HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2018!

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2018!

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features a new final girl on the block who appeared in her first horror flick in 2018 and made quite an impression! With the release of Stevan Mena’s long awaited Malevolence 3: Killer, we were introduced to this fresh face in the role of the film’s heroine, Ellie!…And this actress got our attention! Without further ado…MonsterZero NJ’s Halloween Hotties rookie of the year 2018 is…

KATIE GIBSON!

Katie Gibson is new to the horror movie scene, making her final girl debut in Stevan Mena’s Malevolence 3: Killer. While she had a vocal part in Mena’s Bereavement, this is her first starring role and she made a strong impression. Her Ellie was a very likable character, resilient, smart, compassionate and when serial killer Martin Bristol comes knocking, she responds with some knocks of her own. We can only hope that if Mena continues the franchise, Katie is along for the next installment…or Malevolence 3: Killer gets her enough attention for future roles in other projects. Attention she deserves! We can’t wait to see more of this talented and beautiful young actress!

KATIE GIBSON as ELLIE in MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER!

Malevolence 3: Killer‘s brave and strong-willed Ellie, unaware evil lurks close by!

Katie Gibson gets to try on a classic slasher trope as she watches her young neighbor!

Ellie finds out something is very wrong as Martin Bristol returns to his former home.

Ellie risking her own life to protect her young neighbor, Victoria (Victoria Mena).

Can Ellie turn the tables on a killer?

Katie’s got talent and a girl-next-door presence that made her a natural for this type of role. Mena has a gift for picking good final girls, as Alexandra Daddario served final girl duties in Bereavement and hot mom type Samantha Dark was a strong heroine in the original Malevolence. Hopefully actress Katie Gibson and director Stevan Mena will both be working on new projects soon!

-MonsterZero NJ

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And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties!

Head over to the Halloween Hotties listings! to read them all!)

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER (2018)

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MALEVOLENCE 3: KILLER (2018)

(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

After Bereavement, writer/director/editor Stevan Mena decided to go back to basics with the third installment of his Malevolence franchise by not only returning to a more classic slasher format, but by independently financing the film. Tragedy struck his production, though, with only 75% of the movie finished, when actor Scott Decker sadly took his own life. With little money for re-shoots, the film went on hiatus for two years until Mena’s passion and perseverance found a way to finally finish it. Malevolence 3 now sees it’s release on home media and video streaming right in time for Halloween! 🎃

Malevolence 3: Killer opens with the final scenes of the first film…remember, Bereavement was a prequel…with serial killer Martin Bristol (Jay Cohen) escaping into the woods. Martin, in true Michael Myers fashion, returns to his childhood home town and begins a killing spree. He leaves a trail of bodies as he returns to the house he was born in, which is now home to pretty student and musician Ellie (Katie Gibson) and her roommates Tara (Kelsey Deanne) and the vivacious Lynn (Alli Caudle). Drawn to the three girls, Martin begins stalking them, killing anyone who crosses his path. All the while Agent Perkins (Kevin McKelvey) is hot on his trail in hopes to stop Martin before he kills again.

Malevolence was a solid slasher homage giving us elements that evoked both Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Bereavement was something all it’s own with a portrait of a deranged killer (Brett Rickaby) teaching his grim trade to kidnapped little boy, Martin (Spencer List). With the third installment, Stevan Mena returns to a more traditional slasher film with the adult Martin paying his home town a bloody visit and a trio of young girls picking the wrong house to preside in. As such, Mena crafts another solid slasher flick much on par with his original. The film doesn’t quite have the emotional resonance of his creation of a serial killer prequel, though there are some scenes with Martin’s grieving mother (Ashley Wolfe) and grandmother (the legendary Adrienne Barbeau), which work nicely on that level. In most slashers if the killer’s mother is still alive, she’s usually portrayed as equally deranged, so this was a nice change and added some depth. Most importantly, the film does do what it’s supposed to do and does it well. It’s paced much like the slashers of the early 80s with a moderate burn till the last act. There is some traditional skin shown by it’s lovely cast and the kills are bloody and brutal, yet grounded, so they keep their impact and avoid the outlandishness of many other slasher franchises. Mena’s killer is effective and needs no mask to elicit chills and his prey are a likable group of girls and neighbors, so we feel for them. When that last act comes and Martin and Ellie throw down, it’s intense and bloody as Agent Perkins closes in…but will it be in time? On a technical level Mena’s shots are excellently framed, that and his cinematography evokes Carpenter and Dean Cundey in the very best way. The film looks very good for a low budget flick and except for a few shots of Katie Gibson’s hair changing length a bit, there is really no evidence the film had such a troubled production. Again, a filmmaker’s passion and perseverance found a way to complete his vision.

Cast-wise Mena hits a home run with the casting of Katie Gibson as Ellie. Her Ellie is sweet, strong and a very likable young lady. She is also tough and resilient when Martin finally moves in for the kill. She’s a great final girl in every sense of the word and even gets to play a variation of the traditional babysitter, when, thanks to Martin, her young neighbor Victoria (Victoria Mena) finds herself all alone. If Stevan Mena continues this franchise or makes another horror film, I hope he brings Gibson along. As Martin, Jay Cohen is an imposing figure. He doesn’t speak, but isn’t hidden behind a mask, so the actor has to display his cold blooded-ness with only his eyes and facial expression and he does so very well…and remember, Martin also has congenital analgesia, so he can’t feel pain. Kevin McKelvey returns for his third go as Perkins and fits the mold of the “Dr. Loomis” of the film. He’s tough and strong, yet there is also compassion, as he recognizes that in some ways Martin is just as much a victim as he is a killer. This touch helps Perkins avoid being a stereotype. Barbeau is effective in her few scenes as Martin’s grandmother, as is Ashley Wolfe returning as Martin long-suffering mom. In support, Alli Caudle and Kelsey Deanne are likable as the saucy Lynn and studious Tara, respectively and it is sad Scott Decker was not able to complete his role, as Agent Roland is a likable character with, unavoidably, too little screen time. RIP.

Overall, this was a solid slasher and another example of Stevan Mena’s love of the genre. IMO Bereavement is one of the best horror films in the last ten years and Mena wisely doesn’t try to replicate it. Sequel instead returns to basics to display the results of Graham Sutter’s (Rickaby) work in Martin. It has a moderate pace echoing it’s influences and delivers the goods from some bloody kills to a resilient and very endearing final girl. Mena overcame some heavy obstacles to complete his trilogy and one hopes the trilogy becomes a series and Malevolence 4 will be a smoother production and come sooner than the eight years between these films. Mena is yet another filmmaker people need to be talking more about and another example that you can get your film made!

F.Y.I. Malevolence 3: Killer is available for streaming on Amazon and iTunes, or you can order the complete trilogy on Blu-Ray from Amazon.com and Walmart.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 knives!

 

 

 

 

 

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THE MALEVOLENCE 3 TRAILER HAS ARRIVED!

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Over two years ago disappointing news came for fans of writer/director Stevan Mena and his Malevolence and Bereavement films. Due to the tragic death of a major cast member, production was halted with only 75% of the film completed and a lot needing to be re-shot. Recently, Stevan Mena was able to complete production and now the film is finished and a trailer has arrived!

-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Stevan Mena/Youtube

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BREAKING NEWS!… STEVAN MENA FINISHES MALEVOLENCE 3!

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Over two years ago disappointing news came for fans of writer/director Stevan Mena and his Malevolence and Bereavement films. Due to the tragic death of a major cast member, production was halted with only 75% of the film completed and a lot needing to be re-shot. Recently there seemed to be movement on the Malevolence 3 Facebook page and IMDB updated their Malevolence 3 page to list it as “completed”. As a big fan of the first two films, MonsterZero NJ reached out to director Stevan Mena himself to get an answer…and here is that answer directly from the keyboard of Stevan Mena!…

“Hi Joe,
The rumors are true, I’ve been hard at work these past 9 months re-shooting and re-cutting the film. It’s not what it could have been if Scott Decker were still alive, but it’s finished. The budget was none so I’m doing everything myself, which is taking forever. I’m working on the trailer now. It should be done soon. We did a screening of the film and it seemed to go over well!
Thanks for checking in, and for your kind words, they mean a lot. Help spread the word!
All the best!
Stevan”

…There you have it! Malevolence 3 has been finished and a trailer is on it’s way! Awesome news!

UPDATE 10/14/18– Click HERE for my full review of Malevolence 3: Killer!

Farewell and RIP Scott Decker!

-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Stevan Mena

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TRAGEDY HALTS THE PRODUCTION OF MALEVOLENCE 3!

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The folks over at Blumehouse.com have broken disappointing news for fans of writer/director Stevan Mena and his Malevolence and Bereavement films. It appears that due to the tragic suicide of a major cast member, this film may never be finished. An unnamed actor playing one of the film’s two FBI agents in pursuit of serial killer Martin Bristol, has sadly taken his own life with only 75% of the film completed. Thus, the role would need to be recast and all his scenes reshot…something the already financially challenged final chapter in the trilogy cannot afford without major funds.
Perhaps as Blumhouse.com has broken the story, it would be wonderful if Jason Blum and Blumhouse Pictures came to the rescue! Either way, my heart goes out to the family and friends of the deceased and to the cast and crew of Killer: Malevolence 3, as this must be a crushing set-back to completing their vision after so much hard work.
The film had serial killer Martin Bristol leaving a trail of bodies as he made his way back home to where he was taken from many years before as a boy. It starred a returning Kevin McKelvey as Agent Perkins, a returning Jay Cohen as Martin Bristol and the legendary Adrienne Barbeau!

MAJOR UPDATE 6/7/18!– Click HERE to get the scoop given to MonsterZero NJ from Stevan Mena himself on the status of Malevolence 3!

UPDATE 10/14/18– Click HERE for my full review of Malevolence 3: Killer!

Some more shots from the film thanks again to the folks at Blumehouse.com

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MAJOR UPDATE 6/7/18!– Click HERE to get the scoop given to MonsterZero NJ from Stevan Mena himself on the status of Malevolence 3!

-MonsterZero NJ

Source and photos:Blumehouse.com

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25 LESSER-KNOWN or OVERLOOKED HORROR FLICKS TO ADD TO YOUR HALLOWEEN PLAYLIST!

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Need a little variety for your Halloween viewing this year? These are 25 lesser-known, overlooked or more obscure horrors from recent years that certainly are worthy of a spot on your movie playlist for the upcoming Halloween season!

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

Click on the titles here to go to the review page for the corresponding movie!

  1. BEREAVEMENT
  2. THE LOVED ONES
  3. STAKE LAND
  4. THE DEAD
  5. THE INNKEEPERS
  6. AMERICAN MARY
  7. THE LORDS OF SALEM
  8. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL
  9. WE ARE WHAT WE ARE (2013)
  10.  ABSENTIA
  11. MALEVOLENCE
  12. GINGER SNAPS
  13. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
  14. THE LAST EXORCISM
  15. THE HILLS RUN RED
  16. THE PACT
  17. LOVELY MOLLY
  18. WAKE WOOD
  19. THE AWAKENING
  20. ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
  21. THE SHRINE
  22. BABYSITTER WANTED
  23. LAKE MUNGO
  24. HAUTE TENSION
  25. HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES

Also check out my MONSTERZERO NJ’S 25 MUST WATCH HORROR FLICKS FOR THE HALLOWEEN SEASON

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: MALEVOLENCE (2003)

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Malevolence

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MALEVOLENCE (2003)

Malevolence is writer/director Stevan Mena’s throwback to the low budget horror flicks from the 70’s like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween. In fact, the film seems to be a combination of the two with a masked serial killer stalking bank robbers and their hostages in both an abandoned home and an equally abandoned nearby slaughterhouse.

The film opens in 1989 as a young six-year-old boy named Martin Bristol has disappeared. We then watch a disturbing scene of a man murdering a bound female victim in front of the captive little boy. The film then switches forward to a decade later with boyfriend and girlfriend Julian (R. Brandon Johnson) and Marylin (Heather Magee) participating in a bank robbery with Marylin’s brother Max (Keith Chambers) and partner Kurt (Richard Glover). The robbery goes awry and while they escape with the money, Max is shot and soon dies. They split up, but plan to meet at an abandoned house deep in the woods later on. Marylin and Julian go to bury Max, while Kurt is forced to abandon his vehicle and commandeers an SUV containing pretty single mom Samantha (Samantha Dark) and her teen daughter Courtney (Courtney Bertolone). They soon will all converge at the house, but the empty dwelling is not as deserted as they think. A masked killer has made the nearby abandoned slaughterhouse his home and the old home is part of his stalking ground. When Courtney escapes and is pursued by Kurt into the slaughterhouse, the vicious killer is made aware there are intruders in his domain and sets his sights on robber and hostage alike.

In the spirit of the films listed above, that obviously inspired this low budget chiller, Malevolence delivers some solid scares and suspense provided by Director Steve Mena who does well recreating a pre-Scream horror thriller…sans in-jokes and back to basics. And I really liked his no nonsense approach without all the winks, nods and pop culture references that so many of today’s filmmakers feel the need to inject into their films. That can be fun, but it’s nice to see someone go old school and take a more straightforward approach. He has a really nice eye for shots, which adds a lot of atmosphere, and is aided by some crisp cinematography by Tsuyoshi Kimoto and overall the film has a nice sense of dread and a really unsettling visual style.

His cast does well enough, too. No Oscars, but no Razzies either. Johnson provides a suitable reluctant robber turned hero. Pretty lead Samantha Dark seems to have an English accent, which sticks out since she’s playing a soccer mom from suburban P.A., but since she spends much of the film screaming or gagged with duct tape, it doesn’t distract too much. The rest are all adequate in portraying their characters and the usual cliched characterizations that populate these kind of films are avoided here by writer Mena.

Not quite a classic, but a good solid horror flick for a Saturday night fright fest. Director Stevan Mena shows some real potential and in the style of John Carpenter, who is clearly an influence, he not only writes, produces and directs, but also composed the score. His follow-up, the prequel Bereavement, really upped the ante with a horrifying look back at how Malevolence’s killer came to be.

Malevolence may not satisfy some of today’s generation of horror fans raised on the glossy, self-aware horror films of the post Scream era… and I do love Scream… but, as someone raised on the horror of the 70s and 80s, this was a breath of nostalgic fresh air and a return to a more simple and direct style of horror flick.

3 butcher knives!

malevolence rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: BEREAVEMENT (2011)

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BEREAVEMENT (2010)

This is a pull no punches horror about a young boy, Martin Bristol (Spencer List) kidnaped by serial killer, Graham Sutter (Brett Rickaby) and forced to witness the atrocities he commits on innocent women. Worse yet, Sutter needs an heir apparent to his gruesome deeds and has chosen Martin to learn his trade. The film also follows a parallel story involving a teenage girl, Allison (Alexandra Daddario), who recently lost her parents and whose path is obviously destined to collide with the ordeal of young Martin…and to say anymore would spoil an intense chiller with a truly shocking and blood soaked final act.

Writer/director Stevan Mena showed a lot of potential with his first film  Malevolence and with his follow-up, Bereavement, he shows he is living up to it big time. While a prequel to his first film, Bereavement is crafted so you don’t need to have seen Malevolence, but if you have, there are a lot of little touches and nods you’ll recognize…especially in the post credits sequence. Mena’s involving such a young child in all the violence is daring and horrifying at the same time and we share in the horror as young Martin Bristol is made to participate in his disturbed mentor’s acts. It’s even more horrifying since he is basically a good kid forced into this and not some “bad seed” which we’ve seen before. Stevan Mena keeps a feeling of dread throughout, delivers some taunt suspense and doesn’t bludgeon us with shocking moments, so when they do come, they have the intended effect. The camera work evokes John Carpenter at times, as Mena knows how to frame a shot and achieve far more with it than just making it look good. As filmed by Marco Cappeta, the film looks beautiful at times, despite the grim subject matter. Also much like Carpenter, Mena also composed the atmospheric score and edited this highly effective chiller. The gore effects are live and well executed and the lack of CGI is quite refreshing.

The cast, including genre vet Michael Biehn, performs well with Daddario making a feisty and resourceful heroine and young Spencer List effectively handling the role of Martin. Rickaby is effectively creepy as Graham Sutter, yet gives him a subtle sadness that makes him slightly more tragic than the usual serial killer portrayal. John Richard Ingram returns as Officer Riley from Malevolence and veteran actor John Savage has a small role as Ted, the father of Allison’s romantic interest William (Nolan Gerard Funk).

A delightfully down to basics and highly recommended horror film. One of my favorites of 2011… Bereavement was made in 2010 and played at film festivals till it got a proper release in early 2011. Remember to watch through the credits, especially if you saw Malevolence.

A solid 3 and 1/2 busty imperiled heroines

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