HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: RABID (2019)

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RABID (2019)

The Soska Sisters are back in the director’s chair after a four year absence and this time it’s a remake of David Croneneberg’s classic 1977 horror Rabid. Update finds fashion designer Rose (Laura Vandervoot) suffering an accident on her way home from a party. Her face is badly damaged and she has received severe injuries. Dr. William Burroughs (Ted Atherton) promises to heal her wounds at his clinic with an experimental stem cell treatment. It works, but there are a few disturbing side effects. Rose not only has some vivid nightmares, but the mild mannered vegetarian also starts to crave blood and meat, not to mention show violent tendencies. Even worse, any human she bites or scratches develops a mutant strain of rabies and become increasingly crazed and violent. As an epidemic spreads throughout the city, Rose tries to find out who…or what…she’s become.

Aside from directing, Jen and Sylivia Soska have written the script along with John Serge. They’ve updated the story well and have done a good job staying faithful to Cronenberg’s basic film, while taking it in their own direction, most notably in the last act. It’s one of the better remakes in a remake heavy era, one that maintains respect for the source. The film can be quite gruesome at times and there are some very disturbing moments. The FX are well done, especially in depicting Rose’s injuries and during the earlier operating sequences. The violence can be brutal, but is used sparingly, so it has impact when it comes. The last act does take things in an interesting direction, but also pays homage to Cronenberg’s penchant for body horror, while adding a Soska spin to the original story. Rabid accomplishes a lot on what appears to be a modest budget, especially when the disease spreads and the film has a strong visual style to portray it’s horrors. Also making it work very well is having a likable leading lady and sympathizing with Rose, not seeing her as a villain, is important to the story’s success. She’s never portrayed as a monster, even if she starts to believe she is one. The film is, overall, chilling and and disturbing and modernizes a forty year-old premise without losing it’s essence.

The Soska’s have a solid cast. Laura Vandervoot is really good as Rose. At first she is a meek and mild mannered woman in a cutthroat industry. After her treatment, she gains her confidence and begins wowing her prima donna boss Gunter with her work. As the side effects progress, Vandervoot gives us a very troubled and confused woman, as well as a vicious predator. We like her and have empathy for her, even when she’s on the attack. As the before mentioned Gunter, Mackenzie Gray delivers the designer exactly as one would expect someone like him to behave. He’s not a villain, just extremely demanding and not above humiliating those who he feels failed him. Ted Atherton is good as Dr. William Burroughs. He doesn’t really turn into a true villain till the last act, but at first seems like a man legitimately wanting to help Rose and provide advancements in medicine. When he reveals his inner Frankenstein, Atherton is a solid mad scientist and his villainous turn keeps any blame off the tragic Rose, who needs to remain sympathetic. Rounding out is Hanneke Talbot as Rose’s friend and one of the firm’s models and Ben Hollingsworth as a fashion photographer who has a personal interest in Rose. The Soska’s are wrestling fans, so guest appearances by former WWE Superstars Phil “CM Punk” Brooks and A.J. “A.J. Lee” Mendez are no surprise, nor is a cameo from the Twisted Twins themselves.

Rabid may not be a classic in itself, but does successfully put a contemporary spin on one. It’s good to see the Soska’s back in the director’s chair (chairs?) and back in horror, as their last film Vendetta was a violent prison/revenge drama that didn’t quite feel like a right fit for the duo. Their take on Cronenberg’s classic pays proper homage and respect, but also updates the story and does a few new things with it. It’s not quite as starkly original as their American Mary, but is still a gory, disturbing thriller that proves The Soska’s are here to stay.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 (out of 4) raw steaks.

 

 

 

 

 

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BARE BONES: KNIVES AND SKIN (2019)

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KNIVES AND SKIN (2019)

Knives and Skin is a stylish thriller with a very simple premise. When high school student Carolyn Harper (Raven Whitley) goes missing, it has a strange effect on the citizenry of a small town, especially it’s woman.

Flick is written and atmospherically directed by Jennifer Reeder, who has a very impressive visual style. This offbeat suburban tale is a bizarre story of the domino effect the disappearance of a single person has on a whole town. There are sexual awakenings, bearings of souls, questions about life, finding one’s self and even a musical number, which convey the effects Carolyn’s disappearance has on the eccentric folks that are the film’s characters, especially on her female high school peers. We the audience know where she was and who she was with, though it’s not till near the end that we find out the truth of what actually happened to her. Despite the element of mystery, it’s the journey not the result that is important here and Reeder takes us on an interesting trip indeed into the dark side of suburbia, human nature, coming of age and how we all have things hidden underneath our daily veneers. The film draws one in slowly and it’s almost hallucinogenic style is both unsettling and soothing all at once. The cast, including a very impressive Grace Smith and Kayla Carter, are all very good and Reeder makes great use of the film’s suburban Chicago locations. Christopher Rejano’s cinematography is stunning and there is a very atmospheric score by Nick Zinner. Knives and Skin has a very 80s vibe and will draw comparisons to Twin Peaks, but despite this, is still an original and effective work from a filmmaker to keep an eye on. Not for everyone, but fans of offbeat indies should definitely take a look.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: NEKROTRONIC (2019)

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NEKROTRONIC (2019)

Nekrotronic is another mash-up from the makers of the gory, fun 2014 Road Warrior/Dawn of the Dead hybrid Wyrmwood. This flick is basically Ghostbusters, meets The Exorcist with a dash of The Avengers and Buffy The Vampire Slayer thrown in. It tells the story of Howard (Ben O’Toole), who if he isn’t having a bad enough time draining septic tanks, finds out he is from a long line of necromancers who have been battling demons for ages. He also finds out his own mother Finnegan (Monica Bellucci) has found a way to put demons into the internet and use a new ghost hunting video game to unleash them, thus possessing the players and swallowing their souls. Howard reluctantly teams up with two pretty demon fighters, Molly and Torquel (Caroline Ford and Tess Haubrich) and his recently deceased bud, Rangi (Epine Bob Savea) to take mom down.

Australian horror/comedy is not quite as deliriously fun as Wyrmwood, but is still an amusing homage to some very classic movies. Flick is energetically directed by Kiah Roache-Turner from his script with brother Tristan Roache-Turner and is filled with some cool FX, tons of gore and a host of demon possessed citizens and minions. It takes it’s ludicrous plot seriously enough for us to follow along and the cast perform it with the right tone and gusto. It could have been a little tighter, currently running at 99 minutes, but overall is a good time and the Turners, once again, achieve a lot with a little. If, as a filmmaker, you are going to have fun with your film influences, this is an amusing way to go…in your face and with a blood-spattered wink at your audience. A bloody fun time, when all is said and done.

Flick can currently be found on Shudder.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: LOVE, ANTOSHA (2019)

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LOVE, ANTOSHA (2019)

Love, Antosha is a heartwarming and heartbreaking documentary on the life and career of actor Anton Yelchin. A career and life cut way too short by the tragic accident that took his life in 2016. The documentary details his growing up wanting to be an entertainer and career as an actor with interviews from his parents Irina and Viktor, along with his friends and co-stars, like Star Trek’s Chris Pine and Jennifer Lawrence. It shows a passionate young man, who was tireless in both his pursuit of his dreams and in his acting, once that career ignited. Unknown to many, he suffered from cystic fibrosis and he battled it’s effects constantly while he continually worked. Despite his ailment, he starred in 69 film and television roles, from the age of 11 till his untimely death at only 27 years-old. Garret Price’s documentary portrays a man loved by his family and co-stars, a man whose passions went from acting to directing to music and photography. The documentary is filled with interviews from many celebrities who all paint a picture of an energetic and driven young man, but also a loving, quirky and kind one that made friends everywhere he went. Yelchin is most recognized for portraying Ensign Chekov in J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot series, but showed great versatility in a variety of independent films as well. A talent sadly gone far too soon. Documentary also features narration from actor Nicolas Cage reading words written by Yelchin himself.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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WONDER WOMAN 1984 FINALLY GETS A TRAILER!

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Wonder Woman stole the show in Batman v Superman and was a hit in her first solo feature. Now Gal Gadot is back in action as the Amazonian heroine and director Patty Jenkins is back in the director’s chair. With a script from Jenkins, Geoff Johns and David Callaham, that sets her next solo outing in the fabulous 80s, Wonder Woman is going to take on arch enemy Cheetah as played by Kristen Wiig. Chris Pine somehow returns as Steve Trevor and the flick opens on 6/5/2020! Check out the fun trailer below, after the character poster gallery…

 

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube/internet

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES DEC 6-8

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend box office

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to the reviews here at The Movie Madhouse!)

1. “Frozen II” $34.7 Million

2. “Knives Out” $14.15 Million

3. “Ford v Ferarri” $6.54 Million

4. “Queen & Slim” $6.53 million

5. “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” $5.2 Million

7. “21 Bridges” $2.9 Million

8. “Playing With Fire” $2 Million

9. “Midway” $1.9 Million

10. “Joker” $1 Million

source: Box Office Mojo

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S 15 HO HO HORROR FLICKS TO ADD A CHILL TO YOUR HOLIDAYS!

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What better way to celebrate Christmas than with zombies and musical numbers in Anna and the Apocalypse.

That “other” holiday season is here, the one that doesn’t involve jack-o-lanterns, witches and goblins, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some chills and thrills. I tried to add some variety here, so, not all of them are classics…and not all strictly horrors…though A Christmas Carol IS a ghost story after all. Here are fifteen flicks to add some chills and thrills to your ho ho holidays!

(Click on the titles below the movie poster gallery to get to our reviews!)

  1. Black Christmas
  2. Silent Night Deadly Night
  3. Christmas Evil
  4. Krampus
  5. A Christmas Carol
  6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  7. Gremlins
  8. Rare Exports
  9. A Christmas Horror Story
  10. Holidays
  11. Better Watch Out
  12. Silent Night 2012
  13. Black Christmas 2006
  14. The Children 2008
  15. Anna and the Apocalypse

-MonsterZero NJ

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BOND IS BACK! NO TIME TO DIE GETS A TRAILER!

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No Time To Die is being heralded as Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 and we are getting our first look with the new trailer. Newest Bond adventure is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from a script by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Scott Z. Burns, Robert Wade and Neal Purvis. Rami Malek is our villain with Bond girl Léa Seydoux returning and Ralph Fiennes once again as M. No Time To Die opens in the US on 4/8/2020.

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube

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MARVEL’S BLACK WIDOW GETS A TEASER TRAILER!

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Sure, a Black Widow movie should have happened a long time ago, but we are finally getting a solo adventure for Natasha Romanoff and from the new teaser, it looks like it might be fun. Black Widow is set to release on 5/1/20 and was directed by Cate Shortland from a script by Jac Schaeffer, David Hayter and Ned Benson. The flick stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour.

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: youtube

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FAREWELL AND R.I.P. TO LEGENDARY FX MAN GENE WARREN Jr.

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Photo by Arnold Leibovit

GENE WARREN Jr. 1942-2019

Very sad news comes to genre fans today, from John Squires of Bloody Disgusting.com, as Oscar winning SPFX master Gene Warren Jr. has passed away at age 77. Warren worked on so many classics, with his company Fantasy II Film Effects, it’s hard to count them all. His legacy of work will live forever as will the movies his FX brought to life. Below are just a scant few of the films he worked on.

-MonsterZero NJ

Source: John Squires/Bloody Disgusting.com

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