BARE BONES: BODIES BODIES BODIES (2022)

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BODIES BODIES BODIES (2022)

Murder mystery/slasher mash-up finds a group of friends partying in a mansion while a hurricane rages outside. They decide to play a game called Bodies Bodies Bodies where everyone draws a piece of paper, one piece selects someone as the killer while the others are potential victims. Lights are turned out and if the killer happens upon a victim, the poke them in the back “killing” them. Someone is playing for real as one of the group turns up dead. Soon fear and paranoia are flaring, fingers are getting pointed and bodies bodies bodies start piling up. Is there a killer among them…will any of them survive?

Film is well directed with a very European/Giallo flavor by Halina Reijn from a witty script by Sarah DeLappe, based on Kristen Roupenian’s story. We have a perfect set-up with a large mansion, a fierce storm to trap everyone inside and a lot of drinking and partying to dull senses and unleash inhibitions. We also have a lot of drama between characters just bubbling beneath the surface waiting to explode. We then are given the simple rules to the game which apparently gets taken far too seriously by someone…but who? The film is very effective at setting up the paranoia and the fear of the survivors and keeping the guilty party a secret even as the numbers start to dwindle, as desperate people do desperate things. It’s very entertaining and it comes to a nicely unpredictable conclusion that ads a twisted and fun dimension to the proceedings. It’s a fun and sometimes bloody flick with a nice visual style and a cool score by Disasterpeace, who did the great score for It Follows. Bloody fun slasher/whodunnit. Cast includes Maria Bakalova, Amandla Stenberg, Myha’la Herrold, Rachel Sennott, Chase Sui Wonders, Pete Davidson and Lee Pace.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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RANDOM NONSENSE: THE LAST MATINEE ON BLU-RAY!

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THE LAST MATINEE ON BLU-RAY!

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Good things came from Amazon today! One of my favorites from last year that I finally picked up on Blu-Ray! The Last Matinee is a love letter to both Dario Argento and 80s slashers. Directed by Maximiliano Contenti, from his script with Manuel Facal, South American horror finds young student Ana (Luciana Grasso) working the night shift at a rundown movie theater, where she and her father are the projectionists. While a sub-par horror flick plays to a small, disinterested audience, Ana studies in the projection booth, unaware a killer (Ricardo Islas) is stalking the theater and has started to kill its patrons. Will Ana, or any of them, make it to the end credits? (Full review HERE)

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BARE BONES: SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (2021)

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SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (2021)

Flick is a remake/reimagining and, to a degree, a sequel to the Roger Corman cult classic. Flick opens at a slumber party in the 90s where power-drill wielding serial killer Russ Thorn (Rob Van Vuuren) murders all the girls except for Trish (Masali Baduza). In present day, Trish (Schelaine Bennett) is now an over-protective mother of her own daughter Dana (Hannah Gonera), who is headed off to a slumber party of her own with friends. Needless to say Russ Thorn shows up, but the hunter may become the hunted as Dana and her friends are not the helpless victims her mother’s friends were.

Flick is written by Suzanne Keilly and directed by Danishka Esterhazy, who directed the disappointing Banana Splits Movie. This slasher remake/homage is a dull mess that tries to be contemporary and clever, but is just routine and dull and never takes full advantage of any of it’s own ideas. Making the girls survival savvy and actually luring Russ into a trap was an amusing idea, but the film defeats it’s own purpose when the ladies start to fall victim anyway to serial killer #2—and that killer’s identity is so obvious, not sure why they bothered to try and keep it a secret. There is also a subplot of a house full of boys who mistake Dana and her friends for the killers, but that doesn’t go anywhere either, as the arrival of killer #2 puts an end to that plot element. The end confrontation is somewhat effective, but at that point the film has gotten so convoluted, you really don’t care. Stick with Corman’s classic as this SYFY misfire will be forgotten before October is even over.

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: DEATH DROP GORGEOUS (2021)

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DEATH DROP GORGEOUS (2021)

Death Drop Gorgeous tells the story of a sadistic killer stalking Providence, Rhode Island’s LGBTQ+ community leaving mutilated, blood drained bodies behind. An assorted group of eccentric individuals, including a down on his luck bartender (Wayne Richard), a sleazy club owner (Brandon Perras) and an aging drag queen (Michael McAdam), all try to stay out of harm’s way, while trying to deal with their own issues and lives.

Film is written and directed by Michael J. Ahern, Christopher Dalphe and Brandon Perras, who all have parts in the film. As such, it’s a low budget effort with a visual style as colorful as it’s characters. This is the film’s strong point, as the cast try hard and do bring some enjoyable life and energy to their characters, especially the various drag queens who all want to be the star of the show. The drawback here is that the film can’t quite decide on what it wants to be. Is it a slasher? The death’s are vicious and very gory, but few and far between. The killer’s identity does make sense, though, and is a bit of a surprise. Is it a comedy? There are some laughs and some very spicy dialogue, but not enough to be an outright comedy. Is it a drama? There is plenty of drama, especially amongst these drama queens, but sandwiched between the scenes of gruesome murder, when the film decides to go back to being a slasher. As a whole, the tone is all over the place and maybe three writers and directors is why. The flick is also a bit too graphic and raunchy for it’s own good, sort of Herschell Gordon Lewis meets john Waters, but that, however, is a matter of one’s personal taste, as to whether this movie goes too far, or maybe, not far enough. Still Drop Dead Gorgeous is the type of film that could catch on amongst the LGBTQ+ audience it’s aimed at and become a cult midnight movie, which would suit it’s offbeat style just fine. You have to give these folks credit for getting their movie made and their way! Death Drop Gorgeous hits VOD on 9/10/21 and has a cameo from the legendary Linnea Quigley.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

BARE BONES: THE LAST MATINEE (2020)

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THE LAST MATINEE (2020)

South American horror finds young student Ana (Luciana Grasso) working the night shift at a rundown movie theater, where she and her father are the projectionists. While a sub-par horror flick plays to a small, disinterested audience, Ana studies in the projection booth, unaware a killer (Ricardo Islas) is stalking the theater and has started to kill it’s patrons. Will Ana, or any of them, make it to the end credits?

As directed by Maximiliano Contenti, from his script with Manuel Facal, this is a stylish and colorful tribute to the Italian Giallo flicks, especially those by Dario Argento. With its leather-gloved killer and colorful cinematography, The Last Matinee hits the mark paying tribute to those films, while also giving a few nods to the classic slasher films of the 80s, with it’s very slasher-like plot. Our rain-coated killer, is known in the credits only as Asesino Comeojos, which translates to “Eye-eating Killer.” He is very effective and let’s just say he’s appropriately named. This mysterious stalker dispatches his victims in very gory ways and the FX portraying those deaths would make Lucio Fulci proud. There are some fun chases, once Ana realizes what’s going on and is pursued, along with the few survivors, throughout the theater. The film is very moderately paced, like the movies it pays homage to, but balances that out by not overstaying it’s welcome at only 88 minutes long. There is a nostalgic and atmospheric electronic score by Hernán González and some very Giallo-esque neon cinematography by Benjamín Silva. A loving tribute that does a good job capturing the tone, visual style and feel of the films it pays homage to. Maximiliano Contenti definitely shows promise. Now available to stream on Amazon Prime.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: INITIATION (2020)

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INITIATION (2020)

Initiation is another horror with a message about inappropriate sexual behavior towards women. The slasher focuses on a college campus where girls thought to be promiscuous are marked in texts with exclamation points by predatory males. Pretty Kylie (Isabella Gomez) finds herself waking up in a male student’s bedroom after passing out during a homecoming party and not sure of what happened to her. Soon, one of the boys possibly involved, star student Wes Scott (Froy Gutierrez), is brutally murdered. While Kylie struggles with what happened to her and Wes’ sister Ellery (Lindsay LaVanchy) struggles with the murder of her brother and what he’s accused of, a mirror masked killer begins stalking and murdering students.

Flick is stylishly directed by John Berardo from his script with Brian Frager and star LaVanchy. It finds inspiration not only from contemporary themes from the #metoo era, but classic slashers like Scream, and it’s visual style, with it’s mirror masked face killer and bold neon colors, hinting Berardo may have been a fan of Dario Argento, as well. The kills are quite vicious and there is some graphic bloodshed, as the stalker uses various tools to savagely kill his or her victims. It’s a very somber slasher for it’s first hour with it’s gruesome kills few and spaced out, while focusing on the emotional turmoil of both Kylie and Ellery. It cranks up the intensity for it’s climax, where we get a reveal which works in context of the story, though isn’t a complete surprise, as, at this point, there are not too many suspects left. Overall, this is an effective and stylish slasher with a more moderate pace, until the last act, which deftly applies some very topical themes with it’s subtext of young women being taken advantage of and more concern show for the victimizer than the victim. Worth a watch on streaming outlets like Amazon Prime and has a good cast that also stars veteran actress Yancy Butler, as a police detective and horror vet Lochlyn Munro (Freddy vs. Jason), as the university chancellor, who may be more concerned with reputations than justice.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

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HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

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Five years after the events of Friday the 13th, a new group of camp counselors line up for the slaughter!

40 years ago this weekend, 4/30/81 to be exact, Friday the 13th Part 2 was released in theaters and a classic horror icon was born! Jason arrived to avenge his mother, in this installment, and thus his iconic character first came to life! HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FRIDAY THE 13th PART 2!

MZNJ PERSONAL NOTE: Saw F13P2 opening night at the Hackensack Drive-In Little Ferry, N.J.

Screen-Shot-2016-04-26-at-8.55.19-PMJason arrives to avenge his mom and horror history is made!

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Life lessons to be learned in F13P2! Fun-loving Ted (Stuart Charno) survives the movie by staying at the bar and continuing to get drunk!

-MonsterZero NJ

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COOL STUFF: THE HILLS RUN RED (2009) COLLECTOR’S EDITION BLU-RAY!

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THE HILLS RUN RED (2009) COLLECTOR’S EDITION BLU-RAY!

 

The Hills Run Red (2009) (full review HERE) is a bloody…and very 80s…slasher flick that was sadly overlooked when first released directly to DVD on 9/29/2009. It has since gained a strong and loyal cult following and now, thanks to the great folks at Scream Factory, is getting the treatment and respect it deserves!

 

As for the disc itself….

The high definition transfer of this cult favorite looks really good and wonderfully complements Ilan Rosenberg’s cinematography, as well as, the film’s unsettling visual design. The flick is presented in the original 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The colors are bright and vibrant and the images are sharp. The sound is in DTS HD 5.1 and should satisfy any home theater enthusiasts, as well as, it’s intended audience.

 

Now on to the extras….

There are some very extensive and informative extras on this disc! The special edition contains all the extras from the original DVD release, including the audio commentary and the It’s Not Real Until You Shoot It: MakingThe Hills Run Red feature.

The new stuff is bountiful. We get two new audio commentaries featuring director Dave Parker, podcaster Patrick Bromley and fan favorite filmmakers Joe Lynch and Adam Green. We get a bunch of video interviews. They start off with an in-depth look at the creation of it’s score from composer Frederik Wiedmann. We get extensive interviews with executive producer Erik Olsen, director Dave Parker and writer David J. Schow. These interviews give some great insight into the production, especially detailing Warner Brothers enthusiastically green-lighting the film after reading the script, then backtracking once they saw the first cut. This explains the short runtime and why the film was dumped unceremoniously on DVD. We get a day in the shooting of the film with, Friday the 13th, June 2008. We get a look at improve scenes shot by the cast for the character filmed segments in The Hills Are Alive…With The Sound Of Improv. The next batch of new featurettes appear to be put together from unreleased interview and behind the scenes footage during the production. These include separate documentaries each on William Sadler’s portrayal of Wilson Wyler Concannon, as well as, Janet Montgomery, Sophie Monk, Alex Wyndham and Tad Hilgenbrink playing their respective roles. After the cast, there are on-set interviews with producer Robert Meyer Burnett and production designer Antonello Rubino. Also be aware, there is a lot of unused footage from the film peppered throughout all these featurettes and a nice production scrapbook that is the icing on the new extras cake. All in all, this is a whooping selection of extras to delight the film’s fans that make this modestly priced special edition well worth the purchase.

 

The Hills Run Red (2009) may not have gotten the attention or box office release it deserved, but the folks at Scream Factory have finally given this fan favorite slasher the respect it’s due. The film looks great and there are some very extensive and informative extras involving many facets of the film’s production. If you are a fan of this film, this disc is almost certainly what you have been waiting for!

-MonsterZero NJ

HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY TO FRIDAY THE 13th!

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The woman that started it all, Jason’s mom, Mrs. Voorhees!

40 years ago today the original Friday the 13th was released in theaters and a horror classic, a legendary franchise and a horror icon were born! Sure, Jason didn’t come along as the killer till part 2, but this is the installment were his iconic character first came to life! HAPPY 40th ANNIVERSARY FRIDAY THE 13th!

-MonsterZero NJ

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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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