Its that time of year again when I dust off all my favorite footage that I’ve shot in the previous year and turn it into a kick ass show reel! Check out the 2014 reel below featuring footage from Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare, Huston’s Haunted Hollow, Indiana Fear Farm, The Dent Schoolhouse, Brighton Asylum, Screamworld, Tagsylvania, The Creep Haunted House Festival, and from our yet unfinished Satanic Panic short! We were very very busy in the last year shooting great video and photos! Be sure to call us about booking your event to shoot Early!! Visit our Video Services Page for details.
Let me preface this by saying, I don’t get to watch everything that comes out and I know I missed a few horror films here and there so this is by no means and exhaustive list of the best horror of 2013. Its simply the best horror films I watched in 2013 in my opinion.
The expertly shot and paced ghost story that feels like a throwback to the way film was made in the 1970′s. James Wan dives into the story head first and sets us up in a world where demonic possession and malevolent spirits are real and out to hurt us. The movie features great performances by Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, and Lili Taylor, who finally makes up for her awful appearance in “The Haunting”. Masterfully crafted shots and scares abound in what is easily the new high bar for ghost stories.
Lords of Salem:
While I’ve found Rob Zombie’s early films to be entertaining, I didn’t care for his Halloween remakes but he surprised the hell out of me with Lords of Salem. A throwback to Satanic panic movies from the 1970′s, Lords features some amazing imagery, bizarre set pieces, even crazier characters and a cthulhu-esque satan spawn being held lovingly by a nude Meg Foster. What’s not to love! The acting, by no means perfect, is the best in a Zombie film so far and story actually feels well paced and manages to not indulge in the typical “trailer-trash” talk that so saturates his previous work. It shows some real growth for Zombie as a filmmaker and I find myself actually getting excited about his next project!
While I really liked the first Insidious, I didn’t care that much for the “further” parts of the story with Patrick Wilson wandering around in a world of dead people and fighting a darth maul demon. So when I heard that Insidious 2 would focus more on the “further” world I didn’t get too excited. But the film surprised me with how good it was and how bat-shit insane some of its sequences were. It’s a weird film with Patrick Wilson spending most of the film possessed and chewing up scenery like a mad man. It also featured one of my favorite “Haunted House” set pieces ever!
Maniac is what a remake should be. The original 80′s film is an interesting sleazy movie but I doubt anyone would classify it as a classic of the genre. The remake takes the basic concept of the character of Frank and tells us his story through his eyes. the entire film is shot from first person perspective and puts the audience in the head of a killer. Elijah Wood stars as Frank, a character we only see when he looks into a mirror or has an “out of body” experience which happens a couple times in the film to punctuate what Frank is feeling. Its a concept that sounds hokey at first but somehow ends up making a run of the mill serial killer movie into something far more interesting. Plus the 80′s style synth soundtrack by French composer, ROB, is easily the best of the year!
I’m a big fan of David Cronenberg’s early films when he was at his weirdest. Now his son, Brandon Cronenberg, appears to have picked up the torch and is running with it! Antiviral is his full length film debut and its a doozy. It introduces us to a world where society has become so obsessed with celebrity that people pay to get infected with the same colds, flus, and diseases that that their favorite film star has. The film follows a employee at one of the companies that sells these maladies who infects himself with a virus that ends up killing the celebrity it came from and he has to find a cure before his time runs out. its a very bizarre film that shines a very bright light on our culture’s obsession with celebrities. I’m excited to follow the career of Brandon Cronenberg and see what strange places he takes us next!
What a surprise this movie was! The Soska twins take us into the strange world of extreme body modification in this twisted story. Mary (Katherine Isabelle) is a medical student who gets raped by one of her professors. Traumatized by the incident, she drops out of school and begins working in the world of underground surgery where she comes across some very strange characters with even stranger desires for their body. The movie stumbles a bit here and there but overall its a fascinating little film by two promising female voices in cinema.
I liked the first V/H/S but it didn’t “wow” me. So I walked into the sequel with some apprehension. A couple of the stories, including the wraparound are complete and total misses. They just suck. But the first person zombie short, “A Ride in the Park” was clever and funny, then there was the awesome “Safe Harbor” story about a film crew documenting a cult that is preparing for something very big and scary that happens that day. It’s a creative, fast paced and action filled sequence that makes the move so worth seeing. The film closes with Jason Eisner’s (Hobo with a shotgun) entry into the film “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” which feels like a bit of a throwback to movies like “the Goonies” but with far more foul language and aliens.
For a movie with a cover that looks like your typical “torture porn” dreck, Resolution cannot be judged by its cover. The film is a slow burn supernatural tale that takes place while a man tries to detox his best friend from his drug habit. As the film progresses, stranger things begin to happen and both men begin to question their sanity.
So there are a lot of movies out there that were really hated when they came out. The best example is probably Halloween 3: Season of the Witch which up through the early 2000′s was the most despised of the Halloween movies. Today it has enjoyed a resurgence and found its audience. I hear a lot of horror fans gush about it and it even received a collectors edition Blu-Ray release last year. But there’s a lot good horror movies out there that have a bad rap and I aim to give their their due.
When the Blair Witch Project came out it was a hit and there’s a lot to admire about it. The film itself is one of the fathers of our current “Found Footage” craze but that’s not what made it special. It was the marketing that made it work. But that’s an article for another day. The film studio needed to follow up the film with a sequel in order to capitalize on the first films success. I think most expected the film to just reuse the concept of the first film and have more kids go missing trying to find the truth behind the Blair Witch legend. But that’s not what happened at all.
Conspiracy Documentaries as a genre may have just jumped the shark. The Shining is considered one of the greatest horror films ever made and there’s tons of interesting real information out there about its making. I’ve been a fan of the film since watching it in high school and finally being able to comprehend what the movie was all about. There’s a lot that can be said about the movie and its content. I could debate the changes between the book and Kubrick’s vision and why he made them. Or we could discuss if what Jack is seeing is real or just a hallucination. We could discuss the behavior of the characters and why they make the decisions they make. Or a plethora of other subject the film raises. Like almost all of his films, Stanley Kubrick wanted there to be different interpretations and discussions. He wanted us to have to work to understand what he was trying to show us and in most of his films, he didn’t care if you got it or not. He made the film he wanted to make and The Shining is no different. (more…)
Vampire movies are a young persons game. Lonely emo vampires searching for meaning to their existence perfectly fits into the emotions of lonely teenagers. So I’m not really a fan of modern vampire movies because they’re just not something that I can relate to on any level anymore. But I still like revisiting some of the vampire flicks I grew up with and recently I picked up the blu-ray edition of “Vamp”, a film I remember liking as a 10 year old boy but does it still hold up?
Vamp is basically the “After Hours” with vampires. If you have seen After Hours, which is great, then you can see how that might work. Kevin and AJ are tasked with finding a stripper for their fraternity. Since Neither have a car they bring Asian stereotype #1003 Duncan (Gedde Watanabe) playing a horny nerdy loser who doesn’t have any friends. The three of them head to a seedy side of the city to find the sleaziest of stripper clubs.
They eventually end up at a club that only opens “After Dark”. AJ heads in alone first to try to chat up a stripper to take back to the fraternity. Duncan can’t stand waiting and says quite possibly the best line of the whole movie. Kevin gives in and heads inside with Duncan where they get to see a truly bizarre bit of “performance art”? If you don’t know who Grace Jones is then you didn’t grow up in the 80′s. She was a very tall Jamaican woman with very strong features that make her both very unusual and beautiful at the same time. (more…)
Oddly enough there are still a lot of movies that haven’t made it to DVD or blu-ray or were ported to DVD for a short period and are almost impossible to find today. Fright Night Part 2 is one of those movies that had never been given a proper release. If you do find a DVD you can expect to pay upwards of $100 just to get it. My desire to own the movie wasn’t that high so I went the cheap route and purchased an old VHS rental of the film.
Fright Night Part 2 is one of those movies that I haven’t watched since it was originally released back in 88′. I was 11 years old and I thought it was pretty good at the time but then again I was 11 years old. So I was kind of excited to dust off the ol’ VCR and put in the flick! If you’ve seen the original Fright Night then you’d be excused to say that Part 2 is almost a remake of the first. It begins with Charlie Brewster, now a college student who has undergone years of therapy to expunge the delusion that he killed a vampire. Now he believes that it was a serial killer and his mind just made up that he was a vampire as a coping mechanism. Ok, so Charlie is now dating a much more attractive psych student named Alex, who can speed read. Peter Vincent (Roddy Mcdowell) is still hosting Fright Night on TV and Charlie still stays in touch with him though he hasn’t told Peter he no longer believes in Vampires. (more…)
Arcade is are latest horror short filmed in conjunction with Beyond the Grave Productions under our combined “Beyond Rogue Films”. We shot this starting last spring in an all night film shoot at Bonkers PLayland AKA Saint Lucifer’s Haunted Asylum, in Flint Michigan. Its an amazing location because its an arcade that looks like its right out of the 1980′s! We found a great leading lady that fit the look we wanted perfectly and our friend Jon Shroyer came out to do some amazing blood effects! We set out to make something of a tribute to Italian Giallo films of the 1970′s and 80′s. These films were made by the greats such as Argento, Bava, and Fulci. They were often weird gory films with total breaks in logic and comprehension but they almost always featured a leather gloved killer. So check out this fun little horror short and tell us what you think!
Everything you’ve heard is true! Michael Dougherty’s long awaited, studio mishandled Trick R’ Treat is the best Halloween Movie to come out in 30 years! How this movie went direct to DVD and is not in theatres right now scaring the crap out of huge audiences is still a mystery. Did the studio really not know how to market this Halloween gem or was there another reason? I doubt we’ll find out anytime soon. But what is clear is that they mishandled one of the most original horror films I’ve seen in years. (more…)