Tales From the Crypt

Tales-CryptAnthology films have been a staple of horror for a long time and continue to be. Entries such as Creepshow in the 80s and, in more recent times, the V/H/S found footage series show the portmanteau structure shows no signs of losing its popularity.

The short tale has always been well-suited to the genre, with the traditional shock ending being par for the course. EC Comics in the 40s and 50s made a booming success from such stories, particularly in its series Tales From The Crypt and Vault of Horror, before censorship effectively brought the run to a close.

In 1972, British film production house Amicus Productions had already put out a string of anthology horror films – Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Torture Garden (1967) and The House That Dripped Blood (1971) – before the release of this, adapting five tales from the old EC Comics.

The wraparound story involves five people, separated from a tour party in a labyrinthine catacombs, who encounter a hooded crypt keeper (Ralph Richardson). He confronts each, one-by-one, with a story of how they have died.

All of the stories follow the same pattern. Some central character carries out acts of dubious morality and then receive their comeuppance – often through supernatural means. None of the stories feature any great narrative twists and while workmanlike, none are particularly effective. The laziness even extends to the set-up…one of the people doesn’t actually die in their story, so it does not make sense for them to be present.

Joan Collins appears as a housewife whose attempts to call for help when her house is threatened by a homicidal maniac are hampered by the fact she has just murdered her husband. Peter Cushing is a gentle old man whose ramshackle house is bringing down property prices for his rich neighbours who plot his demise. Other tales include a riff on the old “three wishes” standby and a group of old blind men who go a bit Saw in their torture trap vengeance on their tyrannical hospice superintendent.

The shooting style is solid, with a very Hammer Horror feel. The edges of the budget show at times and the filming rarely tries to be anything overly striking, but it is all efficient and professionally-done. The acting is comfortably above-average, though, with some classy British thespians lending weight to b-movie concepts and the performances are the strongest aspect of the whole.

A decent set of unspectacular stories, Tales From The Crypt is far from a bad movie but ultimately, lacks anything particular special to be considered memorable, either.

No extras.

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray 

Isis Rising: Curse of the Lady Mummy

IsisPre credits we discover that in ancient Egypt, Osiris and his hotty wife Isis (played by porn star Priya Rai) ruled the land.

All good except for Osiris’ bro Set, who is jealous of the couple and kills Osiris then chops him up so that Isis can’t use black magic to revive the corpse.

Roll the opening credits and bring us up to the modern day where the usual suspects – the meathead jock, the stoner, the nerds, the hot blonde, the professor, the security guard and the visiting archaeologist show up and are put in a museum overnight where they are researching some ancient artifacts and of course uncover the hieroglyphic spell that revives Isis.

There are some nice twists to the characters, the nerdy gal has a thing going on with the professor for a start but overall it is the same ol’ same ol’ but then that’s what we pay for ain’t it? And to be fair, this lot can, for the main part, act which in itself is a nice change. The big problem though is that in an effort to provide some character development and to build them up the movie is bogged down and too slow for the average horror fan. Which is an odd thing to say I know considering how often characters are there just to be killed but sometimes a little goes a long way and the very slow and steady decimation of our ‘heroes’ as Isis sets about putting Osiris back together piece by piece does get a little grating at times.

There’s also the problem of special fx. These days everyone seems to be relying on digital fx and I don’t care what people say, digital sucks!!! Big budget or small budget, it ain’t no replacement for the latex and goo and ingenuity of the old days and in fact the digital fx this time around are jarring and in my opinion (and that is all it is after all) really ruin the film. Pity because there’s a lot of potential here, some great lines and some good ideas but the film just doesn’t quite live up to its potential. Oh and in case you were wondering, Priya keeps her kit on!! I mean, what the hell? No boobs and no spraying of fake blood, what is wrong here people? Very disappointing.

That said I must also point out that this was director Lisa Palenica’s first feature film and she helped write and produce the film as well as starring in it and from what I’ve read online she basically jumped in at the deep end after initially signing on just as an actress. So I can’t be too harsh, she is definitely going to be a name to watch in the future. As soon as she realizes we don’t care about character development, we want boobs and we want blood!

Available on DVD from MVD Visual.

Memory Lane

MemoryLaneA low budget, psychological, sci-fi thriller, Memory Lane follows Nick Boxer (Michael Guy Allen), an orphaned American war veteran who has returned home and encounters an enigmatic girl, Kayla M. (Meg Braden), who he saves from jumping off a bridge and then begins a whirlwind romance with. Despite this she remains secretive about her past and refuses to even let him know her last name and then mysteriously kills herself. The distraught Nick soon after realises that he can be with her in another state when he temporarily kills himself, an act he routinely undertakes which also helps him to understand the mystery of what actually happened to Kayla.

Reportedly made for a mind-boggling $300, this film has all the shortcomings you’d expect. The cinematography of the film is surprisingly strong considering such a measly budget would suggest you’d be witnessing little better than first-year film student fare. The screenplay is by far the weakest aspect of the film with abysmal, paper-thin dialogue which can’t even yield one redeeming good line and when coupled with a narrative that isn’t properly explained enough, the film can be a pretty confusing and bland watch.

The acting is nothing to write home about although a strong convincing performance by the main actor playing Nick (Michael Guy Allen) shows some potential. Pity the dialogue he is given is uninteresting and totally cheesy in most parts (the bedroom scene dialogues are particularly cringe-y). The soundtrack is touch and go, well-placed in some scenes, in others, coming across as pointless and over-the-top (i.e. the ‘epic classical’ soundtrack in rather banal points of the film).

Overall it seems this is a rather damning review of the film, but when you take into account the limited resources it must have been made with then it is almost rather successful in that it comes across as lackluster rather than a truly horrendous watch. What could have saved this film was less trying to tug at the coattails of epics like Memento and more embracing of its lo-fi quality. It makes such an obvious attempt to be a big-time ‘deep’ film that this is where it fails the hardest, especially when poor screenwriting brings down anything good this movie does to begin with.

A pretty forgettable film that tries but mostly ends up dead in the water, pardon the pun.


  • Director’s commentary
  • Deleted scenes
  • Short films
  • Promotional videos
  • Screen tests
  • Trailers

Available on DVD from MVD Visual.

The Killer 4 Pack

killer4packReleased by SGL Entertainment, The Killer 4 Pack presents us with a quartet of micro-budget American horror films produced between 2000 – 2011. There’s no thematic similarities tying the films together, other than their ultra lo-fi production values. While many genre film buffs dismiss these kind of do it yourself (DIY) productions as nothing more than glorified home movies, the current nostalgia amongst some horror fans for the days of grainy VHS releases of the 1980’s, along with the recent series of V/H/S anthology films, and the publication of terrific genre study books like Joseph A. Ziemba and Dan Budnik’s Bleeding Skull: A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey (Headpress, 2013), shows that there is still a degree of support out there for these kind of backyard and media school productions.

The lead-off film, Richard Islas’ The Day of the Dead (2007), is the highlight of the bunch here. Taking a scenario that has been reflected both in recent fiction and fact, the film focuses on a gang of affluent suburban youngsters who indulge in the thrill of killing homeless people purely for entertainment and kicks. When they decide to torture and kill a young Mexican girl working in the country illegally, things start to get a little spooky and strange for our arrogant thrill-killers, as the girl’s body mysteriously disappears from the morgue, and her father arrives in town on a 15 day humanitarian visa, eager to take the investigation and justice into his own hands.

Considering its budget, The Day of the Dead is fairly well put together. It has its expected rough patches, but the performances (by a group of young and mostly unknowns) lift the material, and the Mexican Day of the Dead angle to its plot helps give it an atmosphere of pervading creepiness and black magic.

Directed by Damien Dante and filmed in and around Chicago, Jezebeth (2011) plays like an overlong 1990’s hard rock/metal music video (a soundtrack CD featuring various local metal and goth bands was released by Dark Star Records). Starring Bree Michaels in the title role, a disassociated and God-hating young woman who discovers a 19th century diary which unlocks the satanic codes for summoning a demon, Jezebeth has some moments of nice style and the odd atmospheric sequence, as well as some female nudity, but overall it’s too muddled and long to be engaging or hold the interest throughout. A sequel, Jezebeth 2: Hour of the Gun has recently been completed and is expected to be released in the US in mid-2015.

Carnage: The Legend of Quiltface (aka Carnage Road), directed by Massimiliano Cerchi in 2000, is the most amateurish of the films on The Killer 4 Pack, and looks not much better than a bunch of kids fooling around with an old video camera on a weekend road trip. A riff on 70s films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977), as well as the later slasher films of the early-80s, Carnage: The Legend of Quiltface has a group of photography students heading into the desert and being picked off by a machete-wielding killer known as Quiltface. With terrible effects and shaky camerawork, there’s not much of interest or entertainment here, although the mask which Quiltface wears, combining several faces of his victims which have been stitched together, looks kinda cool and is clearly Leatherface inspired.

The final film on this set is 2010’s Hellweek – Grindhouse Edition, directed by Eddie Lengyel. Seeming to play homage to the sorority horror movies of the early-80s (Hell Night, Splatter University, the Sorority House Massacre series, etc.), Hellweek has a typically obnoxious fraternity head (played by Rob Jaeger) who wants to organise a particularly memorable hell week induction for his incoming new freshmen. This he accomplishes by stupidly locking them in an old warehouse in which several people have mysteriously died. He sends some of his henchmen ahead to prepare some funhouse-style surprises for the newbies, only to see them run into a group of strange, masked homicidal maniacs who call the warehouse their home. Though it’s better, and a little better acted, than Jezebeth and Carnage: The Legend of Quiltface, there’s still not much in terms of tension, style or effects to distinguish Hellweek on any level. It uses artificial enhancement to give the video-shot production a fake grindhouse look (scratches, lines, jumping frames, fading and overexposure, etc.), but it’s not convincing or beneficial to the film in any way. When it comes to that classic 1970s grindhouse look, there is simply no substitute for the real thing.

The Killer 4 Pack is not recommended for anyone looking for production values or polish. It’s aimed squarely at that small but fairly devoted subgroup of horror movie fans who love and support the DIY genre filmmaking scene, in much the same way as many of us supported the roughly laid-out and badly-photocopied fanzines of days gone by.

Available on DVD from MVD Visual.

Goal of the Dead

Goal-of-DeadThe French football knockout cup has drawn giants Paris Olympique from the top-flight against the amateurs of tiny Caplongue. A regulation cup match with a foregone conclusion, it is the kind of game that barely registers any interest. But for Paris captain Sam Lorit (Alban Lenoir), it has special meaning.

In the twilight of his career now, the veteran striker got his big break in the identical fixture 17 years prior when he was plucked as a talented teenager from the Caplongue ranks and never looked back since.

But the village folk have not forgotten their most famous son. They saw his departure as a betrayal, none more so than Doctor Belvaux (Philippe du Janerand), the father of Sam’s best friend Jeannot (Sebastien Vandenbergh). He has spent the intervening years doping up his son into a player focussed solely on vengeance. When a contaminated batch of steroids turn the now-hulking Jeannot into, well, a zombie – he sets out on the warpath with Sam and the Paris players securely in his sights.

Goal of the Dead is a French comedy/horror that does a lot of things right but in the end fails at being particularly funny or scary. Oddly presented as two parts – a second set of titles runs halfway through to introduce the ‘second half’ – the film takes its time with the set-up and introduces a pretty memorable batch of characters.

These include the young talent Idriss Diago (Ahmed Sylla) on the verge of signing a big-money transfer deal to London United with the help of his douchebag agent Marco (Bruno Salomone), weary journo Solene (Charlie Bruneau), football teen groupie-with-a-secret Cleo (Tiphaine Daviot) and Caplongue’s tiny population of four football hooligans.

These are all well-realised and have excellent interactions without ever being particularly funny. When the zombie outbreak inevitably occurs, though, the film turns into a pretty bog-standard zombie film with the usual sequence of events. These include bailing up somewhere surrounded by the undead, using makeshift weapons and the time-honoured “one of the heroes gets infected.”

The film owes a lot to Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and, while it mimicks that movie’s tone, it never has quite the same wit or heart. This is despite a hefty six(!) writers being credited. There are some half-hearted attempts to skewer aspects of the footballing world, but there is no real satirical bite present.

What Goal of the Dead does have on its side is that it looks superb. The sequences through the French countryside and the embattled village have a real sense of scale with big, sweeping shots to take it all in. There are flashy slow-mo Matrix-esque shots and the football match itself – all smoke and flares – has atmosphere to burn.

The result is a film that is painless to watch – despite being a bit lengthy – but the lack of laughs make it just a very good-looking entry into a long pantheon of mediocre zombie movies coasting on a gimmick.


Aside from the usual array of trailers, there are also two short French films. These are of the ‘fake grindhouse trailer’ type and are crushingly amateurish and unfunny. Indeed, for one, they didn’t even bother with subtitles or dubbing. Fortunately, people in $2 shop wigs running around fake-vomiting on each other transcends language.

Available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.

The Dead Zone

Via-VisionThe Dead Zone is a melding of two talents at the height of their powers. The novel was a number one bestseller in 1979 from Stephen King and director David Cronenberg was fresh off a string of brilliant, singular horror films. Despite this, The Dead Zone tends to be something of a forgotten King adaptation – something even harder to understand given this is easily one of the most effective.

It is a character-driven piece, centering on a small town English teacher with the paradoxically memorable name of John Smith (Christopher Walken). Just as everything in his life seems to be coming together, he leaves the house of his fiancée Sarah (Brooke Adams) to drive home in the rain and ends up in a traffic accident that leaves him in a coma…for five years.

When at last Smith comes round, he finds Sarah is now married with a child, his job is long gone, he may never walk without assistance again and, to top it all off, he may have the ability to see the future.

The novel runs parallel storylines but the script here (by Jeffrey Boam) wisely shifts the structure to sequential, with each of the three stages having a seismic impact on Smith’s character. The first deals with his accident and awakening, the second with his involvement in the hunt for a serial killer and the third with his interactions with charismatic senate hopefully Greg Stillson (Michael Sheen).

This approach keeps things tightly focused on Smith and his evolution from discovery to denial and, finally, acceptance of his powers.

The central casting of Smith is an odd decision. Walken is always an actor with an otherworldly, almost creepy feel and that plays at odds with what is clearly meant to be an affable everyman character. Walken turns in a solid performance, but his natural affectations combined with somewhat sinister wardrobe choices (by the end, Smith is always clad in a long black coat and walks with a cane) fight the empathy the story desperately needs the audience to have with its lead.

Martin Sheen as Greg Stillson seems well-cast, but somewhat overplays his hand. While all of the other actors (including an excellent Tom Skerritt as the world-weary Sheriff Bannerman) play it low-key and subtle, Sheen merrily chews the scenery as the unscrupulous politician Stillson. Considering he only appears in the final third of the movie, this is somewhat jarring.

Aside from the issues with his cast, Cronenberg directs in a clean, professional manner. In the wake of his independent body horror films, The Dead Zone was seen as something of a ‘gun for hire’ job for Cronenberg, but he acquits himself well here and an unorthodox graphic suicide scene certainly stands out as a signature flourish.

A measured, introspective film, The Dead Zone is possibly overlooked due to its lack of big set pieces, but it stands up thanks to a careful script and some real thematic depth. Plus, it has that rarest of Stephen King characteristics – a terrific finale.


This is very much a bare-bones release. The transfer is grainy and a touch muddy and the extras consist solely of the film’s trailer.

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Via Vision.

When Animals Dream

When-AnimalsFor Marie (Sonia Suhl), life in her small coastal town is simple and now that she is 16, she gets a job at the local fish processing plant to help bring money into her family – her father (Lars Mikkelsen) and her catatonic, wheelchair-bound mother (Sonja Richter). She catches the eye of a handsome young fisherman named Daniel (Jakob Oftebro), but not everything bodes well.

Doctor Larsen (Stig Hoffmeyer) warns her that she will likely inherit her mother’s debilitating condition and several bullying men at her new job have decided she is the perfect target for taunting and abuse. Then Marie feels her body beginning to change…

The werewolf has always been a potent metaphor. Typically used as a male id symbol, the concept of physical change has also been applied to awakening sexuality. On rare occasions (most notably the Canadian film Ginger Snaps) it has been applied to female sexuality.

When Animals Dream takes that a step further. Marie’s real identity, her real destiny, is as a werewolf. As she comes of age, she does not flee from this. Her mother, heavily-medicated by her controlling (but caring) father and her doctor, serves as a warning of what happens if she just toes the line.

The feminist statement of the film is writ large, right from the uncomfortably sexual opening scene where Marie is examined for bodily symptoms by Doctor Larsen. Marie is wanting freedom and independence which clearly scares the traditionalist menfolk of her town.

Daniel is the exception. He is the only one who accepts Marie’s true nature and does not fear her for it. But the others in the town do, and they will not tolerate Marie in their midst. The more she stands out from the crowd and defies expectations, the more she raises their ire.

Debutant director Jonas Alexander Arnby shows a remarkably assured hand. The performances are all low-key and believable, free from overt affectation. The shooting is handheld and his Denmark is a bleak, cold place where the sun never seems to shine. The setting is a place of dying tradition, where there is no future, superbly realised.

The pacing is careful and the plot itself is very simple. This, perhaps is the film’s weakness. The ideas it presents are evocative and powerful, but along the way entertainment is somewhat sacrificed. The progression to the climax is single-minded, leaving little room for twists or turns in the storyline and while the inexorability of the film is part of its message, it does adversely affect the more superficial thrills.

A reflective, delicate and sombre film, When Animals Dream is a low-key gem and a reminder of how powerful the metaphors of fantasy and horror films can be to reflect our real world. An excellent debut.


Just trailers, which is disappointing for a film of this thematic depth.

Available on R4 DVD from Madman Entertainment.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead [Blu-Ray]

Dead-SnowMartin (Vegar Hoel) is having a tough time. His skiing holiday with his friends turned into a massacre when they accidentally awoke a platoon of frozen Nazi zombies and now, as the only survivor, he has to somehow stop the undead fascists as they set their sights on a new target.

Complicating the situation is that his own severed arm has been surgically replaced with the arm from the zombie commander Herzog (Orjan Gamst) which has something of a mind of its own. His only chance is to contact a group in the US who call themselves, “The Zombie Squad” in hopes they can somehow help him as the Nazi zombies march inexorably towards a sleepy Norwegian village…

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead is that rarest of beasts – a sequel that improves on the original. Admittedly, that is not a particularly high bar in this case. Dead Snow was a derivative, unfunny mess that only sprang to life in a splatter-laden final act. Right from the outset, the follow-up is a step up as it picks up right after the first left off.

The lack of set-up means the plot can get rolling immediately and the pacing in general is much improved. The film holds the attention throughout, with a series of gory set-pieces stopping things ever getting mired down. It all builds to a mass open-field battle between the Nazis and a group of Russian zombies reanimated by Martin to end a decades-old blood feud.

Where the original Dead Snow relied almost completely on references and jokes from other horror films, this time the confidence is there to strike a more original path. The film is all the stronger for it.

After his soujurn into Hollywood with 2013’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, writer/director Tommy Wirkola presents a much more polished sequel here. The camerawork is fluid, the editing vastly improved and the overall package is much slicker all round.

The US presence is interesting – the Zombie Squad (led by Martin Starr) are American and so speak English, as do all of the Norwegian characters whenever any of the Squad are present. That leaves only a few films where only Norwegian characters are present alone, but even then they speak English…except in another version of the film available as an extra feature here, which has those scenes in Norwegian and with (obviously) different takes.

Tonally, the Zombie Squad trio feel out of step to the rest of the film. The humour with the other characters stems from their situation (when Martin’s possessed arm rips internal organs out of a small child, he calls out to a watching police officer, “It’s not what it looks like!”) whereas the Zombie Squad characters try to crack jokes. In particular, Monica (Jocelyn DeBoer) makes endless Star Wars references that are never funny and always annoying.

This is the main flaw with Dead Snow 2. While it is intermittently humorous, it is certainly nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is. For every joke that elicites a chuckle, there are three that fall flat. As with the first movie, Dead Snow 2 is at its strongest when wading into the over-the-top gore for laughs and, once again, there are plenty of intestine-related gags.

The cast seems a bit lost amongst the jokes at times. Hoel’s Martin remains appropriately taciturn throughout, but other seems unsure as to how broad to go. This only adds to the uneven feel of the comedy and badly hampers the film’s effectiveness.

There are enough quality moments to carry the day for Dead Snow 2, but it is a mixed bag of a movie. The originality helps hugely and this is a fun flick, if never truly exceptional.


Aside from the already-mentioned international version of the film, the other key extras are a featurette and a short film.

The featurette is a rapid-fire look at some of the VFX composite shot constructions, but it breezes by very quickly and is very superficial.

The short film by Thomas Lunde is Armen (The Arm), which is related to Dead Snow 2 by virtue of it being about a man with a possessed arm. It is a very polished piece of work but at 14 minutes it is at least 10 minutes too long, although the punchline just about makes it worthwhile.

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Madman Entertainment.

Eyes of the Woods

Eyes-WoodsWhen a movie has two directors to start with and then a third credited with “completion footage” you know things are not going to run smooth.

Eyes Of The Woods seems to have been a short flick with incredibly bad acting but a great monster that was then expanded into a full length film with not so bad acting and a great monster.  Trouble is, you’ve seen the monster so there’s no longer a surprise.  Which is a pity because the real movie has some great potential even if it doesn’t have a particularly new storyline. But let’s get back to the start.

Our film kicks off in 1547 with a bunch of incredibly bad actors pretending to be Puritans.  After the death of his child, Christopher Wicker makes a pact with the devil, trying to get his kid back.  Of course things don’t quite go to plan and Wicker is possessed by one kick arse demon and proceeds to decimate the little village of Knob’s Creek.

All this is in Sepia and while the demon is awesome, the acting is high school amateur hour.  Cue modern day and colour.  Now I’m assuming this is the ‘completion” stage but since I couldn’t access the special features, which include producer and director commentary, it is just a calculated guess.

We follow five teenagers in a van who get lost on the back roads and find themselves stranded in the woods.  Making the best of a bad situation they camp for the night but one of them (Kelly) goes missing when a dead girl summons her into the night (as they do).  Being city kids the teens spend the following day wandering around lost until they realize the landscape itself is changing on them. Lakes disappear, roads are gone, the woods are playing games with them.  There are other campers out here too and when a topless blood splattered blonde drops in on one couple we soon realize that Wicker is still out there, still seeking revenge and still picking people off (just very bloody slowly).  In a nice twist the heroic boy, the one you think is going to save them, gets picked off early which makes it at least a little more interesting while you try and navigate the confusion.  The kids keep discovering strange things, blood soaked campsites, a tree with pictures all over it of missing kids, a monster chowing down, all the sort of stuff you expect when you are out in the woods.  Meanwhile Kelly and the dead girl are trying to put daddy’s soul to rest and Kelly has to perform the same ritual that Wicker did all those centuries ago.

I’m guessing the surprise ending won’t be a surprise to most of you.

This is a film that shouldn’t work but for some strange reason, once you’ve forgotten the intro that is, it somehow does.  Helped by the great over the top acting and comedic chops of Johnny Merino as Winter, a rich city braggart who is totally out of his element in the wild and by Elizabeth O’Brick (The Shadows) as Alison the obligatory tough chick. It’s a confusing film, disorientating and jumbled and the plot holes are huge but it all adds to the feel of the film and hell that Wicker monster is worth it alone.

We are talking old school fx here, no CGI or computers, just good old fashioned, let’s design a monster suit territory.  And for that if nothing else we should be thankful.  Pity that the disc wouldn’t allow me to access the extras and that there were ‘glitches’ along the way and I’ve gathered from other online reviews it’s a common thing.  Hopefully Lost Empire can fix the problem.

Available on R1 DVD from MVD Visual.

Hillbilly Horror Show Vol. 1

hillbillyhshowA homage to the days of Tales From the Crypt and b-grade horror hosts, Hillbilly Horror Show has our trailer trash hosts, Bo, Cephus and cousin Lulu (Bo Keister, Scott Geiter & Rachel Faulkner respectively) playing up the redneck stereotypes in their camper trailer whilst offering 4 short horror flicks for your viewing pleasure.

There’s maybe a little too much of them (except for Lulu, you can never get too much of her!) but the films make it worth your while. Kicking off with Franky And The Ant (D: Billy Hayes) a short, sharp story of revenge and a jealous husband with a sweet moment or two of “whoa, didn’t see that coming”, we then have Doppelganger, (Theo Stephanski) a very short short that is a tribute to the glory days of Harryhausen with REAL stop motion skeletons doing what they do best. Makes an old man’s heart flutter. Our third film has a real 70’s look to it, like a lost vhs tape discovered in the back of the cupboard.  Amused (Cuyle Carvin) is the story of one woman stumbling in on a murder and then having to flee the deranged killer. The tension builds nicely as she hides from the killer, eventually escaping to the next house only to discover he wasn’t alone! A nice twist and like I said, a great 70s feel to it all.

And now onto our main feature – The Nest (D: Tim Zwica) At around half hour this is the pick of the bunch.  Eleanore makes award winning honey which she sells from her country town diner.  What no one realizes is that her bees are fed a ‘special’ diet.  It’s no secret to us, the viewer but the locals don’t know about it.  Along with her halfwit mute son she keeps her mutant giant killer bees fed with strays, drunks, runaways and goth chicks who shoplift but when local rancher Hank and government inspector Ray join forces to find out what’s been attacking the local livestock well let’s just say things get messy.  And yes I did say giant killer bees but that should say low budget CGI giant killer flesh eating bees!!  Now we’re talkin’.  This is great fun and at half hour it’s just right.  I’m not a big fan of CGI but in this case, I’ll forgive Tim because hell the real thing would have taken ages to train and it’s still low budget so it’s all good.

An interesting idea and a great way to show short films, Hillbilly Horror Show Vol 2 and 3 are not far behind.  Grab ‘em, enjoy ‘em and tell the boys we want more of Lulu!

Hillbilly Horror Show Vol. 1 is available on R0 DVD from MVD Visual.