HIDDEN HORROR – SHORT FILM – Coffer

cofferSwedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg has a number of atmospheric short horror films under his belt – most notably (and viral), the 2014 Who’s There Film Challenge winner Lights Out – and they all prove filmmakers do not need a large crew, expensive equipment or even a budget to make an effective horror film. Each one of Sandberg’s productions are all beautifully lit with cheap IKEA lights and feature one character (Sandberg’s wife and frequent writing/producing collaborator Lotta Losten), including his 2014 supernatural short, Coffer.

When a lone woman begins hearing strange noises coming from her chest or ‘coffer’ one night, she investigates the box and discovers something sinister dwelling within.

Apart from the beautiful IKEA lighting (he has stated on his website, “I don’t let the
absence of budgets stop me from creating. I’ll make due with what I have.”), Sandberg also employs brilliant sound design throughout his films, which play out as characters themselves and increase the creepiness tenfold.

The director is a jack-of-all-trades, taking on all the technical roles of his productions, and the end results are more effective than studio-produced horror films as of late.

~ Matthew McPhee

And for anybody who has not yet viewed Lights Out, his viral, award-winning short film.

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HIDDEN HORROR – The Shining (April Fool’s Day Special)

shiningNow, on this very day, I know how Louis Pasteur felt when he created the vaccine for Rabies. What a fantastic discovery to be credited with. The world at that moment changed due to that random stroke of luck. Well my friends, I may have discovered something just as, or perhaps even greater than any generic disease cure. Up until now, “Hidden Horrors You Must See” has been comprised mainly of films most have heard of, yet never actually seen. Those who have actually seen them first hand are sometimes few and far between. Not until now have we brought you something from so deep within the confines of obscurity, that I’ll put a big sack of dollars on the table that I’ve just stumbled upon the next chapter in human evolution. Let alone a great damn movie. Please, stay seated, for I’m positive you won’t be for too much longer…

The film in question, is called… Okay, hold on one second. The name of this movie doesn’t sound all that threatening nor horror-ish by any regard, but trust me, it’s more than worth a look. It is called “The Shining”. It is literally one of the greatest underground cinematic creations I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing. I’m humbled by the fact that I now get the chance to introduce all of you to its majesty. In this movie, a family moves into a giant hotel when Jack Torrence, the father, gets a job as the caretaker during its off-season. Jack is played by Jack Nicholson(most people know him from The Departed and for the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special). He and his family, comprised of a small psychic child named Danny and Olive Oil, arrive at the Overlook Hotel and are greeted by its chef, Dick Halloran. The chef, who sounds a lot like Hong Kong Phooey, offers Danny some ice cream with his brain. Creepy. He then explains to Danny that he shared a telepathic ability with his grandmother when he was young. They called this ability, “shining”. Just so you know, that’s why the movie is called “The Shining”. After Dick leaves, the family begins to live their normal lives. However, over the course of their stay, Jack begins to slowly drift into madness from not just the solitude, but from ghosts!

After being persuaded by a phantom bartender to unleash his true power(possibly a reference to Dragonball Z)and becoming borderline Emily Rose possessed in the process, he tries to off his family by any means necessary. Once Shelley Duvall realizes her husband has written the most redundant novel of all time, she hits him over the face with a bat and locks his demonic ass in the freezer. But, just as a huge plot twist occurs, he escapes from his frost bitten tomb. Chasing his family through the giant hotel, axe in tow, Jack won’t let any number of Johnny Carson allusions slow him down from going Tin Man on his pack. Danny summons Dick to come and fight with them, but Jack axes him why he came back before he can be of any use. Danny then leads his fiendish father into the old heart of a hedge maze. Here, he outsmarts his disillusioned dad and leaves him to chill out while Danny and Olive snowmobile it back to civilization.

The Shining is a terrific example of how arthouse and horror can truly meld together in one epic demonstration, without either aspect overpowering the other. But while on this subject, can I just point out how amazingly shot this film is? Seriously, this director(Stanley Kubrick)knows his stuff. Every shot is meticulously crafted for perfect symmetry. It’s as if every landscape is treated like Olivia Wilde’s face. Not a single element is off point. It’s as if he filmed everything over 100 times or something until he got it right. Not that he did that or anything, but i’d seriously believe it if you told me otherwise. I also find it weird how his use of back drops and color seem to conflict with the how you’d think a hotel would actually look. This whole Native American looking theme just seems out of place… Seriously, if you don’t have a deeper meaning for how you dress your set, just keep it believable, jeez… Yet, for something so original, even as an adaptation, I can’t whole heartedly say it was a stand alone piece. This film is apparently a prequel to Mick Garris’ multipart masterpiece known only as, “Stephen King’s The Shining”. I can see the similarities, but to avoid confusion or bias, I will not be covering that any further. Lastly, I think it’s safe to say that there is actually a documentary about this film! Yeah, I know right? It’s strange, but awesome to know that such an obscure piece of movie history actually had a non-fiction counterpart made for it. Sadly though, “Room 237” mainly just talks about Apollo 11, which I’m sure has nothing to do with “The Shining”, nor those involved.

Hopefully we will see The Criterion Collection pick up this lost film in the future, as it truly needs an audience. No fooling, It’s blasphemy knowing it may not ever get the royal treatment though. Sad days my friends. Well, that’s that as they say. My stay here at the Overlook Hotel is complete, so before I murder my family in a fit of rage, I’d like to say; Bye, thanks for reading and that I hope this fine April 1st brings you all a fresh new start.

– Sterling “The Spork Guy” Anno

HIDDEN HORROR-SHORT FILM-My Sweet Satan

hdUnderground filmmaker and genius Jim Van Bebber is one of the most brutal and heinous filmmakers there are out there today. While he made a full length movie (The Manson Family), his short are incredible and in this 1994 short film ”My Sweet Satan” Van Bebber writes, directs, and plays the lead role in one of the most nastiest films that captures ‘Satanic Panic’ era. This film is based on the story of the drug addicted, Devil worshiping, murderer teenager named Ricky Kasslin.

Ricky Kasslin (Van Bebber), is a drug using, devil worshiping heavy metal fan, with a really weird hair cut. He is known in his area as ‘Ricky the Acid King’, and gives other young adults free drugs. Ricky is almost a kind of Mansonesque kind of person and he has a lot of influence on those in his inner circle. His days are endless hanging out with his friend Jimmy, doing drugs, sacrificing a chicken (don’t worry, its not real) partying and worshiping the devil. However, one of Ricky’s friends steals from him leading to one of the most brutal, nasty and gory on-screen murders.

I know this is just a 20 minute film or short film, but you can tell that Van Bebber put a lot of effort into and it the end result is a well crafted heinous piece of underground cinema. Van Bebber is extremely talented and versatile and has starred in most of his films. He has also directed music videos for bands such as Pantera and Superjoint Ritual and Necrophagia’s home video ”Through the Eyes of the Undead”.  However, he has an extreme and abrasive film style that is too extreme for Hollywood and that is why he is such an underrated director. But believe me, he blows all the other mainstream horror directors out of the water, and his films are usually shot on a low budget with a lot of creativity and his films have a Grindhouse kind of vibe to them.

So, if you want a nice piece of extreme and nasty horror, this is totally for you. Some horror fans that are used to gore are shocked and disgusted by the murder in the finale of this film, as it definitely packs a disturbing punch. Chances are, this title will become one of your top movies once you have seen it, even if it is only 20 minutes long.It is a pretty accessible film too. Just google it and you will be able to see the film in its entirety for free.

-Dakota Bailey

HIDDEN HORROR FOR HALLOWEEN-The Beyond

The_Beyond_original_PosterWhen it comes to Italian horror or extreme gore films there is no denying Lucio Fulci or what he brought to to table in terms of gross factor and pushing the boundaries of gore. Some consider his masterpiece to be “Zombie 2” , but some consider it “The Beyond”. If you are in the mood for some extreme gore this Halloween, or great Italian horror, then this movie is the perfect film for you.
  The film starts in 1927 Louisiana. A mob of angry people come to a hotel and brutally beat a man with chains they call a warlock. They then take him to the basement of the hotel and brutally beat him some more and crucify him! Fast forward to 1981, the same hotel has been inherited by a woman named Liza, who is from New York. She proceeds to remodel and reopen the motel. Little does she know that the beneath the hotel lies a portal to hell, and her renovating the hotel has opened it. Liza then meets a mysterious blind woman named Emily and her dog. Emily then gives Liza morbid premonitions about the motel, which Liza dismisses. Meanwhile, people working on the motel begin having mysterious deaths, and Liza begins seeing a mysterious book titled ”Eibon” that mysteriously vanishes after she sees it. As the film progresses, zombies begin to rise from the grave and things do not get better for the characters as the film leads up to the ultimate gore soaked finale.
  Lucio Fulci pulled out all the stops on this movie, and there are several iconic gore scenes, such as when Emily’s dog brutally kills her by biting and ripping out a huge part of her neck, zombies head’s getting graphically blown off by guns, faces melted by acid, eyeballs gouged and a man being graphical eaten by tarantulas, and more! This film is pretty atmospheric as well, and that is a plus. When it was released theatrically in Britain, they had several of the good gore scenes cut out, and of course this film was put on the video nasty list. So do not watch this film if you do not like hardcore gore films, because that is what this film’s appeal is. But if you love gore or Italian horror ( Italian horror fans should have already seen this one) then this is the movie for you. While this film is famous amongst hardcore horror or gore fans, it is not known by the mainstream, therefore making it a hidden horror.
   This film was also released under another name called ”The Seven Doors of Death”, and that probably confused horror fans.Before Grindhouse Releasing (the late Sage Stallone’s movie company) released it on DVD, it was very hard to find. It was only available on rare VHS tapes and Beta (and that sucks). But fortunately Grindhouse released it on DVD and it came with a load of special features making it well worth the price. So this Halloween, if you want to see one of the goriest film ever made, then you must see this one. Enough cannot be said of how extreme this film or its gore is.
                                                -Dakota Bailey

TERROR TV FOR HALLOWEEN-NIGHT GALLERY-Pickman’s Model

night galleryRod Serling’s “Night Gallery” featured many interesting episodes.A few were based on the tales of H.P Lovecraft. For this entry I’ll be taking a look at one of the Lovecraft adaptions called “Pickman’s Model”.

The episode tells the story of Lovelorn Mavis Goldsmith, an aspiring artist. She is taking art classes given by a mysterious man. The teacher tells his students to paint what they see and he paints portraits of a grotesque werewolf like beast. He then gets fired for his unusual way of painting and Lovelorn decides to pursue him even though he tells her not to. She then goes to his house to return a pairing of his he left behind…Only to be in for an ugly surprise.
While all “Night Gallery” episodes are great, there are a few factors about this one that make it raise above the average episode. First is they take an H.P. Lovecraft tale and turn it into a= half an hour episode but sill make an excellent Lovecraft adaption. Lovecraft tales are always pretty complex and they still manage to pull of a decent adaption in a short amount of time. Second, the creature in this episode is pretty ugly and is very realistic for the 70’s. I would say that the creature is pretty similar to the demon in “Curse of the Demon”.
So this Halloween, if you decide to watch an episode of ” Night Gallery”, and are overwhelmed by all the episodes to choose from, choose this one. It is a great one to watch, especially for the Lovecraft fan who wants to see a great adaption of one of his tales. This episode, (along with The Return of the Sorcerer) is a great episode to watch if you are new to ”Night Gallery”.
                                                   – Dakota Bailey

HIDDEN HORROR – The Slayer

The_SlayerEvery horror fan knows that the early 80s was the slasher movie boom, Countless slasher movies came out during that time to the point its difficult to keep track of all of them. One of those slasher movies in that explosion was a little film called The Slayer, a little obscure slasher film that went completely under the radar at the time and is sadly completely under the radar to horror and slasher movie fans now. And that is quite a shame because out of all obscure slasher movies to come out of the early 80s, the Slayer has to be one of the most atmospheric ones.

A couple along with the wifes brother and his wife travel to an isolated island retreat for some long awaited rest and relaxation, but the wife suffers from recurring nightmares of being chased by a maniacal monster around the island and of nightmares of the others being killed. But she soon realizes that the dreams are actually premonitions of things to come. And it is not very long until the Slayer begins to kill his victims one by one.

Now even though the Slayer has pacing issues and a low body count, it makes up for in a good music score, a cool ghoulish looking monsterious maniac, and terrific atmosphere that blends two different kinds of atmosphere very well. During the daylight scenes in the movie it has very warm, Summerlike Beachfront atmosphere while during the night scenes it has a very stormy “old dark house” style atmosphere. So seeing these two different kinds together is quite an interesting blend. Almost making the film perfect to watch in either the Summer or Autumn. Also another noteworthy thing about the film is that here is a early 80s slasher film that to a surprise does not have dumb fun loving teens as victims but instead grown ass adults who somtimes get into bickering arguments with there signifigant other as would any older couples would, so its a good change from the usual partying teen that your just waiting to be killed.

So if your glossing over all the many MANY slasher films from the 1980s and come across the Slayer, please dont overlook it as so many horror fans have, give it a chance and enjoy one hell of a atmospheric little slasher movie that can be enjoyed in the Summer or the Fall. – James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORROR – The Wild Man of the Navidad

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Here is one for all you horror fans. You probably missed this IFC Films title, which came out a few years ago. It’s a wonderful 70’s style throwback to films like “The Legend of Boggy Creek.”

“The Wild Man of the Navidad” is a film about the legend of the Wild Man, a beast man creature thing that inhabited the wilderness near the Navidad river in South Texas. Dale S. Rogers, the man who owns a piece of said land ends up leasing it to hunters due to financial desperation, not knowing the full danger of how menacing the Wild Man really is.

What really shines about this film is it’s creepy unsettling southern style atmosphere, a sort of unsettling deep south atmosphere similar to other 70s classics like the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The Legend of Boggy Creek.” I mean the atmosphere in this film is practically dripping down your throat. Oh and don’t worry gore hounds, the Wild Man does kill a number of southern folks, with blood and pieces of meat going here and there.

If you’re in the mood to watch a grimy unsettling southern style horror film but don’t want to watch Texas Chainsaw or “The Legend of Boggy Creek” give “The Wild Man of the Navidad” a chance. If you enjoy chainsaw and Boggy Creek then you’ll enjoy this Wild Man.

-James J. Coker