HIDDEN HORROR FOR HALLOWEEN – The Roost

23 roost_posterSo close to Halloween dear Horrorfiends! so why not a little known horror movie from horror director Ti West that takes place on Halloween, it is the Showtime channel Produced slow burn but equally nostalgia inducing THE ROOST

Before the main story begins we are treated to a terrific beginning showing the whole movie to be a old black and white late night “creature-Feature” Television showings with cheesy but cool cobwebs, Gothic corridors and a creepy horror host played by Tom Noonan, then the main story begins which is about four friends on there way to a wedding on Halloween in the countryside, but they are attacked by infected bats that when they bite you you turn into ravenous zombie like things.

Now since this is a Ti West movie one has to expect it to be slow burn…and it is but though this film is slow burn it has a good amount of fun and creepy moments. Ti West does a good job creating a sense of isolation for our characters through bright light that shines on them about complete darkness surrounding everything else. The pitch black darkness that surrounds them constantly gives a creepy and isolated vibe. Also when the bat and zombie attacks happen they are furious and fun.

But the best aspect of the whole movie is actually the Creature Feature horror host segments in the beginning and end. They give such a profoundly old school tone to it that one cant help but smile at…But the ending horror host segment takes a left turn, turning into a rather unsettling and creepy as hell POV style horror with a good jump scare to top it all off. It is a left turn that is completely unexpected and took me off guard.

So here is a little obscure mid 2000’s horror movie perfect for Halloween that usually goes off everyones radar this time of year, check this one out and give Ti West’s early stuff a chance. – James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORROR FOR CINCO DE MAYO – Cementerio Del Terror

Cemetery of TerrorHappy Cinco De Mayo horror fiends! a day which white people try to be mexican and to mexicans its just another day. Now if you are looking for a mexican horror movie but dont want anything with mexican wrestlers and want something a little more gory and ghoulish then ive got just the obscure mexican horror movie for you. A “hidden horror” that is hardly talked about even in the horror community, it is the 1985 slasher-haunted House and cemetery zombie hybrid film “CEMENTERIO DEL TERROR” or Cemetery of Terror in english.

from IMDB: A professor suspects that a vicious killer may have discovered a way to return from the grave and continue his violent spree. His fears are proved true when a group of teenagers decide to pull a Halloween prank by stealing the killer’s body from the morgue. When the teens recite an incantation from an old magic book over the corpse, it begins to come back to life, along with all of the bodies from the nearby cemetery.All the while three children trick or treating are terrorized by all the bodies that have now risen in the nearby cemetery.

Now if you go into this movie with your expectations just a little lowered you will probably have a good time with this one. It Features incredibly dumb teenage victims that give makes the Friday the 13th series victims look smart. Surprisingly the film is filled with a good amount of gore as the resurrected and very Charles Manson looking slasher kills the dumb teens one by one with the Haunted house and then we are given another storyline of the three kids being terrorized by all the rotten zombies in the cemetery! so its goes from a haunted house movie to a slasher movie and then into a zombie movie! Needless to say amidst some of the bad points this film quite a fun piece of 1980s mexican cheese or should is say queso. Either or if you want a fun mexican horror movie that jumps from one sub-genre to another this Cinco de Mayo then seek out “CEMENTERIO DEL TERROR” and enjoy. – James J. Coker

HIDDEN HORROR- Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

slideshow_1001767362_children-play-dead-thingsIn the horror community Bob Clark, the same guy who made “A Christmas Story,” is best known for “Black Christmas.” However Clark made other horror films that are very interesting and tend to get overlooked. For this entry I’m going to discuss his 1972 film “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” a dark, gory and very disturbing entry in the zombie genre.

A group of actors are brought to a creepy island by their jerk of a director Alan. On the island is an abandoned house and cemetery, where several criminals have been buried. Alan has a corpse dug up and performs a satanic ritual to make the dead rise from their graves. It doesn’t work, so the disappointed Alan uses the corpse for sick, disturbing jokes. An actress tries the ritual again and this time it works. The dead do rise from their graves, however they are hungry for flesh so the actors take refuge in the house. Unfortunately the zombies overpower them.

It may sound like a typical zombie movie but it isn’t. One aspect that separates this film from others is there is no hero. In addition things just get worse and worse for our characters, to the point where there is no silver lining for them. Also the way Alan interacts with the corpse he digs up is very disturbing, it reminds very much of “Nekromantik.” It was a disturbing film for time and is quite frankly still disturbing today.  In addition the foggy, mysterious island and cemetery make for a perfect for horror movie atmosphere. There is not a modern horror movie I have seen that can match the vibe of this film. Composer Carl Zitter’s score deserves mention as well.

The most impressive aspect about this film though is that it was made for only $70,000 and shot in two weeks. Watching the film you wouldn’t think that it was made for that relatively low amount of money. Just goes to show creativity will beat budget any day.

I highly recommend this film, especially if you are a fan of zombie movies. Sleazy, dark and a perfect representation of ‘70s horror.

PS: If anyone wants a recommendation for a really cool and hardcore heavy metal band check out Superjoint Ritual, they were a bad ass band. While no longer together they put two fantastic albums, which kill modern rock and generic fake metal bands,”Use Once and Destroy” in 2002 and “A Lethal Dose of American Hatred in 2003.” If you love ass-kicking heavy metal these guys are worth your time. RIP Superjoint Ritual.

-Dakota Bailey

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HIDDEN HORROR – Pontypool

Pontypool‘60s experimentalist Andy Warhol garnered his fame by utilizing the repetition of an image or idea until it had lost all meaning. This technique is still used today, though to a lesser extent, and its ideology can still be found in many contemporary forms of media. The film currently under the spotlight being a prime example of such. Based on the novel “Pontypool Changes Everything”, Bruce McDonald’s 2008 film “Pontypool” is the minimalist story, and a unique take on one of the most popular sub genre’s in horror, of a talk radio show staff’s gruesome experience as they live through their last day on the air.

Grant Mazzy (Stephan McHattie) is a much, much less sociopathic version of Alex Jones, with a philosophy that pissing off the listeners of his art form is the quickest route to building the strong following such a personality needs to thrive on. This could easily double as the filmmakers own voice being spoken through his on-screen surrogate. His semi-conservative producer Sydney (Lisa Houle) is not too fond of his brutal honesty and fear mongering tangents as he exaggerates every tidbit of information, from gridlock traffic to missing animals in the community. It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and while being fed material to speak about through the news wire by in-studio air receptionist Laurel-Ann (Georgina Reilly), a dark series of events begins to play out, leading up to what “sounds” to be the start of a zombie apocalypse. However the film takes the extra step as to hold itself back from becoming the regular outbreak film, as only the auditorial sense is given the gift of viral pleasure.

The thing that makes life so interesting is the mystery that engulfs every aspect of it. Therefore, hearing the overwhelmingly detailed step by step descriptions of a zombie apocalypse without seeing the catastrophe dead on (pun intenDEAD) will always add a greater effect. As the radio crew listens in on the events as they play out in real time, we see not only the purest, most recognizable form of fear, but the on-screen representation of a terrified horror movie audience as they attempt to make it through the experience first hand.

As the narrative moves forward the viewer soon learns the cause of this new form of viral outbreak is not spread through the blood or the air, but through the English language. With each person (or at least each person residing in Pontypool) equipped with their own “host word,”  and each world revolving around the aspect of love and affection, the very mention of this unique word will soon send the victim into a jumbled mess of hysteria, eventually leading them to eat your face, Florida style. By being a radio host that everyone in the town listens to it’s quickly understood that Grant could be a major reason for everyone dying. The only successful alternative to this being the silent treatment.

Now this film, like many others before and after it, shares and owes quite a bit of its meaning to the undead films of George A. Romero, due to the fact of it being shrouded in metaphor (and I mean drowning in it!). On the topic of double meanings, trust me, this film has it all; People as slaves to the radio, dependency on the opinion and view of others, the influence people have on each other through powerful language, the positive aspects of a society embracing unfamiliar cultures, the mass acceptance of killing and death in modern civilization, it’s all here folks! Above all however, the film really likes to focus on the meaninglessness of words, that when repeated so often, have no real value underneath their exterior. Or, words that should mean something, but are only shared in the most shallow of ways.

By taking place on the most superficially emotional day of the year this last hidden ideology gains the most drastically powerful representation of them all. However the film does a great job at finding clever ways to disguise its key plot beats that reveal its metaphoric connections to the corporate dollar store novelty that is Valentine’s Day. Thus making it oh so appreciated when one with a questioning or negative view towards the tradition comes in tune with it. Moreover if the existential reinterpretation of vocal meaninglessness is the true star here, then that pay-off of “curing” people of their “zombified” state is next in line. By actually kissing and loving someone as opposed to showing the act of love through a card or box of generic chocolates, the world can be cured of the real problem – That this yearly dogma makes no fucking sense. After all, people only love each other one day out of the year. It’s just science. Much like how you only donate to the poor on Christmas, otherwise, they’re not poor today. Right, bro?

 – Sterling “The Spork Guy” Anno

HIDDEN HORROR-Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil 1973 movie poster“Messiah of Evil” is a 1973 American film written and directed by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, the husband and wife team that also wrote the screenplay for “American Graffiti.” This is a criminally unknown horror film and one I recommend to all horror fans. Imagine “Night of the Living Dead” meets “Eraserhead” or a Mario Bava film and that will give you an idea of what this film is like.

A woman named Arletty goes to a beach town to search for her missing father. When she arrives at his house she find it vacant, however her father’s diary has been left behind. The diary states that a darkness is starting to take over the town. The residents are very strange and don’t provide Arletty with any answers, suggesting the beach town may be hiding something.

What makes this film interesting is that it’s somewhat of a zombie movie but it’s also very artsy, dreamy and atmospheric. The mysterious beach town creates the perfect horror movie atmosphere. It’s a slow burn but it builds the dread and tension throughout and as the film progresses it becomes more dream like. There is a fantastic ending that you will leave you thinking and interpreting its meaning.

Overall, this is a great and unique horror film. It’s a shame it isn’t more well known because it has the potential to be a cult classic. If you are a looking for a unique, artistic and well acted film then you should definitely check this one out.

-Dakota Bailey