). She has also appeared in numerous game shows, worked on two feature films, and won an award for her first animated short film (also including fire, this time on purpose). When not writing or making sugary treats, she is forcing Bill to sit through some of the strangest movies he’s ever seen.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter and the author of four non-fiction
books, including THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK. She is a four-time winner of
the Bram Stoker award, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and has
published fifty works of short fiction. Her first novel, THE CASTLE OF
LOS ANGELES, was released by Gray Friar Press in 2010 (Gray Friar Press) and her first collection, MONSTERS OF L.A., will be published by Bad Moon Books for
Halloween 2011. She lives online at http://www.lisamorton.com

Karen L. Newman lives in Kentucky where she's a Kentucky Colonel and an active member of Horror Writers Association. She edits the magazines Illumen and Cosmic Crime Stories. She’s also a book editor for Morrigan Books. She’s been named Chair of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award jury for Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection and is the 2011-2012 East Regional Director for the Kentucky State Poetry Society. She edited the online magazine, Afterburn SF for over four years before the market closed. Over four hundred of her short stories and poems have been published both online and in print in places such as Dark Tales of Terror, Kentucky Monthly, and The Pedestal Magazine. Her poetry collections include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007), Toward Absolute Zero (Sam’s Dot, 2009), and ChemICKal Reactions (Naked Snake Press, 2010). Two of her poems received honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She's been nominated for a Rhysling Award, James B. Baker Award, and twice nominated for a Dwarf Star Award. Please visit her online at http://home.zoomnet.net/~karennew.

Anthony Servante is a college professor who teaches languages and literature. He has Masters degrees in English Literature and Political Science. His Master's thesis described the Grotesque in German and English Romantic novels and short stories. He has written music and book reviews for the campus newspapers where he studied and where he has taught. When he is not teaching, he sells horror, sf, fantasy, and mystery books at Science Fiction Conventions across Southern California. He has followed horror in all forms since he was a kid.

JW Schnarr is a writer from Claresholm, AB. He works as a reporter/photographer by day and a horror writer/publisher by night. He is the author of "Things Falling Apart" and Alice & Dorothy.  JW can be reached at here

Jason Shayer
Recent publishing credits:
Necrotic Tissue #6, the Dead Science and Through the Eyes of the Undead anthologies, and Arcane magazine.
He's also a regular contributor to Back Issue! magazine, a comic book magazine spotlighting the 1970s and 1980s.
Personal Info:
Jason Shayer's 12-year-old mind frame has given more than a few people a reason to raise an eyebrow, most often his wife. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s teaching his kids the finer points of zombie lore.
URL: http://marvel1980s.blogspot.com/
Contact info: jshayer@yahoo.com

Wanna Write for The Black Glove?

If you're interested in writing your very own column, or just want to write reviews for your favorite horror movies and/or books, send me an email at Nickolasecook@aol.com. While we can't pay for the content, I can promise horror fans around the world will read your stuff.

--Nickolas Cook

Bloody Pages Book Reviews

Nightjar Press Autumn Chapbooks Review
Anthony Servante

Nightjar Press has just put out two new chapbooks, the Autumn Releases, one traditional horror, the other magical realism. Nightjar publishes signed limited edition chapbooks between 10 and 15 pages in length.

The latter story is called “Sullom Hill” (2011) Nightjar Press by Christopher Kenworthy, an Australian writer and film director.

It is a tale of a young boy who befriends two very different types of friends: Neil is a 16 year old boy with the mental capacity of an 8 year old; he also has a grotesque body, huge lips, abnormally curly hair, and an assumed hunchback, due to an accident at birth; John is a high-school aged boy who is socially deformed, a victim of beatings by an abusive father, and the typical ‘juvenile delinquent’ always looking for trouble. Our unnamed narrator, whom we learn about only from his actions and reactions to his two friends, tells the reader of the events leading up to the big denouement on Sullom Hill, where sunshine and storm, light and darkness meet, and Neil and John have a confrontation that is both surreal and enlightening. Kenworthy uses his skill as a film maker to set up the story with scenes similar to camera shots in a movie. One scene, in particular, that captures John’s anti-social behavior occurs in the classroom where he takes slap after slap from the teacher in an almost self-destructive attempt at defiance: “They were both standing at the front of the class, in front of the blackboard. It was May, hotter than usual, and the ancient mottled windows in room 31 polluted the light and made it look like the sun was setting. It gave the impression that the two of them were up on stage, the light picking them out against the black background, while their silent audience watched.” This ‘shot’ foreshadows the finale on Sullom Hill where light and darkness again set up the scene. The ‘supernatural’ element to the story, a form of ‘magical realism’ found in modern Latino writing, stems from the control John seems to exert over nature and the change Neil undergoes as a result of John’s manipulation. Sullom Hill is a worthwhile addition to the Psychological Horror genre, similar to that employed by Dennis Etchison and Trent Zelazny in their writings, without the element of gore, which Kenworhty replaces with the fantastical element. I look forward to more stories from Christopher Kenworthy as his writing style projects a subtle horror while capturing the dark moments of a teenaged troubled youth.

The second chapbook is “Remains” (2011) Nightjar Press by GA Pickin (aka Gerda Pickin), a storyteller and musician associated with ‘Luce Women’.

Her tale involves a lost hiker who gets caught by the night in a haunting hamlet. Using a combination of metaphors, similes and a poetic prose style that carries the story with a visual rhythm and timing usually reserved for eulogies and Victorian novels, the horror element creeps up on the reader just as the hiker in the story walks in on the barren church at dusk, where an old harmonium seems harmless in its silent rusty condition. Longing to find the cottage where his friends await (he hopes), the lost hiker senses something amiss within the natural surroundings he finds himself in by the quickening nightfall. The Gothic flair of the descriptions in the tale and the hiker’s predicament provide the reader with a pending sense of horror, an ominous swelling of mood and atmosphere. The narrator contrasts the ‘light’ thoughts of his friends and how they met with the dark solitude he finds himself lost in. He summarizes his predicament: “…he was filled with the peripheral glimpse of all the travellers caught by sudden mists, early sunsets, the disorientation that could lead a man round and round in circles. Travellers whose lanterns had guttered, whose provisions had proved inadequate, whose luck had run out.” Being lost in a dark hazardous place covered in late night mist is more frightening than any horror waiting in the darkness thanks to Ms. Pickin’s wondrous writing. The only hiccups I found here were with the conveniently ‘weak phone signal’ that has become typical in our technological times, and with the ‘weak batteries’ of the ‘torch’ (‘flashlight’ to us over here across the Pond), both new cliches, especially in horror yarns and movies (remember it used to be the telephone booth in the middle of nowhere whose phone was always out of order?). But these are minutiae in a bold telling of a strong story. The ending with the dirge-like siren’s call is subtle and in keeping with the poetic telling of the tale. I read this story twice just to re-appreciate the prose. I look forward to reading more from this talented writer and her prosaic style of horror.

Visit Nightjar Press's Website here: http://nightjarpress.wordpress.com/

--Anthony Servante

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad


This is a book which contains almost no horror, but which was presented at the time of its publication as a frightening story and which has served as a foundational work to the modern horror story.

The key traits of this 1897 novel are the titular invisibility and the steady degradation of the scientist's mental state. Both of these have become standard features in horror fiction, with the first being extended beyond men to a variety of invisible beings and the second becoming one of the default reasons for any scientific malfeasance (completing the trio with "avenging humiliation/rejection of theories" and "the search for knowledge has no morality".)

The story is remarkably thin, and can easily be broken into four segments: meeting the invisible man, the invisible man on the run, how he became invisible, and the invisible man attacks. It is a fairly tight narrative and it stands up remarkably well for its age. Where it fails is in the generation of suspense.

When Wells wrote the novel, he could rely on the very notion of an invisible person... who might be standing beside you, ready to stab or bludgeon... to generate much of the anxiety of the story. The intervening years have made the idea fairly commonplace, to the point where it is now a common trait for a hero as well as a villain (the Legion of Super-Heroes' Invisible Kid, the Gemini Man, etc...) We have also seen advances in technology such as infrared cameras or hypersensitive listening devices that have rendered invisibility steadily less useful.

His psychotic villain is also fairly benign. The invisible man begins his fall with theft and, until shortly before the end of the book, he never does more than threaten serious violence. He reserves any violence for those who have betrayed his trust. In fact, by today's standards, he shows no real loss of mental stability. That aspect was shown at the time of the novel's writing by his movement from frustrated gentility to violence, but in contemporary times there is no societal demand for people to maintain composure in the face of adversity.

It's still a very good book. And it is a key book in the development of both the modern horror and science fiction fields, which is what earns it another star on my review. If it fails to maintain the intellectual dread of another book Wells wrote around that time, The Island of Dr. Moreau, that is not much of a criticism.

Five stars out of five.

DEATH BY GASLIGHT by Michael Kurland

Moving from the 1890s English countryside into 1890s London, Michael Kurland provides an interesting addition to the hundreds of Sherlock Holmes stories which have followed from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original. In this book, Moriarty is the star, and a somewhat maligned star at that.

Kurland presents Moriarty is a somewhat amoral scientist whose brilliance and refutation of Victorian values have combined to paint him as a manipulative criminal lord in the mind of Holmes. While Moriarty does not feel compunction at breaking some laws, he is maneuvered into taking some of his most notorious actions and forming some of his less savory associations from the canon by the incessant pestering of Holmes.

This is not a simple cat and mouse detective novel, however. In the tradition of most 1890s London horror stories, it incorporates Jack the Ripper. In a surprising twist, however, far more time is given another brutal point of fame of that era. Mix in a series of slashed throats and the result is a surprisingly dark period mystery.
This 1982 offering from Signet is strongly recommended to any fans of Holmes or period pieces.

Four stars out of five.

(Sorry, but there is no image available for this book online)


If this Manor Books title from 1976 isn't Mort Castle's first book, it is one of his earliest. The writing isn't as smooth as his later works, and the scene transitions often seem forced. Those criticisms aside, however, this is an amazingly fun book, and I am convinced Mort enjoyed producing it.

Most of the traits of the 1970s adventure novels were expertly spoofed in this book. The plot focuses on the attempt of a madman to rise to the Presidency: he will incite massive and capricious social violence behind the scenes, then present himself as a law-and-order candidate behind a Guardian Angels-style group of protectors.

The violence is amazingly overwrought. Train bombings. Nerve gassing a youth camp. Street murders. Gunning down police stations. Why go to such extremes, you might ask? If you ask, you've never read a 1970s adventure novel. Castle revisits the "big villains gathered at a table" scene on display in multiple James Bond movies. He includes the requisite psychic character on the requisite small team of abnormally well trained agents chosen to end the diabolical plot.

Who is the person responsible for gathering the heroes together and providing them direction? A cross between Siegel & Schuster and Walt Disney, of course. Supermanland or a near approximation thereof would be the natural home of a good guy.

The author manages to ride the fine line between parody and self-parody without sacrificing story, as unbelievable as the story may be. It is an enjoyable page-turner with some significant horror elements, and while it is certainly a product of its time period that does not diminish its value, especially when compared against the books which inspired it.

Four stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

BLOODLINES: Serial Horror in Fiction #4: Night Warriors by Graham Masterton

by Bill Lindblad

(Graham Masterton)

While most horror authors shy away from series fiction, Masterton embraces it with both arms. He's got the Manitou series, which almost entirely matches his Harry Erskine series (Erskine got a reprieve from dealing with the ancient Amerind spirits in The Djinn.) He also has his Rook series. And, of course, the Night Warriors.

Night Warriors comprises, to date, five novels and according to rumor an in-development role playing game. It is Masterton's first attempt to bridge heroic fantasy and horror, and the titles are generally successful on both levels.

Each book contains a group of heroes who band together to defeat demonic, otherworldly entities of incredible power. They are dressed in armor which is a mixture of ancient design and futuristic technology and which augments their natural abilities to superhuman levels. These superheroes, however, only exist in dreams. Just as the demons draw attention to themselves by exerting enough influence to break through into reality, certain people have the latent ability to become Night Warriors in their dreams and fight the creatures on their own ground.

Despite the fantastic element, these books are firmly in the domain of horror. Major characters die in literally nightmarish ways. Nothing is safe, and even if humanity is going to be saved by the end of the book there will be a terrible cost. After taking a decade and a half away from the series, Masterton has returned in recent years, with the latest book released in 2011.

Books in the series: Night Warriors, Death Dream, Night Plague, Night Wars and The Ninth Nightmare

Visit Graham Masterton's Official Website here: http://www.grahammasterton.co.uk/

--Bill Lindblad

Movie vs. Book: THE BRAVE


Director: Johnny Depp
Cast: Johnny Depp, Cody Lightning, Nicole Mancera, Marlon Brando and Elpidia Carrillo

I miss Ken Russell.

For two months straight we did Ken Russell directed movies. They may not have had the best characterization, the best scripts, but wow, they had style. I didn’t even get that with THE BRAVE (1997). Even after it’s been over for a few hours, I’m still trying to figure out if I got anything from it.

THE BRAVE was a pure vanity project from Johnny Depp. He co-wrote, directed and starred in it as Raphael, a Native American who, out of desperation, agrees to star in a snuff film for fifty thousand dollars to be paid to his family after completion. They’re living at shantytown built around a garbage dump, and are about to be evicted from even those lowly living conditions. They need the money so he’s bound and determined to go through with the bargain. Well, that and they’ve threatened his family if he doesn’t. So he spends a week making a playground for the local kids, spending quality time with his wife, and killing the local pimp. Then he goes to make the movie. The end.

It was about thirty minutes worth of story stretched into a more than two hour film. How did they stretch it out? There were a few shots of the miserable conditions he and his family lived in. Mostly, there were long, brooding shots of his thoughtful, pondering face. I guess Depp figured that would be enough to keep the audience enthralled for a good chunk of the movie. Now, don’t get me wrong—I don’t mind Depp as an actor. He’s done some decent movies here and there. But just looking at him doesn’t make up for nothing happening in the movie. The characters don’t grow or change. Depp’s Raphael is determined to make this movie and provide for his family in the only way he knows how. The other characters aren’t even given a chance to have personalities, let alone evolve. I guess Depp figured his character was the only one worth focusing on.

When the movie premiered at Cannes it was panned by some American critics. Because of that, Depp has refused to allow it to be available in the US. I think he might have done that as a favor to us.


BOOK: THE BRAVE by Gregory McDonald (1991)

It is hard to say what the bigger surprise is about this book: its effectiveness or its brevity. Technically, the book is 216 pages long, but the book is padded with large margins and large type. It is a long novella or a short novel, but to McDonald's full credit he recognized it could not be effectively published as part of a collection.

There is very little in the way of story in this book, and the majority of the narrative's power comes from what the reader knows might happen after the book ends. The protagonist's likely fate is described in grotesque detail in the third chapter, and from there it becomes a matter of whether or not Rafael will avoid his death. Unlike most such stories, Rafael is not trying to evade his end but is walking toward it with fearful resignation and a misguided sense of purpose. The reader knows Rafael expects to bring his family out of misery; the reader is also fairly certain that Rafael's family will never see any of the promised thousands. His only real hope is the interest, however accidental, that others take in him due to his sudden acquisition of a small amount of money.

This book is more of a situational study than a traditional story or character study. The true star is Rafael's extended family and their lives of extreme poverty. Because McDonald chooses to focus on this, he wisely keeps Rafael's narrative bleak, stark and powerful. He also uses tricks gleaned from his years as a top mystery writer to keep the reader interested and surprised.

Four stars out of five.


Celluloid Horrors Movie Reviews

By Brian M. Sammons

Director & Cast: various

Come on, you know what these movies are all about. Don’t tell me you don’t. Even if you never seen any of these flicks before, which I would find surprising as hell if you call yourself any sort of horrorhead at all, you know about these classic and hugely influential (and no, I’m not joking) films. You’ve got to know about the hockey-masked killer, Jason. He’s a bona fide horror rock star. You show anyone in the world his infamous mask and chances are still very high that they will know who you’re talking about, despite the heyday for this series being long gone. So with all that said, I’m not going to go through the plot of each of these eight FRIDAY THE 13TH films, the ones put out by Paramount Pictures before they sold the rights to New Line Cinema, and the eight movies collected here for the ULTIMATE COLLECTION. Because if you don’t know what a FRIDAY THE 13TH flick is then I have nothing to say to you, other than go watch them now and come back when you’re done.

So what will I cover in this review? Well the reasons why you should, or should not, pick up this latest re-re-rerelease of these fan favorite films. And sadly the only reason I can come up with is the packaging and extra not-on-the-disc goodies.

This set comes in a neat, if somewhat flimsy, plastic box. Each collection is a limited run so they are numbered out 50,000. Mine has a little sticker on it saying that it’s 31,153/50,000. Inside the box the coolest bit has got to be the mini hockey mask right out of Part 3. Too small for anyone other than infants, it would make a nice wall decoration if you were so inclined. Next there is the attractive book/DVD case. Not only does it hold all your discs in one convenient and compact spot, but each sleeve has some facts and trivia on each film, including a body count and a list of all the weapons used in that installment to slice and dice the teens with. Case in point, I never stopped to think that in the first FRIDAY THE 13TH film, only four weapons were used; knife, arrow, axe, and of course, the machete. Little stuff like that I always find cool. Two pair of 3D glasses, for Part 3, round out the physical extras in this collection.

Now for the down side; these are the exact same DVDs from the previous Deluxe Editions of the DVDs. So not one, teeny tiny new bit of anything is added to the movies or the extras on the actual discs. That is a huge disappointment and means that if you have the last edition of the FRIDAY films there is really no reason to get this unless you’re the world’s biggest FRIDAY THE 13TH fan and you’ve just got to have a mini Jason mask for yourself. I hate to say it but this sort of feel like a blatant attempt by Paramount to rip off the diehard fans who love these movies to pieces. After all, who is the Ultimate Collection aimed at, if not them? And if that’s the case, then such fans already have these movies. Chances are they have purchased the FRIDAY films multiple times, so I why not try to get some more bucks out of them, I guess. No one if putting a gun to the heads of Jason fans and making them buy this, but it still feels kind of sleazy since the only thing new this time around is the packaging.

All that said, it is a really neat boxed set. The movies look better than ever, short of Blu-ray, and I can only assume that a Blu-ray boxed set is in this series’ future sometime. The extra goodies are cool and the fanboys, like myself, are sure to find them cool. If you already own the Deluxe Editions of these movies then you really don’t need to get this. If you don’t have the first eight FRIDAY THE 13TH films on disc, then what the hell is wrong with you? They’re awesome! If that is you, then this collection is a great way to rectify that gross oversight. But other than that, I would have to suggest you pass on this one.

And, instead of posting every trailer, I thought this fan made YouTube Video of the 13 Best Kills would be a better representation of why we all love and admire the man behind the mask:

--Brian M. Sammons

By Brian M. Sammons

Director: Bill Philputt
Cast: Linnea Quigley, Clu Gulager, James Karen and others

Documentaries on horror movies seem to be a pretty hot ticket right now. The recent spate of fright film docs started with HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR with films about the FRIDAY THE 13TH, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and PSYCHO franchises soon following. There’s even talk of documentaries on the JAWS, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and HELLRAISER films being made soon-ish. But one series I, and pretty much everyone else, never thought would get the documentary treatment is the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD movies. So imagine my surprise when I opened my mail one day to see this baby staring up at me. I mean, I love, love, LOVE the original RotLD, it’s one of my favorite fun fright flicks of all time. But the sequels…well not so much. Still, how cool is it that this very influential, yet mostly unknown by non-genre fans, cult film would get its own documentary all about it? The answer is; it’s very cool, and thankfully, it’s also very good. So let’s get to it.

Now one of the things that surprised me the most about MORE BRAINS was that it was all about the first movie…and that’s it. Now I think that may be a first. All the other horror docs talked about a series of movies, but here you had an almost two hour documentary on a single movie that was only 90 minutes long. Am I alone in thinking that’s kind of funny? I also think that was pretty awesome, and I only really liked the first RoTLD, so I didn’t have to sit through a bunch of stuff I really didn’t care about (but I’m not saying that stuff isn’t on this disc somewhere, I’ll get to that in a moment).

Pretty much everyone who was even remotely involved in RotLD can be found in this doc. All the actors, producers, writers, makeup artists, production designers, and more are here giving their .02 on everything. The notable and sad exception to this is writer/director Dan O'Bannon and actor Mark Venturini who played Suicide, both of whom has passed away. Again, this may be a first, for I can’t think of any other film doc that had such a complete collection of cast and crew. Furthermore, this isn’t the same old “oh everything was grate and we were one big happy family while filming this” Hollywood BS that you see in almost every other film documentary or behind the scene extra. No, these people speak their mind and some real inside info, and perhaps even a little bit of dirt, is given here and I found that honesty refreshing. Especially when people had the guts enough to say that director O’Bannon might have been a bit of a bastard. While they don’t burn the man if effigy, that whole “don’t speak ill of the dead” thing that keeps people mum even about the real a-holes was largely chucked out the window here.

This doc has real honesty, plenty of inside info, a bit of catty in-fighting, a complete history of how this great movie came to be, tons of info from all the living crew and actors, and that even includes the two guys who played the paramedics. So that right there should be enough for any brain-eater, but the special features on this DVD are every bit as good as the movie itself.

First off, there is a 30 minute featurette on the sadly lackluster sequel, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 2, followed by a 20+ minute featurette on RotLD part 3. Both of these are as well produced as the feature documentary and they are not just filler. They even have lots of interviews with the cast and crew of those sequels that don’t appear in the main doc. Even though I don’t like these films all that much, it was great to have these extras on here for the people that do. Oh, and thankfully the filmmakers here all but ignore all the sequels after the third one that came out direct to DVD and were truly horrible.

But wait, we’re not done yet. There is a wonderful 30 minuet interview with director/writer Dan O’Bannon on here too. This was probably one of his last, and it was amazingly frank and candid. I loved it. Other extras include a bunch of deleted scenes from the doc, a live performance by Stacey Q of “Tonight”, or as you may know it; the song that Trash strips to in the graveyard, and a 10 minute featurette on the locations where the movie was shot, hosted by two of the original actors. A neat little bit of silliness called “Return of the Living Dead in 3 minutes” and a theatrical trailer for the doc round out the extras and all together the special features gather here run over two hours. Now that’s impressive.

MORE BRAINS is a great documentary. It’s informative, funny, and never boring. If you’re a zombie fan, if you love RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, or you are just interested in the behind the scenes stories on filmmaking in general, then this is a must buy for you. Consider this one highly recommended.

--Brian M. Sammons

by Anthony Servante

Director: Wes Craven
Cast: Michael Beck, Mimi Craven, Paul Sorvino, Starletta DuPois, William Forward.

I am talking to the casual horror fan right now. You Wes Craven fans have probably already seen this movie. That’s right, I’m talking to you Netflix, Blockbuster, YouTube, torrent-sucking pirates, and bootleg buying movie watching addicts who see everything that looks like horror, slasher, or terror related flicks. But if there are any Craven fans who haven’t seen this film yet, then I can add you to the list too.
Do not buy Chiller for entertainment. It’s not even so bad, it’s good. And therein lays the problem. For a Wes Craven film made for TV in 1985, it’s not half bad. Yes, the man who brought us The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), followed up the Freddy Krueger classic with Chiller (1985). So, what’s the problem, you ask?

Well, there are no good copies of this DVD or VHS out there, and there are a lot of copies, believe me. First, it was called Chiller. Then to drum up sales, the name was changed to Wes Craven’s Chiller. Then they changed the cover to include Michael Beck from The Warriors (1979). Later they added Paul Sorvino to the cover, even though his role in the movie does not warrant such a prominent display of this fine actor. Then they tried to include Chiller as a double feature with Night of the Living Dead (1968) and later with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart (2004). I’ve seen this movie priced from 99 cents to $19.99. Don’t fall for it. They’re all basically bad copies.

But let’s get the good out of the way first. Young wealthy mogul Miles Creighton (Beck) dies from liver failure, but his mother (played by Beatrice Straight, although she remains unnamed on some of the DVD jackets), pays some big bucks to have her son frozen in cryogenic sleep. Now in the 1980’s they were freezing the entire body, whereas in the 1990’s someone figured all you need to freeze is the head. It’s here Paul Sorvino as the family priest protests the unholy refrigeration. But a mother’s love and mega-bucks wins out.

Ten years pass and Miles is revived. Only he comes back to life without a soul. We can tell this spiritual omission by the fact that Miles returns to life as a slacker. He drinks, watches a lot of TV, and sleeps late. The fiend. But he soon grows bored and decides to resume his corporate duties as Mega-CEO. With this power, he hits on his sister, beats women, tortures animals, and starts telling fibs. The scoundrel.
But after her son starts killing people, Mom finally figures out the priest was right and puts down her son before he can escape into cryogenic refrigeration again.

So there you have it. That’s the story. But here’s the problem. The picture is out of focus. Sometimes the shots are so dark, you can’t even tell what’s going on. It looks like someone recorded a bad copy of the movie off the TV with an antique camcorder. Also, the soundtrack is bootleg quality at best. It’s bad in some scenes, worse in others. It is an unforgivable mess. And they’re selling this mess by putting recognizable names on the cover. If only the movie were as in focus as the pictures on the DVD jacket.

So, until the powers that be decide to do a Blu Ray version off the original masters, which are probably lost in TV land somewhere, go watch one of Mr. Craven’s other fine horror movies. Or watch The Warriors again. But do your eyes and ears a favor and avoid this terrible piece of technology. Remember, you’ve been officially warned by the "Servante of Darkness".

And it looks like you're in luck, if you'd like to see the entire movie for free; it has been posted in 14 parts on YouTube. Below is Part 1 of 14 for your viewing pleasure:

--Anthony Servante

Foreign Fears: THE DEAD (2011) (a U.K. and West African joint production)

By Brian M. Sammons

Directors: Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford
Cast: Rob Freeman, Prince David Oseia

Thought I’d do something a little different today; a review of a movie not on Blu-ray or DVD, or at least not here in North America yet, but one that’s just hitting theaters in a limited release. The mere fact that I would do such a thing, something I never, ever do, should give you a bit of a clue on how I feel about this UK made, African set zombie flick. However I’m not here to be vague, so let me spell it out for you; THE DEAD is one of the best zombie movies made in years. Hell, it’s just an all-around good movie in every way, shape or form. The fact that it has zombies in it is just a bonus. Rarely have I been this pleased with a brand new movie, so allow me to share some of my joy with you.

In the war ravaged continent of Africa, the hell that man has made there for decades has just gotten a whole lot worse as the dead have begun to rise to attack the living. Sure, this is a very familiar story, but it is how that story is handled that makes all the difference in this film. Here the tale begins with an American Air Force mechanic on the last plane out of the blighted continent, but unfortunately for him the plane crashes. For our mechanic, surviving the crash is just the beginning because now he’s lost in the wilds of Africa with more flesh hungry zombies than you can shake a severed head at. Our costar of this movie is an African solider who leaves his post to go back and protect his wife and son. Well like any good zombie tale, there’s enough bad luck floating about for everyone and our solider returns home only to find that his village has been attacked by the undead, his wife eaten, and his son missing. A dying old woman tells him that his boy was taken to relative safety by a group of other soldiers. Eventually our two heroes meet and begin a dangerous journey over the beautiful, wild countryside, with the solider looking for his son and the American just looking for a way out of Africa.

A somewhat typical story, yes, but there are many things that makes this movie so damn good. First there are the slow, shambling, traditional undead, not the hyperactive, super athletes like many modern zombies. And while 28 DAYS LATER and the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake were great, I’ve always preferred the inescapable dread and doom that the slow zombie represents, and that is done to great effect in this movie. Take for example this scene; our Air Force Hero gets a car, but it gets stuck in the lucky-to-be-called-a- goat-trail he’s forced to travel. He gets out of the auto to fix it and he looks around, seeing several undead, but they are a good distance away, so he thinks he’s safe. He starts to work on the car, and the camera pans back to show that the silent, shuffling zombies are closer. The guy continues to work on the car…and the flesh eaters get closer. He drops a tool, goes to pick it up, and now there’s a zombie right next to him. No, he sees that there are five right on top of him, and more closing in. That is how it’s done, folks. That is a creepy and effective bit of horror. Now just how would that scene of suspense and tension have been made any better by a zombie sprinting out of the bushes like Jesse Owens and gibbering like the Tasmanian Devil?

Another thing that I loved about this film was the long moments of silence. For much of this movie both heroes are on their own, so who would they be talking to? No one, that’s who. Still, if this was a Hollywood flick, I can’t imagine the filmmakers having enough faith that the audience wasn’t a bunch of A.D.D. addled spazzes that has to have constant droning less they become bored, to allow the movie to shut the hell up just tell its story through visuals alone, like THE DEAD does. No, they probably would have resulted to inner narration if nothing else. I mean, do I really have to point out BLADE RUNNER here?

Perhaps the reason THE DEAD is comfortable with its moments of silence is that the visuals it has to offer are so beautiful and striking. I mean, were talking about Africa here. Sure it’s savage, wild, and sometimes desolate, but it’s breathtaking nonetheless. This beauty is well juxtaposed with the horror that’s happening all over and the rotting zombies that are causing said horror. I can honestly say that this movie is probably the best looking, most visually stunning and memorable zombie movie ever made. For that reason alone, to prove that horror films don’t always have to look cheap and dirty, you should see this movie.

Lastly there’s the normal movie stuff, like acting, direction, music and such, combined with the horror staple of gore, and THE DEAD gets all of that, and more, so right. Perhaps my one and only complaint with this movie was the (thankfully) infrequent use of CGI for gore gags such as bullet hits and the like. I guess such things are unavoidable these days, and at least the ones in this film range from good to ok, but I still don’t like them. I’d just like all films to get the video game graphics out of my movies, but I suppose that will never happen, so I guess I can’t really hold that against this otherwise great fright flick.

To quote one of my favorite Alice Cooper songs; I love THE DEAD. It’s got style, good acting, great moments of suspense, zombie gut munching, and a beautiful and unique setting that hasn’t already been done to death by dozens of other zombie flicks. I highly recommend seeing this movie if you’re lucky enough to have a theater near you showing it.

--Brian M. Sammons

Brian Sammons Hi-Def Horror Hoedown!


Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal

As you may recall I just reviewed THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 1 on Blu-ray here a few months back, so I’m not going to go into the background story behind this series.


Because A) if you’re any kind of horror fan, then you already know all about the amazingly good zombie comic book that has become this amazingly good zombie TV show on AMC. Oh, and B) I JUST REVIEWED THIS A FEW MONTHS BACK!

Yeah, so why am I reviewing this again?

Because AMC is trying to wring every cent they can out of this one by releasing a new Blu-ray set of the first season in a fancy new box with some new extras, just in time for the second season. So yeah, this is the quintessential example of “double dipping”, or trying to take the fans for everything they have.

Not since the 100+ editions of THE EVIL DEAD (1981)that Anchor Bay flooded the DVD market with in the late 90s and early 2000s, has the horror fanbase been so taken advantage of. Oh, wait...lookie here...Anchor Bay also brought out these WALKING DEAD discs.

Man, I hope this isn’t a taste of things to come.

And, yet, with all that said, this is still a great show and a very good Blu-ray collection. So since the real stars of this second time at bat are the special features, let me break them down for you.

First, some really good news: All the special features from the previous Blu-ray edition have been ported over to this one, so nothing has been lost. That means a ton of featurettes, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes bits.

Now for the new; and let's start off with the biggest new goodie; since the very talented Frank Darabont directed the pilot episode of this series, it should come as no surprise that a black and white version of that pilot can be found here.

Why no surprise?

Because Darabont did the same thing for the last feature film he directed, THE MIST. The guy just really likes black and white as a cinematic medium, I guess, and while this was kind of a neat extra, it’s far from what I’d call WOW-inducing.

This time out, all six episodes come with audio commentary, and since I am a commentary track junkie, I think this is very cool. However, I must admit at being perplexed as to why these weren’t included with the first Blu-ray package...but I digress.

There’s a 15-minute feature on makeup special effects masters KNB and their amazing zombies; another special on the video (read as CGI) effects at just over 11 minutes. There’s an extra about all the various aspects of The WALKING DEAD phenomenon, at around 12 minutes, that focuses on the comic book series, and its creator Robert Kirkman, which started it all. I guess it only makes sense then that the next featurette is about adapting those comics for television. There’s also a nice bit of virtual eavesdropping, a conversation between Frank Darabont and KNB makeup guru, Greg Nicotero, filmed and included on this disc.

Lastly, there is a three part, hour-long behind-the-scenes featurette called, “We Are The Walking Dead”, that includes interviews, set designs, acting, fans, conventions, makeup effects, stunts, a “how to act like a zombie” school, locations, and everything in between.

This is easily a tie with the audio commentaries, as the best new thing this Blu-ray set has going for it.

So if you already own THE WALKING DEAD Season One on Blu-ray, then you really don’t need to get this, unless, of course, you’re a special features addict and have a lot of extra disposable income. However, if you have yet to get this amazing TV show for your home library in High-Def, then it is easy to recommend this new set. This is a great show, and these discs are loaded with tons of extra goodies.

This is THE Blu-ray collection for THE WALKING DEAD…at least for now.

ATTACK THE BLOCK – (2011) Blu-ray

Director: Joe Cornish
Cast: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Nick Frost

It sort of seems like 2011 was a banner year for alien invasion flicks, it’s just too bad that the majority of them either stunk on ice or were completely forgettable. How ironic that in a field of overblown blockbusters, the one movie that did it the best is the one that did it for the least amount of money, and is least known--at least that's the case, here, in North America.

I’m talking about ATTACK THE BLOCK, and if you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, a lot of people haven’t.

So I’m now going to do my part to try and rectify that grievous oversight with the following review.

You can thank me later.

ATTACK sets the story and action at a public housing project in London. The stars of the show are young hooligans- I take it they are often called hoodies in the UK- and, true to form, all of the young punks do stroll about wearing hooded jackets. In fact, when we are first introduced to them, they are mugging a woman at knifepoint. Yeah, charming, these are exactly the kinds of guys I want to hang out with for the next hour and a half. But as the story progresses, this band of young ruffians show what they’re really made of, when they defend their block (read as: big, old apartment building) from a horde of truly monstrous and memorable invaders from the cold depths of space.

Perhaps the best thing about this movie is the aliens. They are completely black, hairy, bestial hunters that radiate pure menace. The only part of them that you can clearly see are their glowing, electric blue teeth, and, boy, do they have a lot of teeth. In the pantheon of impressive cinematic sci-fi baddies, these blue-teethed, black-furred monsters can stand proudly, shoulder to shoulder, with any alien ever caught on film. I enjoyed every second they were on screen, and I’m sure that the fact they were practical effects, and not CGI creations, must have had something to do with that.

But more than just kickass critters, this movie has great characters, something a lot of movies forget is important when they’re blowing millions of bucks on CGI eye candy. All of the punks turned heroes do a good job portraying both tough guys and frightened children, a hell of a thing to pull off well, and something that many adult actors fail to get right.

The best of this bunch would be John Boyega who plays "Moses", the leader of the hoodies. I hope he continues acting because I can see a bright future for him if he does. But, hey, that’s not to say that the grownups are anything to sneeze at in this movie. Over the last few years I’ve become a big fan of Nick Frost, and it’s good to see him here, although he doesn’t have that large of a role in the film.

One thing: this is a very British movie, and by that I mean the accents are thick, and the colloquialisms are many. Now, if your familiar with films from the UK, then this probably won’t be that big of a deal, but I do know some folks from this side of the pond who have problems understanding UK style English. However, please don’t let that stop you from seeing this very cool flick. After all, it does have subtitles.

I saw this movie on Blu-ray and it simply looked stellar, but that’s par for the course from Sony, who invented the BD format.

There is also a nice collection of extras on this disc to appease the fans of behind-the-scenes goodies.

There are three, yes, three audio commentary tracks. The “junior” one with writer/director Joe Cornish and the young stars of the show, a “senior” one with the director and the more mature cast, and producer commentary with the director and producer, Edgar Wright. There’s the typical behind-the-scenes featurette that runs a very respectable hour long; there’s a twenty-minute special on all of the creature effects, and a very short collection of interviews with the young actors called “Meet the Gang”. The typical collection of deleted scenes is missing from this package, but they have been replaced with a conversation with the writer/director on what was cut and why, complete with storyboards. A few trailers and two minutes of the teen actors rapping (why?) round out the impressive list of extras to be found on this Blu-ray disc.

ATTACK THE BLOCK was a fun film with surprisingly good young actors, a new spin on an old story, some well-done moments of tension and fear, lots of funny parts, and very memorable creature design. It’s an old school creature feature from an unlikely source, complete with very unlikely heroes. I highly recommend it.

ZOMBIE – (1979) Blu-ray

Director: Lucio Fulci
Cast: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson

You may know this movie as ZOMBIE, or you may know it as ZOMBI 2, or even by the even more titillating title, ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS.

I know it as awesome, perhaps the best Italian zombie flick, ever, and one that can make the Top 5 Zombie Films List regardless of nationality. I love this movie, always have. Not only was it the film that introduced me to the gloriously gory world of director Lucio Fulci, but it has great memorable scenes aplenty, and dares to do things that other flesh eater flicks would never try in a hundred years.

But lest this review descend into fanboy hyperbole, I guess I should get started with a bit of history on this movie, and why it is known in its native land as ZOMBI 2.

When the high lord of zombie films, George Romero, made his undead opus, DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), famous Italian filmmaker Dario Argento was a big help in many ways, not least of which was bringing the movie to Italy in an extended cut called ZOMBI. This version of the film was a big hit in the land of Lamborghinis and lasagna, so naturally they wanted a sequel. However, both Romero and Argento had no interest in doing one, at least not yet.

Enter Lucio Fulci, a man with a growing name for his giallo murder mysteries. He had an idea for a zombie flick, and if he had to call it an in-name-only (read as: having nothing to do with the original) sequel to get it made, well, that’s what he would do.

Now, I know this sounds like the typical setup for a truly dreadful rip-off flick with which we horror fans are all too familiar. Yes, I’m looking at you DAY OF THE DEAD 2: CONTAGIUM (2005), CREEPSHOW III (2007), RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD: RAVE TO THE GRAVE (2005), and, damn, but I could go on and on. However, Fulci did something that all those other not-really-sequels never even attempted: He made his own movie, with an original story, with style, skill, and some of the most truly horrifying and memorable moments ever committed to film.

Gee, see how a little bit of actual talent and giving a damn can make a huge difference?

Anyway, that’s why ZOMBI 2 is not really a sequel to anything, and why it is now usually just called ZOMBIE. So history class is over, now on with the movie.

One day, in New York City, a boat comes into harbor, and much like the sailing ship in Bram Stoker's "DRACULA", it is a vessel suitable only for the dead and undead. After a fun bit of zombie action, it is discovered that the boat belongs to a somewhat famous scientist, who is not among the dead, walking or otherwise. So an investigative reporter and the scientist’s daughter team up to find out what’s going on. They charter another boat to take them to the tropical island where daddy doctor was doing some sort of secretive research.

Cue one of the coolest and crazies scenes in any zombie flick.

Right before arriving at the island, a woman decides to do some shirtless scuba diving for fun.

Yep, gratuitous nudity for the win!

Once under the waves, the pretty lady runs into a hungry shark!

As if things could not get any worse, she then runs into a hungry zombie!

Yeah, said undead just so happens to have been walking along the ocean floor.

Luckily for the lady, something awesome happens: The shark and the zombie start to fight!

Yes, you heard that correctly, a zombie and a shark take turns biting each other until only one is left. I won’t tell you which set of gnashing jaws wins the day, but I will say the throwdown is every bit as cool as you could imagine.

Now on the island, the visitors soon realize that bad things are afoot. Their first tiny inkling of this, other than the underwater zombie, happens when one of the ladies is taking a shower (thank you again, Mr. Fulci) and gets attacked by a wandering zombie. In one of the most grueling, gut-wrenching, amazing makeup effects, ever, we are treated to a scene of the woman getting a large splinter of wood slowly driven into her eye. Yeah, it’s as good as it sounds. Gorehounds have bayed about this scene for years and rightfully so. If you’re into the blood and guts thing, then it rarely gets better than this. If that scene doesn't sound like your cup o’ tea, then this is probably not the movie for you, as the red stuff is just getting started.

Soon, the dead all over the island start getting up to eat the living, and even this simple fact is handled in a neat and unique way. Sure these zombies are the slow, shuffling kind, right out of the Romero playbook, but most of them walk around with their eyes closed, or in some cases missing. Why? Because they are dead, and why should their eyes work any better than their rotted or missing internal organs? And yet even without their peepers, these ghouls can still “see” their prey. I always liked this little touch; for me, it made these flesh eaters extra creepy. They also don’t seem to open doors so much as they just push their way through them with their bodies. They are the ultimate example of motorized, yet mindless, eating machines. The only thing human about them is their general shape.

The film ends with a wonderful Alamo style standoff at a crude one-room hospital with guns, firebombs, and ghouls advancing from all sides. Yeah, there’s a bit of an unnecessary coda showing a much wider undead threat, but I never much cared for it. For me, this last, desperate battle is where the movie should have ended. It’s great stuff.

Regardless of the extra tacked on bit at the end, ZOMBIE is first rate horror entertainment. It is the first of Fulci’s truly "gore-tastic" flicks, and has his trademark look and style all over it. It is one of my favorite films from the horror maestro. That’s high praise when you consider how many great fright flicks the man gave to the world.

This new ultimate edition of ZOMBIE comes on two Blu-ray discs and is packed full of bonus materials. Disc one has an audio commentary track with star Ian McCulloch and "Diabolik Magazine" editor Jason J. Slater, and while it’s nice and informative, I found it to be very dull and dry. There is no chemistry between these two and it sounds like they’re reading notes directly from a page. Yeah, I’ve heard better. Additionally there are trailers, TV and radio spots, and a poster and still gallery.

Disc 2 contains the lion’s share of the goodies, which basically means interview with anyone and everyone involved with this movie, still alive and kicking. Actors, writers, producers, production designers, the cinematographer, the wardrobe department, stuntmen, the special makeup effects guys, the composer, Lucio Fulci’s daughter Antonella, and even a brief discussion with famed director Guillermo Del Toro, who had nothing to do with ZOMBIE, other than being a huge fan of it. All total there is over an hour and a half of interviews with fifteen different people. So unlike some “special” releases, this one delivers the goods.

ZOMBIE is a great movie, a must have for any Horrorhead’s library. If you already have it on DVD, this Blu-ray is a definite upgrade in all ways. If you have yet to get this movie, then wait no more. This is THE version to own. Consider this one highly recommended, and then some.



Director: Lucio Fulci
Cast: Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni

This is the second of a one-two Fulci punch from Blue Underground for this Halloween season. While it’s not my favorite Fulci film…well, you know the old saying I always bring up about pizza, that even when it’s not great, it’s still pretty darn good? Yeah, that certainly applies here. So grab a shovel and take my hand, we’re off to the house by the cemetery.

A small family moves into a big house in New England, with a sordid, bloody history. The young son, Bob, played by cherubic blond haired, blue eyed Giovanni Frezza, has a friend in a little girl only he can see named Mae, who keeps warning him to stay away from the house. Not only does this bring up shades of Stephen King’s "THE SHINING", but it's also my biggest gripe about this movie; that damn kid.

No, not the little Italian boy, Giovanni, who’s neither better or worse than any other child actor, but the screeching, fingernails-on-chalkboard-bad voice they dubbed in for him for the English version of the film.

Oh, my dear god, is it annoying!

It’s obviously an adult doing a horrible “little kid” impersonation, but the end result is that every time little Bob opens his mouth I want to hit him in the face with a brick.

The second thing about this film that keeps it from being really great is the pacing. Once the family moves into the titular house the events proceed at a leisurely, strolling pace at best. The mystery behind the house’s horror (not to mention why a crazed maniac is living in the basement, popping out occasionally to behead, slice up, and rip the throats out of people) is slowly doled out, a drip and drab at a time…that is until the end, when there is a big exposition dump. There are random bits of weirdness sprinkled throughout the film, like an unintentionally hilarious bat attack, and a few gruesome murder scenes, but sadly these seem like a far cry from the glorious gory gags in previous Fulci flicks. There’s a nice knife through the back of a woman’s head that come out of her mouth bit, but that’s one of the few memorable kills to be found here. There is a cool, rotting thing in the basement, a few genuinely creepy moments, but the film’s plot is a bit muddled and illogical, to say the least.

How much so?

Well, when the film was first released on VHS some of the reels were played out of order and no one seemed to notice!

Combine that with a lackluster ending that makes little, if any, sense, and you get a movie that is long on mood and atmosphere, but short on logic. If you’re one of those people who need their films to make absolute sense, you might hate this movie. However, if you can just go with it, and enjoy the ride, you might dig this uneven, yet, still mostly competent shocker.

As for the extras on this new Blu-ray release from Blue Underground, there’s a single “lost” scene that was just recently found that has never appeared in any version of the movie before. Sadly, it’s without sound, and also boring, as it takes place right after the famous bat attack and seems to add nothing new or noteworthy to the film. So I guess it’s nice to have, but it is on the unnecessary side.

There are also six “featurettes”, and by that I mean interviews. Why they just weren’t called interviews is beyond me, but that’s not to suggest that they were bad or boring. On the contrary, I enjoyed all of them. You get an interview with both surviving screenwriters, a short discussion with actor Carlo De Mejo, a nice lengthy set of interviews with the cinematographer, makeup effects guys, and actor Giovanni De Nava, and then even more interviews with actors Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina, and Dagmar Lassander. All total there is over an hour and twenty minutes of interviews collected here, with theatrical trailers, a TV spot, and a posters and stills gallery to round out the extras. For a movie largely forgotten by today’s fright fans, that's an impressive collection bonus material.

THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is both a bit longer and slower than it should be, and it has that damn screeching voice actor dubbing little Giovanni Frezza in it that drives me up a wall, but it’s still a good, creepy film at its rotting heart. If you’re new to Fulci films then perhaps CEMETERY isn’t the best place to start. For that I would suggest ZOMBIE, THE BEYOND, and/or CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. But if you want to see something different, weird, creepy, and fun, or if you’re already familiar with some of Fulci’s other flicks, then THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY is for you. And now you can get it looking better than ever. Consider this one recommended.

DEAD ALIVE (aka BRAINDEAD) – (1992) Blu-ray

Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody

Before the latest KING KONG (2005) remake, before the massive LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (2001-2003), even before the all but forgotten, but still pretty good, THE FRIGHTENERS (1996), Peter Jackson was known for very weird, usually very funny, and almost always very gory movies, like this one. Known as BRAINDEAD almost everywhere outside of the US, and DEAD ALIVE here, this is one of the cultiest of cult movies, and for good reason. Gory, goofy, fun and funny, this has always been one of my favorite "splat-stick" flicks, and now Lionsgate has released an unrated cut of this groovy movie in HD for the first time.

Too bad that the actual presentation is so lackluster...but before we get to that, on with the movie.

Lionel is a milquetoast momma’s boy, living with an overbearing, manipulative, royal witch of a mother in New Zealand. Lionel finally musters up the courage to go out on an honest to goodness date with a real girl. Naturally, his mother not only spies on them, but ruins the experience.


By getting bitten by a Rat Monkey from Sumatra, of course. So she naturally plays the pity card, and gets her doting son to take care of her, if for no other reason than to keep Lionel away from the pretty shopkeeper, Paquita. Little does mommy dearest know about the severity of her wound, and before you know it, she’s dead. But that still doesn’t stop her from being a bitch.

Soon, others also become infected with a bad case of rat monkey zombification, including a hilarious zombie-baby (yes, really), and poor Lionel is trying his best to keep them all locked up in his now boarded up house, feeding and taking care of them, not to mention keeping them loaded on tranquilizers. He does so not only to keep them safe, but to keep the town safe from them. Yeah, how much you want to bet that things soon get out of hand?

DEAD ALIVE has got so much cool going for it, I barely know where to begin. Besides the tons and tons of over-the-top goofy gore gags that give this film its signature "splat-stick" style, there is a love triangle; a bit of fortune telling; a Nazi veterinarian; a kung-fu priest that “kicks ass for the Lord!”; a real "killer" party; the best use of a lawnmower since NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986); deadly and sentient (and farting) zombie guts; and the aforementioned zombie baby, the flesheating offspring of a zombie nurse and a zombie priest doing the (very) nasty.

And again, I can’t stress the goopy gore enough in this movie. If you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to blood and guts, trust me, unless you’ve seen DEAD ALIVE, you haven’t.

But as crazy cool as the film is--and it is that and more--this new release from Lionsgate is a big disappointment. It’s as barebones as discs get with the sole “special feature” being a trailer.

Wow, way to put forth the extra effort, Lionsgate.

Now the important thing is that the movie looks really good, it sounds ok (it’s only in 2.0, but it does sound crisp and clear), and it is UNRATED, so it's chockful of glorious gore. But still, not a single real extra feature? No one could be bothered to comment on it? No one could be interviewed about this? There weren’t any horror historians, or DEAD ALIVE fans, who could say ANYTHING about this crazy movie?

Yeah, I call bull crap on that.

This is just Lionsgate trying to put this out as cheap as possible, which never makes me a happy camper.

El cheapo Blu-ray release aside, DEAD ALIVE is a great movie, a must-have for gorehounds and fans of very black, and far beyond sick, comedies. For those that only know Peter Jackson from his later, much more family friendly films, this flick will be quite a shock, so take that as a bit of a warning.

While I wish this BD had some more, or any, special features on it, at least this film is back out on disc and looking better than ever, so for that reason alone I give this new Blu-ray a very high recommendation.

THE CROW – (1994) Blu-ray

Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Ernie Hudson

I love THE CROW.

I loved THE CROW before it was cool to love THE CROW.

I loved THE CROW before goth was cool (if it ever was), and before it became an infamous film for the tragic accident that claimed the life of Brandon Lee.

I loved THE CROW when it was only a very independent, and quite obscure comic book by a sad and troubled man from Detroit, James O’Barr.

And I still love THE CROW now, even after all the truly horrible sequels it has spawned.

So imagine how happy I was when I got this new Blu-ray edition of THE CROW just in time for Halloween, and if you don’t know why Halloween is a perfect time to release this movie, then you really need to sit your butt down and watch it. However, my happiness over old movies making the jump to HD has often been dashed to bits over shoddy transfers, and far from special editions.

Would this new Blu-ray be something to celebrate, or something to mourn?

Well, grab some black clothes, some white makeup, your big black bird, not to mention a bunch of guns, and let’s find out.

Brandon Lee plays an up and coming rock musician named Eric Draven, who on the eve of his wedding, had his life literally shattered by some thugs who raped and murdered his wife and killed him.

That’s right, they actually murdered Eric, but that’s not going to stop him from getting justice.

One year after his death, Eric returns from the grave, aided by a special crow spirit guide that has granted him invincibility, and leads him to those responsible for he and his wife's murders.

So begins a dark, moody, bloody, Gothic, and often darkly comedic tale of revenge as Eric, literally driven mad with grief, gets justice and uncovers a deeper mystery of why he and his fiancee were murdered.

THE CROW is a great revenge film, with a touch of the occult, truly despicable villains to loath, and it all but drips with dark atmosphere. Sure there were goths before this film, but after it came out no goth worth his or her black eyeliner didn’t have the poster on their wall. I guess some of that could have been the depressing infamy associated with it, due to the accidental death of rising star Brandon Lee, but it’s also the look and the very fine soundtrack. But despite its undeniably moody goth bona fides, there is also some light in this story and the promise of love everlasting, even from beyond the grave. Really, this movie has it all: Love, death, gunfights, kung fu, rock n’ roll, and a bit of melancholy, as you can see the star that Brandon might have been, but sadly he would never be.

This new Blu-ray from Lionsgate and Miramax has a crisp, clear picture- which is a very good thing, since THE CROW is such a dark film. No, I’m not talking about subject matter; I’m talking about lighting here as the vast majority of this movie takes place at night. So while color is still kept to a minimum here, the dark shades are deep and rich, and the overall picture is damned good looking.

Unfortunately, however, the extras are nothing to crow about (ha). They’re not bad, and there’s a nice collection of them, but they are all from the previous 2 disc DVD release from years before. There’s nothing new here, at all, and that always bums me out a bit.

Anyway, what you get here, while old, is still pretty good.

There’s a pretty good audio commentary track with director Proyas and your standard behind-the-scenes featurette that runs just over 16 minutes, with interviews from a whole slew of people who worked on the film, including the late Brandon Lee. There’s also a 33 minute interview with original Crow creator, comic book artist and author, James O’Barr, which is honestly quite depressing. The rest of the extras are the usual suspects of extended and deleted scenes, trailers, storyboards, and a posters and stills gallery.

The new CROW Blu-ray is a pretty good buy, even if it does only offer a new and much improved picture over the old DVDs, because you can pick it up for a good price from almost every retailer out there. If you already own the previous double DVD set, then you might want to hold off, unless you are a total videophile. If you don’t already have this goth revenge love story in your collection, or like me, you just had the first bare bones DVD release, then consider this a strong recommendation.


First off, all opinions in the following review are solely those of the reviewer, Brian Sammons, who happens to also be co-editor of this online magazine and a friend. I feel this is his column space, so therefore, he has every right to choose to review whatever films he sees fit.

His review of A SERBIAN FILM was his personal choice, and while I do wholeheartedly personally condemn the ideology and glib reasoning that filmmakers such as these use when they make such things and try to pass them off as a challenge to our ideas of art, freedom of speech, choice, etc., etc,. I applaud Brian's personal test in viewing this film for review purposes.

It is this editor's personal opinion that there is no defense for creating something as heinous as the following film and it was obviously done for one reason, and one reason only: SHOCK VALUE.

But the problem with doing something for the sake of shocking your audience, is that after they've made it through that shock, they will need something worse to shock them the next time.

Again, this is my personal opinion.

I do, however, again, applaud Brian's tenacity in sitting through this film for his own reasons, to challenge his own beliefs in "No censorship", and while I also do NOT agree with "censorship", I personally feel there must be good sense and judgment at work whenever an artist sits down to create something which he intends to share with other thinking, feeling, emotionally trusting people.

Having said that, I will not provide a trailer following this review for the simple reason that there are no appropriately tasteful, non-mentally and emotionally damaging trailers to be found for this piece of garbage.

Again, personal opinion, and again, hats off to Brian for having the guts to test his own notions of what is art.

Since I have already read the review, I can honestly say that we are pretty much aligned on this film's place in the pantheons of cinematic greatness or dumpster.

Good job, co-editor. Couldn't have paid me to sit through this shit, my friend.

--Nickolas Cook, editor-in-chief of The Black Glove Magazine)

A SERBIAN FILM – (2010) Blu-ray

Director: Srdjan Spasojevic
Cast: Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic

Newborn porn.

Those two words, right there, is really all you need to know about this flick.

Now. to be sure, no children, newborn or otherwise, were harmed in the making of this movie. The newborn in question is a special makeup effects puppet, but there is a scene with it where…

Ok, last chance to leave.

For many, just the thought of the repulsive stuff that happens in this movie is enough to turn their stomachs. I choose to start this review with those two words, so that right away, you know what you’re in for, should you chose to watch this Mt. Everest of controversial films. Why beat around the bush with the little things like rape and necrophilia, right? So I plan on being as fair as possible to A SERBIAN FILM, but that means I will have to discuss some very unpleasant things.

Again, you’ve been warned.

The protagonist in this film is Milos, a legendary porn star living in Serbia, and he has a pretty good life. Besides being blessed with an impressive tool with which to ply his trade, he has a loving wife and a cute young son. In every way, they are the perfect, happy family.

Yeah, I’m sure nothing bad will happen to them.

Anyway, as happy as Milos is, he is also having a hard time making ends meet after retiring from the porn business. Then he hears about a strange director who wants to make artistic porn flicks that will put Serbia on the map. Unfortunately, what this psycho considers “artistic” veers wildly from what normal people think of as art.

Before long Milos is trapped in a dark spiral of sex, death, depravity, more sex, more death, and, yes, loads and loads of more depravity.

Worse still, he’s having unexplained blackouts, during which he’s losing days at a time, only to wake up bruised and bloody, with most of the blood covering him not his own.

So begins Milos’ quest to understanding what he's gotten himself into, and how he can escape it.

But really, he should have known something was wrong from the start, where for his first scene with the new director, a woman with makeup smeared from crying, her face freshly bruised, crawls across the floor to service him, while a thug sneaks up behind Milos to put him in a choke hold and orders him to “hit the whore” repeatedly in the face with his fist while she tends to his little big Milos. Oh, and all this takes place in front of a little girl dressed like Alice in Wonderland.


And how messed up is it that that’s about the tamest of the atrocities this movie revels in?

Other lowlights include; man on man rape, man on boy rape, incest, chopping a woman’s head off while continuing to rape her twitching body, a woman with her teeth pulled out being choked to death on a man’s penis, a man is literally skull f***ed in his eye socket to death, and, honestly, I could go on and on.

And what’s strange is that this new Blu-ray, while proudly proclaiming on the cover that it is UNRATED, has been cut from the screener I was originally sent some months back. Most noticeably (and thankfully) missing were parts from the "newborn porn" scene. Now you don’t even see the puppet baby, or what happens to it, but you still get to hear it.

So, uhm, yay for that...I guess?

And the other scene of child abuse (yes, this "fine" film has more than one) has also been recut to be more implied and less graphic. But really, if you’re going to take such perverse delight in wallowing through filth, why leave anything out? I guess the filmmakers got tired of being dragged into court for making kiddie porn. They actually didn’t, but I could see how some people may have been confused.

Yes, the “why leave anything out” line was a joke.

A very dark, sick joke, and I’m trying my best to resist the cheap shot by saying that so was this film.

Why resist?

Because…ok get ready to hate me...

I hate censorship in any form, so as long as a work of art doesn’t actually hurt anyone, then I feel it has a right to exist. This movie, as horrible as it is, didn’t actually hurt any of the people, or puppets, it shows being hurt in it. You, me, and everyone else has the right to revile it and not watch it, but that doesn’t mean we should ban it. I know my opinion may not be the popular one, and it’s far from the PC one, but I’ve always believed that if you don’t like something, then don’t read, watch, or listen to it. It’s that simple. That’s why I detailed, as tastefully as possible, some of the worst parts of this film for you in this review. If what I’ve briefly described here doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, then for god’s sake DON’T WATCH THIS MOVIE.

If it does sound like your idea of a good time, then for god’s sake STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ME.

Also, if one of the goals of a horror film is to horrify. then A SERBIAN FILM wins the all-time grand prize for that.

But this isn’t a fun fright flick, or a campy slasher movie from the 80s; this isn’t even a cool zombie gorefest; and it makes all the modern torture porn films look cute and cuddly by comparison. It even makes the bleakest movies I have even seen before this--like for example, the French-Canadian "feel bad" movie MARTYRS (2008), seem positively bright and sunny.

If this film doesn’t sicken and repulse you, even a little, then there’s something wrong with you. Seriously, seek professional help.

However, to sicken and repulse is to horrify, so again, A SERBIAN FILM is nothing if not effective.

Lastly, I must say, that, despite its horrific subject matter, this movie is actually well made, acted and shot. It looks surprisingly good. Hearing rumors and whispers about this film in advance of seeing it for the first time, I guess I was expecting an obviously low budget, incompetently made, almost grindhouse-like, or worse yet, direct to video style of movie. I think it’s actually kind of more disturbing that this film was made with such skill and style.

Yes, it wants to sicken you, but there’s more to it than just cheap gags. By “gags” I mean the sound you will no doubt make when trying hard not to vomit, while watching this film. And when I say that this movie has more to it than over the top, “Aren’t we shocking” moments, I actually mean that.

And I also believe that there is a real message to be had here. However, it is obscured by such jaded, mean-spirited, angry and nihilistic filmmaking that it is hard to see any of it.

I’ll leave it up to you to decipher the message, should you ever watch this film for yourself. That way you might be able to sleep at night afterwards by telling yourself you were sitting through A SERBIAN FILM for artistic reasons.

Yeah, just keep telling yourself that.

Sadly the new Blu-ray from Invincible Pictures is as bare bones as a disc can get. I would have loved to have had some interviews with the filmmakers for a number of reasons, like to find out just what the hell they were thinking when they made this flick, or to hear them defend it after the mountain of criticism which it has endured since its release.

Now, do I feel moviemakers should be forced to defend and explain their films?

No, but in this case, I really wish they would have attempted to do so.

A SERBIAN FILM is a hard movie to sit through, and as such, I really can’t recommend it to anyone. But I do sort of understand at least some of the things they were trying to say with it, not that I agree with them, and so I won’t jump on the “let’s condemn this piece of trash” bandwagon. I guess the only way I could recommend this movie is if you’re looking to push your limits of good taste, and even then I would seriously warn against it.

--Brian M. Sammons