HIDDEN HORROR – the Hills Run Red

The_Hills_Run_Red_DVD_coverMany horror fans have heard of that “lost horror movie” the old scare film from decades ago that is nowhere to be found and supposedly incredibly gory and incredibly scary. For horror fans it is the ultimate treasure, to find that lost holy grail of a horror film, but what if the concept of a horror fan trying desperately to find that lost horror film was turned into a horror film itself? what if finding that lost horror film ends up going to very dark and dangerous places? enter Dave Parkers incredibly gruesome, mean spirited and well made 2009 straight to video slasher film THE HILLS RUN RED.

from imdb : A group of young horror fans go searching for a film that mysteriously vanished years ago along with the films director, but instead find that the demented killer from the movie (babyface) is real, all of the death scenes from the existing trailer are real and he’s thrilled to meet fans who will die gruesomely for his art.

Now if you are a fan of slasher films in the least of senses then you need to seek this one out NOW! Dave Parker’s the Hills Run Red is one hell of a entertaining and gruesome slasher film. All of the actors do a good job portraying believable characters but the acting spotlight of the film really shines on both William Sadler who plays the elusive film director Wilson Wylder Cancannon and actress Sophie Monk who plays the directors daughter who is helping the young horror fans find the lost slasher film.

Now the main villain of the film “BabyFace” is a damn good slasher villain who should be up there with the likes of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. Not only is he a damn creepy and gruesome looking killer but how he dispatches his many many MANY victims in the film is incredibly mean-spirited and gruesome. One such death scene involving a poor girl and hooks and that is all ill give away. But not only is Babyface creepy and very gruesome in his kills but he also surprises not only the characters in the film for what he is capable of but also surprises the viewer too in a very “whoa!” kind of a moment near the end.

Director Dave Parker’s style and tone are front and center in the film. Bright red lighting and red coloring is present through a number of scenes through the film and as soon as our character enter into Babyface’s domain the whole film gets more gruesome and demented with each passing scene, ending in a very bleak and macabre place for our characters. Director Dave Parker provides zero safety for both the viewers and the characters in the film.

You need to seek this one out immediately dear horror fans. The Hills Run Red is one hell of a entertaining, gruesome, mean spirited and just plain fucked up slasher film that you cant pass up – James J. Coker



HIDDEN HORROR – Shadow Builder

ShadowBuilderThe late 90s had some horror offerings worth mentioning, though the market was filled with scream knockoffs there were a few that stood out but are hardly mentioned nowadays in horror circles, Idol Hands, House on Haunted Hill remake, Sleepy Hollow, Night Flier, Kolobos and Deep Blue Sea. But there was another horror film in that time frame that is never mentioned even to those who vividly remember late 90s horror films. That is the film SHADOWBUILDER. The fun and special effects driven demon film starring Michael Rooker as a I shit you not gun toting catholic priest.

from IMDB: An evil Archbishop of the Catholic Church summons a demon to try and destroy the world. The summoners are killed, but the demon escapes to hunt down its needed victim. The victim soon turns out to be a child that has the potential to become a saint. After ravaging the town and turning its citizens upon themselves, the demon soon locates and captures his prey

Now this film is actually quite fun and Michael Rooker does a good job in every scene he is in. Its both surprising and fun seeing the man play a priest pulling out guns and shooting evil priests and shadow demons. Not only that but the film also has a X-files look to it all and once the shadowbuilder has the whole town gone crazy is when the fun really begins and the Shadowbuilder demon himself acts almost like a comic book villain with many “you will achieve this and you will not stop me” sort of lines. The only thing that might turn viewers off is the film is filled with CGI special Effects that look very dated but hey this film came out in 1998 you have to be a little forgiving for it, Especially with the special effects explosion of a ending.

So if you want a very forgotten 90s horror film about demons and Michael Rooker. Seek out Shadowbuilder, if you can – James J. Coker


MoH_TheVWord It was a damn shame that Mick Garris’s Masters of Horror anthology show only lasted two seasons. Now though many fans of the show thought the second season was not as good as the first, I highly beg to differ. The second season had terrific episodes like “the Black Cat” “Pelts” and this Ernest Dickerson directed episode about two best friends who encounter a specific kind of monster called “The V-Word”

After a boring day of playing videogames and getting into arguments with there abusive parents, two teenage friends decide to sneak into a Mortuary late at night for kicks. There they see that all is not right and someone or something is hunting them down.

Now “the V-Word” is a very simple episode with very little characters. pretty much three big characters throughout the whole episode. The two teens played pretty good by actors Arjay Smith and Branden Nadon but the real shine of the show is the “V-word” monster himself played by the terrific character actor Michael Ironside.

Aside from the good acting the episode also boast a spooky and effectively creepy atmosphere, especially when the two teens first arrive at the mortuary. The full moon, winds and leaves blowing atmosphere really set a fun spooky mood and when they are in the mortuary is when the creep factor plays in, and thats all before Michael Ironside even shows up! now dont be alarmed that there could be no gore in this episode because there is, we are treated to some good throat rippings, throat slashings and a terrific decapitation via reciprocating saw.

So the second season of Masters of horror has some good highlights and Ernest Dickerson’s “the V-word” is one of those highlights you should check out – James J. Coker


pod-2015-posterNow i know this might be considered cheating since this film just came out last month, but i honestly believe this little and tension filled creature feature will be considered a hidden gem of 2015.

POD  is about a brother and sister played wonderful by Lauren Ashley Carter and Dean Cates who go up to the mountains for a intervention for there younger brother who has locked himself into a cabin and what they believe suffers from schizophrenia. The brother tells them that a government made monster attacked him and has been tracking him and that we captured the creature inside his basement. Tensions and paranoia run high.

POD may be considered slow to some but for me the film racks up the characters and the tension and snowbound atmosphere quite well. All three actors do a bang up job and you really believe what each one is going through with there constant bickering to each other. The arguments they all have feel like real arguing among siblings in there older 20s and finally the film keeps you guessing as to if there really is some creature in the basement or is the younger brother just crazy…until the last 30 minutes. I wont spoil too much but all ill say is the last shot of the film takes you both by surprise and racks up the creep and scare factor pretty well.

POD is a little creature feature that is not that pricey to see, $7.99 on google play. So give it a chance.  – James J. Coker



Sweet Dreams, Wes Craven

wes2It’s hard to imagine a world without Wes Craven, but regrettably, earlier this week, the world has lost this giant in the realm of moving pictures.

The man who has inarguably made his mark in, and invigorated, three decades of genre pictures, from the gritty The Last House of the Left, to the incredible A Nightmare on Elm Street, to the self-aware Scream, is also the man who didn’t want to be categorized as a “horror director.”

After seeing To Kill a Mocking Bird as a boy, Craven decided he wanted to make pictures for a living. Once unleashing Nightmare on Elm Street on the world, and making a lot of money for New Line Cinema, he then got stuffed into the category because he was a very lucrative filmmaker for the genre.

Growing up in a small community, with nothing but acres of land and a VCR in the video rental days, my childhood consisted of Saturday morning cartoons and the influence of my older siblings’ horror films, including the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Freddy Krueger is so embedded in my childhood I had learned to love him just as much as Mickey Mouse or Superman.

Now appreciating my parents lack of censorship, my five or six-year-old self was able sit and watch films like Shocker or The People Under the Stairs with my father on a Friday night, after visiting the local video store.

In the mid nineties, long after the death of the slasher film, Craven and Kevin Williamson gave hope to the sub genre with the meta-slasher Scream, which kick-started a whole new franchise and inevitably rebooted the sub genre with PG-rated slashers aimed towards teenagers (although my adolescent self still preferred the R-rated slashers of the 80s).

It wasn’t until years later where I sought out his grittier early works like The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, which left the biggest impressions on me. They also made me realize that Craven’s talents were timeless and boundless. He spent four decades changing the course of horror films and influencing generations of young and aspiring filmmakers throughout.

In interviews, Craven came across as a sophisticated and gentle human being. He kept a cool demeanor and always smiled – perhaps a far cry from what some people would expect of a horror filmmaker.

He also seemed to have a great sense of humor while making cameos in films.


In the long run, we shouldn’t be too upset over Wes Craven’s passing. He gave us so much and left a legacy, and he doesn’t owe us anything. He did more in his lifetime than what most genre filmmakers do in three. Craven was a great story teller and a visionist. He wasn’t a great genre filmmaker; he was a great filmmaker. Period.

Rest in peace Mr. Craven.


~ Matthew McPhee