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The MFF Podcast #156: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

November 11, 2018

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You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re finishing up our Resident Evil podcast series with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. We’ve loved talking about the Resident Evil franchise and if you haven’t listened to the other podcasts, you need to do it now. Director Paul W.S. Anderson and star/producer Milla Jovovich worked on the RE series for 15 years and we love how it all kinda makes sense. The series never became stagnant because each installment has its own personality, and took us to locations all over the world which allowed Alice to fight birds, slow zombies, fast zombies and squishy slow-moving creatures (Apocalypse is not good). In this podcast, you will hear us talk about zombie water, horrible battle plans and Alice always getting trapped. You will love it!

As always, we answer random questions and ponder who is the best upside fighter. If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

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The MFF Podcast #155: Halloween (2018)

November 6, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about the 2018 iteration of Halloween. It’s already a box office smash ($200 million worldwide and counting) and if Jamie Lee Curtis and David Gordon Green come back for a sequel they can expect truck loads of cash to be dumped at their homes. We’re fans of this movie and felt it was necessary to bring back Adam Clement who joined us on our Jerky Antics of Michael Myers podcast that was released a few weeks ago. In this podcast, expect to hear about fancy sandwiches, terrible hunting techniques and Pauly Shore.

Never stand next to windows…

As always, we answer random questions and ponder why vampires like shooting at stone statues. If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The Endless: An Inventive and Beautifully Constructed Film

November 4, 2018

Poster by Edgar Ascensao at Alternative Movie Posters

I watched The Endless several weeks ago and haven’t been able to shake it. I love how directors/writers/stars Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead built an otherworldly world that features three-dimensional characters, a lurking sense of dread and something I don’t want to spoil. I felt completely satisfied with the ending and I can’t wait to watch it again (and listen to the Blu-ray commentary) to absorb everything I missed.

The Endless revolves around two men named Aaron and Justin (the directors) returning to the “UFO death cult” they escaped from. After escaping years earlier, the two had trouble adjusting to the real world as they couldn’t find steady jobs and women justifiably ran away when they heard about their past. They go back to the cult after Aaron watches an old VHS tape and decides he needs closure, a few square meals and craft beer made from ingredients grown at the cult’s farm (I’d go back for good beer). What’s interesting is both men have totally different memories of their time at the cult’s farm and they both react differently when they go back.

Some very cool things happen in this movie.

Their is a legitimate creep factor as the duo’s paranoia builds as they become re-acclimated with the people they left behind. They know there is something very strange going on, but it’s unclear if it is malevolent or simply magical. I don’t want to spoil anything else because I loved not knowing what would happen next. I will say that it feels organic, and as their adventure continues you become more and more invested in the characters and their uncertain fates.

You also need to watch Spring. It’s a very good movie.

I like that Moorhead and Benson decided to star in the film because it saved them money and allowed them to bring in solid supporting actors like Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington and Lew Temple. Also, the remote desert setting is used as another character as the vastness and isolation of Camp Arcadia creates a sense of hopelessness and uncertainty.

If you are looking for a very good film that builds a fantastic new world you should watch The Endless.

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead have a unique relationship in one of them is the older brother while the other remains almost childlike in his life. After escaping a “death cult” the two have trouble adjusting to the real world as they can’t find jobs and women justifiably run away when they hear about their past.

They decide to go back to the cult when Aaron decides he needs closure with the place and wants a few square meals and some craft beer made from the barly at the cult’s farm. What’s interesting is both men have totally different memories of their time at the cult’s farm and they both react differently when they go back. Justin is skeptical while Aaron remains open-minded to their antics. The people at the farm are in their 40s/50s but have somehow kept their youthful look.

Their is a suitable creep factor as the duo’s paranoia builds around weird magic tricks and a craft beer that might be housing something other than organic ingredients.

The low budget aesthetic works perfectly and as Benson and Morehead focus on character and mystery in the west coast desert. I like how they decided to star in their movie which must’ve cut costs and allowed them to cast a solid supporting group of actors like Callie Hernandez etc…

Aaron discovers an angry fast-walker during one of his morning runs and finds a bloody shoe and a cargo container that seems to lift on its own. He is soon encircled by old photos and harassed by a flying shadow that may or may not be real.

They find tapes at the bottom of a lake which leads them to a funky video. I’m not sure how much I want to share because it will wreck the discovery.

A weird tag of tug of rope ensures in which the rope is seemingly tied to nothing and is capable of pulling it’s foes backwards.

The MFF Podcast #154: Apostle and Bad Times at the El Royale

November 1, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about two movies that feature ambitious camerawork, committed performances, and an island that may or may not barf blood (yep..it’s weird). Bad Times at the El Royale and The Apostle are the products of two fantastic directors (Drew Goddard, Gareth Evans) who knew exactly what they wanted (to create a quality film) and stopped at nothing to achieve their vision. Both movies feature jaw-dropping moments involving 5-minute steadicam shots, drilled craniums and devious cults. We love these movies so we did a ton of research in order to drop a whole lot of knowledge on you. Sit back, relax and listen to us wax poetically about these 2018 gems.

You need to watch Apostle, It’s gnarly.

As always, we answer random questions and ponder if islands can barf blood. If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

John’s Horror Corner: The Gate (1987), Stephen Dorff summons tiny demons in my favorite PG-13 horror of the 80s.

October 31, 2018

MY CALL: Good characters, a zany mix of special effects and scare gags, tiny demons, and decent writing make this a top pick among 80s PG-13 horror! MORE MOVIES LIKE The GateIf you want another (and an even better) non-R-rated 80s horror movie rich with story and great characters, you want Poltergeist (1982) above all others, followed by Critters 1-2 (1986, 1988). For more evil heavy metal-related movies (in theme, story or plot-device), try Deathgasm (2015), The Devil’s Candy (2015), Jennifer’s Body (2009), Queen of the Damned (2002), Trick or Treat (1986), Black Roses (1988), Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987), Hard Rock Zombies (1985) and Rocktober Blood (1984).

There was a time when I couldn’t always tell if a movie was PG-13 or R just by watching it. Being PG-13, The Gate was something I could rent from Blockbuster Video (almost 30 years ago) when I was about 10. No one ever asked your age unless it was R. This movie used to freak me out when I was young. But when I watch now, none of the super scary stuff is really scary at all. This wasn’t PG-13 instead of R in order to attract a broader audience and make more money (like The Bye Bye Man). No. This was PG-13 because this was a horror movie made for kids; the way PG-13 horror should be (more like Lights Out or Happy Death Day).

After removing a tree from the back yard, Glen (Stephen Dorff; Blade, Leatherface, Feardotcom) discovers a geode among the roots. Digging around looking for more, Glen and his best friend Terry (Louis Tripp; Gate 2) discover a sort of cavernous hole under the lawn. Naturally, weirdness ensues…

Director Tibor Takács (I Madman, Gate 2, The Outer Limits, Mansquito) crafted a fun, exciting, PG-13 horror with great characters that has remained a favorite of mine for decades. He may not have won over the critics. But I love how he infused a tired trope with fun energy. In this case, that trope is when all sorts of horrors break loose when some suburban kids are left home alone for the weekend—and end up accidently summoning demons through a portal to Hell—and, of course, they never call their parents, call the police, call for help, leave the house, or go to the neighbors’ house next door seeking safety. These kids are gonna’ handle this on their own for fear of getting in trouble.

One major mechanistic manner in which this movie deviates from the rest is that it reveals all the rules up front—and it is specific. These kids end up summoning demons largely by accident. The stars happen to be aligned, Glen gets a mean bloody splinter digging up the yard and drops it in the hole (an offering of blood), they read some ramblings on an Etch-a-Sketch (it turns out to be evil babble), some high schoolers levitate Glen, and his recently deceased dog’s body is placed in the hole (a sacrifice). Not only do we learn why and how the demons will come (before they even show up), but we also learn what they need to do (i.e., their goals and motivation) and how to banish them and close the gate (learned by heavy metal record played backwards). The journey of learning all this is done as we get to know and invest in characters more worthy of our investment (by a landslide) than we typically find in the genre.

Another major contributor to this film’s entertainment value is that the horror action starts sooner than the all-too-typical final act—often in the last 20-30 minutes. Here things kick into gear right at the halfway point. And since the characters are actually substantial and well-acted, and we spent the first half learning all the rules and consequences, the pacing wasn’t really slow in the beginning as is the case with (if we’re being honest) most of the genre. In fact, once the “horror” starts, it just keeps on coming.

This classic begins in a dream sequence with more weird stuff to come. Among the creepy gags are Terry’s visions of his dead mother, something moving behind the walls of the house, the dead dog in the bed, the monstrous hands reaching out from under the bed, the gooey-faced parent doppelgangers, awesome-looking miniature demons, a weird phone call and its melting phone, macabre mockeries of family photos, more creepy interactions with mini-demons, the man in the wall scene (which was admittedly way scarier when I was a kid), bloody writing on the walls, the eye on the hand, and yet even more tiny demon shenanigans. The greatest effect had to be the stop-motion/claymation giant demon (i.e., the Old God). I loved the way it moved and its odd morphology (i.e., several sets of eyes, limbs, tentacles).

In more than a few ways (or nods), this movie borrows from the very best non-R horror: Poltergeist (1982). Most of the death or suffering is imagined, pretty much everything turns out okay with a (sort of) happy ending, and just when you think the movie is actually over and it’s time for resolution, the crazy stuff starts again!

None of this is scary anymore, but that’s okay. It’s horror for tweens. But despite that, this movie remains fun for me! The likability of the characters, the time we spend getting to know and care about them, the diversity and abundance of effects, and the thoughtful itemizing of the causes, means and cures of their horrors all contribute to making this film a blast!

Bad Movie Tuesday: Transformations (1988; aka Alien Transformations), a mildly exploitative Sci-Horror B-movie about a gooey alien STD.

October 30, 2018

MY CALL: Every bit as silly and bad as the movie poster suggests. But this honestly is a very fun B-movie with good pacing and a lot going on, including several classic SciFi callbacks/riffs. Lots of boobage–but nothing morally reprehensible. MORE MOVIES LIKE TransformationsFor films delving deeper (and far more seriously) into STD horror, consider Shivers (1975), Species II (1998), Contracted (2013) or It Follows (2015). For more low budget Sci-Horror, check out the following Alien/Aliens rip-offs: Contamination (1980; aka Alien Contamination), Alien 2: On Earth (1980), Scared to Death (1980), Galaxy of Terror (1981), Forbidden World (1982; aka Mutant), Inseminoid (1982; aka Horror Planet), Parasite (1982), Xtro (1983), Creature (1985; aka Titan Find), Star Crystal (1986), Creepazoids (1987), Blue Monkey (1987), Nightflyers (1987), Deep Space (1988), The Terror Within (1989), Shocking Dark (1989; aka Terminator 2, aka Aliennators), The Rift (1990), Xtro 2: The Second Encounter (1991), Dark Universe (1993) and Zombies: The Beginning (2007).

This is one of those films I’d never heard of until someone posted a random movie poster image on Twitter to perk my interest. So here I am going into this movie totally blind, save that one image…

The opening score is surprisingly inspired and it feels like the opening to a family-friendly science-fiction adventure film a la Star Wars (1977). The sets are of adequate quality as well considering a humble 80s budget. But once the dialogue starts, this film pulls the veil and lets you know it’s more B-movie than “film”—and it knows exactly what it is. Because you know what? B-movies are fun!

Not five minutes into the movie and a slimy insectoid and reptilian man-in-a-rubber-suit monster is skulking around Wolfgang’s (Rex Smith; Faerie Tale Theatre) spaceship only to reveal itself as a mysterious woman (Pamela Prati; Ironmaster)—appearing on his spaceship like an interstellar stripper-gram—who gets naked right away for their sex scene. But this isn’t just any cheap gratuitous nudity. No, sir! She starts to mutate mid-coitus into a beaked monster (i.e., mostly human with a few prostheses) covered in open sores. She’s like an anthropomorphized STD! Then she disappears, as if it was nothing more than a wet dream. And like a dream, that monster’s boobs will haunt us throughout the film. No, really. Flashbacks of boobs persist… like breasty PTSD.

The future seems cool. Medical bays have drinks with colorful swirly straws, cantina-bars filled with roughian criminals, and security personnel have a Star Wars-y look to them. Wolfgang crash lands on a prison mining colony/planet (like Enemy Mine?) Hephaestus-4. This world looks a lot like a hostile world in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994).

Now Wolfgang is the horny infected with open wounds (or some malformation) on his back as he infects some woman in this penal colony. He looks like he has genital warts with an oozy discharge on his hands. This movie is gross. LOL.

Not much really happens between the opening lady/monster-sex scene and the very end in terms of special effects. There are some dumb side plots: Wolfgang agrees to help Miranda (Lisa Langlois; Happy Birthday to Me, The Nest) get off the planet; a devil-fearing priest (Patrick Macnee; The Howling, Waxwork) fears the arrival of a beast from the Abyss and thinks Wolfgang is the Devil; and miner-prisoners Calihan (Christopher Neame; Lust for a Vampire, Dracula AD 1972) and Antonia (Cec Verrell; Hell Comes to Frogtown) want to use his ship to escape their mining sentence.

That old guy’s pendant looks like a mix between Weyland Yutani and Star Trek.
And, is it me, or do these two prison miners look like two Colonial Marines?

The cheaply executed shots of spaceships feel almost deliberately comical and the dialogue is at least equally laughable. However, some shots using models were actually quite good for the time! Between the modelwork and the scoring, I feel like this B-movie received some serious care.

When he finally starts to transform Wolfgang’s hands become long and gangly like Nosferatu, he rips guts out of a goon’s back and his body pulsates and mutates. He then becomes a large, slow, clunky humanoid with a combination of scales and exoskeleton dripping in goo. His transformation reminds me of The Fly (1986). Sadly, it’s almost boring how easily this monster is defeated when it’s lit on fire. But at least it’s disgustingly gooey.

For his first and only feature film, director Jay Kamen succeeded in making a mildly exploitative B-movie. For those that care it features a typical repetitive dose of nudity, some violence against women (typical of the era), and surprisingly good pacing. I think most B-movie fans will enjoy this despite the more minimalist special effects. Sci-Horror fans delighting in cheap Alien/Aliens rip-offs will probably enjoy this even more.

John’s Horror Corner: Apostle (2018), an inspired “folk horror” Netflix original about a remote pagan cult.

October 29, 2018

MY CALL: An inspired horror film worth any adventurous film-goers’ time, but boasting the sort of bonkers ending that didn’t really work for me (more in that it didn’t fit the film, in my opinion). However, for the very same reason it may just be the change of pace you’re seeking. MOVIES LIKE Apostle: For more recent folk horror try The Ritual (2017; podcast discussion), The Witch (2016; podcast discussion), The Village (2004), The Shrine (2010), or Salem (2014-2017). For more Netflix Original horror, try Gerald’s Game (2017) or The Babysitter (2017; podcast discussion). And if you seek interesting cult movies, consider The Sacrament (2014), Sound of My Voice (2012), Faults (2014) or The Endless (2017).

Sent overseas to recover his kidnapped sister in Finland(ia?), Thomas (Dan Stevens; The Guest, Legion) assumes his way onto the island of a questionable religious leader, his zealots and his promises of extreme God-fearing serenity. In less than a day Thomas witnesses unusual domestic bloodletting habits, hints of something possibly supernatural, and generally highly suspicious goings on. The year is 1905, but it may as well be 1605 with the cult’s almost viciously medieval law.

Tending to his “Goddess”-fearing flock, the Prophet Malcolm (Michael Sheen; Underworld 1-3) is a humble cult leader down to the typical blunt tropes but performed with a rich sharpness. Unusual circumstances find Thomas quite close to the prophet… for better or worse.

A few scenes mildly harken The Descent (2005) and even The Last Witch Hunter (2015) in flavor. But make no mistake, this film written and directed by Gareth Evans (The Raid 1-2, Merantau, V/H/S 2 – Safe Haven) resembles nothing I’ve seen before. And that is its greatest strength, followed by the excellently creepy atmosphere and outstanding performances by Stevens and Sheen. The entire cast served the premise and its dark tone very well.

I’d say the first act was positively outstanding, the middle act was very engaging, and the third act fell apart (for me). It was as if this film as trying to be too many different things. Admittedly, that’s exactly what The Ritual (2017) did—and I loved it for that. This just wasn’t my flavor for some reason.

The special effects were limited to the revelations in the third act and a rather gruesome sort of death-by-torture scene that functioned as a catalyst to the dire mentality of this cult. In terms of gore and other effects, the film had all it needed or even perhaps too much—even if not a lot. This is one of those films that facilitates the wandering fears of its viewers. I kind of wish I never found out what (or why) they worshipped; leaving it to the darkness of my own imagination.

Not gonna lie—this film gets a bit deeper into crazytown than I’d prefer. And while I enjoy a good bit of crazy, I’d have enjoyed a more subtle conclusion for this particular story’s cultivation (i.e., the first 60 minutes). But that’s just me; you may like it. In fact, a few very trusted friends of mine (in terms of providing excellent horror recommendations) were big fans. So take my words with a grain of salt.

Overall, however, I thought this was an inspired horror film worth any adventurous film-goers’ time.

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