MONSTERZERO NJ’S FINAL GIRL/BAD GIRL OF THE YEAR 2022!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S FINAL GIRL/BAD GIRL OF THE YEAR 2022!

It’s Halloween🎃!…and as it has become tradition, it’s time to announce MonsterZero NJ’s Final Girl of the Year!…an actress that has not only captured our hearts, but gotten our attention with a strong performance, in the traditional role of horror final girl!…
…and this year, our Final Girl of the Year 2022 is also our bad girl of the year too!…

So, without further ado, our winner for 2022 is…

MIA GOTH!

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Mia Goth plays both final girl and villain with an amazing dual performance in Ti West’s X and again as Pearl in its prequel Pearl!

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Mia Goth as Maxine and Pearl in X!

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Mia Goth as Maxine. A pretty young woman with big dreams and stars in her eyes!

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Mia Goth as Pearl, a lonely old woman with dark secrets and darker desires.

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Pearl is also very dangerous!

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…But so is Maxine when provoked!

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…and Mia Goth as Pearl in Pearl

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Goth as Pearl. A young woman with big dreams and stars in her eyes!

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Dreams that unfortunately get shattered!

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This brings out the worst in the young country girl!

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And a demented killer is born and so is a stunning performance!

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This year was an easy choice as Goth was simply amazing in not one but two roles, in not one but two films! As the tough porn star wannabe Maxine, and the demented product of broken dreams Pearl, she was outstanding. A third film is on the way from Ti West centering on Maxine, and we can’t wait to see it!

-MonsterZero NJ

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(And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties by simply going to our Halloween Hotties main page!)

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S FINAL GIRL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2022 RUNNER UP!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S FINAL GIRL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR 2022 RUNNER UP!

This year’s MonsterZero NJ’s Final Girl Rookie of the Year was the talented Amber Midthunder from Prey…but…there is another actress who blew us away with her impressive late entry into the 2022 horror arena in the gore-tastic sequel Terrifier 2, that opened just this October! She plays Sienna Shaw a girl who catches Art the Clown’s (David Howard Thornton) attention in the worst way. She was so awesome in her very first feature horror film that we had to create a runner up spot to give her a shout out! So here is MonsterZero NJ’s Final Girl Rookie of the Year runner Up…

LAUREN LaVERA!

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LAUREN LaVERA as SIENNA in TERRIFIER 2!

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Sienna has gotten Art the Clown’s attention in the worst way!

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The sadistic clown even haunts her dreams turning them into nightmares!

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Sienna may be dressed as a warrior this Halloween, but she’ll have to fight like one, too!

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What horrors await Sienna on this All Hallows Eve!?

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What cruel fate does Art have in store for her?…

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…or SHE for HIM!!!

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Lauren LaVera! A beautiful and talented actress we want to see more of!

Photo Credit:  Joe Kelly/via IMDB

There’s no telling where this beautiful and talented actress will show up next! The surprise theatrical success of Terrifier 2 has gotten her much deserved attention and she appears to have a few projects currently in the works! Hopefully she’ll return to the horror soon, as she made a kick-ass final girl!

-MonsterZero NJ

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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BARE BONES: TERRIFIER 2 (2022)

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TERRIFIER 2 (2022)

It’s a year after the Miles County Massacre and Halloween approaches. Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) is resurrected and now accompanied by a demon (Amelie McLain) in the form of a murdered girl, who is also dressed just like Art. This malevolent mini-me points Art in the direction of Sienna Shaw (Lauren LaVera) and her younger brother Jonathan (Elliott Fullam), whose deceased artist father seemed to have predicted the coming of the homicidal clown. Art leaves a trail of brutalized and bloodied victims as he and Sienna are destined to collide.

Gruesome slasher sequel is written and directed by Damien Leone who also did the editing and the abundant gore FX.  It’s not what could be called a fun slasher as Art’s kills are cruel and sadistic and his victims are kept alive as long as possible as he mutilates and brutalizes them. It can be very unpleasant. The gore is practical make-up, and the FX are quite impressive and effective. Even one like myself who has been watching horror for over fifty years winced a few times. The film didn’t need to be 138 minutes long but also didn’t feel like it was over two hours and Leone wisely uses the time to let us catch our breath, so all the brutality remains effective. It is his best flick yet and he is honing his craft with some disturbing sequences, and a very impressive visual eye. The are some supernatural elements that go unexplained but do work and the abandoned carnival funhouse showdown is quite brutal and effective. Thorton’s Art is creepy as ever, yet can still make you chuckle, and Lauren LaVera makes a really strong and resilient heroine. Sienna is beaten, whipped, stabbed and yet keeps giving Art all she’s got. Complete in her armored angel Halloween costume, she makes quite the opponent for the crazed killer clown. Overall, this is a sick and twisted slasher made by a director who is showing some definite growth with each film and with a really strong final girl/leading lady in Lauren LaVera.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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RANDOM NONSENSE: X AND THE BATMAN ARRIVE ON BLU-RAY!

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X AND THE BATMAN ARRIVE ON BLU-RAY!

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Photo on 5-24-22 at 7.42 PM

Good things came from Amazon yesterday! Two of my favorite movies arrived on Blu-ray. X is simply my favorite horror so far this year and a film I find gets better with repeat viewings. The Batman which has many horror film elements and even starts out on Halloween night!

 

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MonsterZero NJ

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TI WEST’S HORROR FLICK “X” IS COMING TO BLU-RAY and DVD!

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TI WEST’S HORROR FLICK “X” IS COMING TO BLU-RAY and DVD!

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Indie director Ti West’s (House of the Devil, Innkeepers) new film horror film X has already set a release date for Blu-ray and DVD! The film will arrive on home media on 5/24/22 and is already available for pre-order on Amazon! The flick stars Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, and Scott Mescudi!
“In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.”

 

Here’s the link to the Amazon pre-order page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09VJDBF1V/ref=ox_sc_saved_image_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Joblo.com; Amazon

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REVIEW: X (2022)

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X (2022)

Latest indie horror from A24 takes place in 1979 and finds sleazy Texas producer Wayne (Martin Henderson) setting out to make a porn film with stars Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), Maxine (Mia Goth), and Jackson (Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi) along with their two-person film crew RJ (Owen Campbell) and his girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega). They travel to the remote farm of strange, elderly couple Howard (Stephen Ure) and Pearl (also Mia Goth), who turn out not to be the harmless old folks they seem, and the porn film soon turns into a horror movie…for real.

X is written and directed by Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) and is basically The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Debbie Does Dallas. It is a good, old-fashioned, grindhouse style flick with lots of sex, gore and flesh crawling moments. X starts out like most of West’s flicks with a slow burn, but one where we start to feel from the very start that something is not right. This prevailing sense of dread builds as things get weirder and weirder and West makes us constantly feel that a threat is soon to emerge, no better symbolized then by the gators lurking about the couple’s property. When the blood finally starts to flow, it’s prosthetic gore and there are some nasty kills to characters we’ve gotten to know and like. Even sleazy Wayne has a good-ole-boy charm that’s hard not to endear to. This makes it all the more impactful when the film crew starts to fall to various sharp objects, shotguns and the before mentioned gators. It’s scary, nasty and in between the violent moments, there are some that will certainly make your skin crawl. The sexual, undercurrent the film has also gets very disturbing…and that’s by design. This is simply West’s best horror since The House of The Devil, and one of the best horrors so far this year. It’s sexy. sleazy, scary and gory…what more do you want from a horror flick!?

Director West has a good cast in support. Henderson gives Wayne a charming appeal that despite his sleazy nature and willingness to exploit his girlfriend, Maxine, makes him a likable rogue. As Maxine, Mia Goth deftly balances a young woman with both a strong sexuality and a gentle sweetness that really makes her character work. Snow is delightfully sassy as Southern belle and porn star Bobby-Lynne, who is no dumb blonde. She’s using her natural talents to make a better life for herself. Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi is also solid as ex-Marine and war veteran turned porn star Jackson. He’s fun and has a nice heroic side. Jenna Ortega is once again impressive as “church mouse” Lorraine who seems sweet and virginal but may not be as innocent as she appears. Owen is likable as filmmaker wannabe RJ, and Stephen Ure and Mia Goth are very creepy—especially Mia Goth—as the elderly Howard and Pearl. A good cast.

Overall, this is one of West’s best films and a refreshingly, old-fashioned horror that leaves all the overdone meta/retconning crap behind. It’s scary, gory and has some moments and kills that will legitimately make your flesh crawl. It has a sexual undercurrent that goes from sexy to disturbing and pays homage to the classic grindhouse era horrors of the 70s, while yet being its own thing. Definitely one of the best horror flicks to come out so far in 2022 and one of West’s most effective horror flicks yet. Stay through the credits!

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) knives!

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REVIEW: SCREAM (2022)

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SCREAM (2022)

Latest sequel finds Woodsboro once again the target of someone wearing the Ghostface mask. This time it’s Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), who is allowed to live only to lure estranged sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) back to Woodsboro. Why is Ghostface so interested in Sam? Could a dark secret trailing back to the original Woodsboro murders have something to do with it? Sam and her friends have an edge though, as Dewey (David Arquette), Gail (Courteney Cox) and Sydney (Neve Campbell) have vowed to stop Ghostface once and for all!

Self-labeled “requel” is directed by the team of Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (Ready or Not) from a script by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. It’s more “meh” than meta as this fifth installment is showing that the Scream formula is running out of gas and this one in particular adds little new to revitalize the franchise. Even Sydney herself claims this Ghostface is the most derivative yet and she’s ironically not wrong. Our three veteran characters all seem visibly tired of this schtick, though the new cast members do try hard, especially Barrera and Ortega. The attempts to give fan service to the original film works only about half the time, though there are some impactful deaths of series characters. There are also some solid kills, a few suspenseful sequences, and some clever dialogue, but even Ghostface lacks a strong threat and the whole film simply felt like it was going through the motions. Even the film’s reveal lacked a strong impact and the reasons for this happening a fifth time seemed very convoluted. Worst of all, It’s actually a bit dull in spots. Something a slasher should never be.

The veterans are fine, but you get the feeling they are also going through the motions and are not really invested in having to do this yet again. Campbell, Cox and Arquette just don’t breathe the life into the characters that they did in the past installments and are actually overshadowed by some of the newcomers. Speaking of which, Melissa Barrera makes for a very strong lead as Sam, the focus of the newest Ghostface’s attention. She’s strong-willed and makes a solid final girl. Also solid is Jenna Ortega (The Babysitter: Killer Queen), who has been a familiar face in horror lately, and she does good work as Sam’s younger sister Tara. Ortega is sympathetic, but also shows some toughness in her encounters with Ghostface. Dylan Minnette (GooseBumps) is likable as the son of now Sheriff Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton) and Jack Quaid does a fine job as Sam’s boyfriend Richie. Rounding out the attractive young cast are Mikey Madison as Amber, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding (Booksmart) as siblings Mindy and Chad and Sonia Ammar as Chad’s girlfriend Liv. A likable cast who deserved a stronger script and better movie.

Overall, this new Scream neither refreshes the franchise for a new generation nor gives it a strong finish— though if it ended here—which it probably won’t—it would be a fitting enough, though weak, send-off. It has some good kills, a few clever touches, and a solid young cast, but otherwise only seems to illustrate that this franchise is running out of gas. The veteran actors seem tired of it all and the script could have done more than put this installment through familiar paces. Entertaining to a degree, but also too slow and routine in spots to let it slide on some of it faults.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) Ghostfaces!

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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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NEW SLASHER “INITIATION” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER!

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NEW SLASHER “INITIATION” GETS A POSTER AND TRAILER!

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A trailer and poster for the new slasher Initiation has arrived!

“Whiton University unravels the night a star-athlete is murdered, kicking off a spree of social media slayings that force students to uncover the truth behind the school’s hidden secrets and the horrifying meaning of an exclamation point.”

The film is directed by John Berardo from his script with Brian Frager and Lindsay LaVanchy and stars Isabella Gomez, Yancy Butler, Jon Huertas and Freddy vs Jason’s Lochlyn Munro. R-rated slasher flick is due to be released theatrically and on demand on 5/7/21!

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-MonsterZero NJ

Source: Horror Society and IMDB

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BARE BONES: LUCKY (2020)

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LUCKY (2020)

Writer May (an excellent Brea Grant) believes a man is stalking her. Each night he appears and breaks into her house and she has to fight him off. Her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh) seems to be very glib when discussing it, to the point where he leaves May and goes to stay with his parents, when she confronts him about his cavalier attitude. Even the police don’t seem to be taking her very seriously. Feeling abandoned and alone, May decides to deal with it in her own way, as each day the mysterious stalker (Hunter C. Smith) returns. Is this all in May’s head?…or is someone really out to hurt her?

Film is directed by Natasha Kermani, who gave us the interesting Imitation Girl, from a script by star Brea Grant. The film is partially commentary on how female victims of sexual assault, or harassment, become the ones under scrutiny and who have to prove themselves amid disbelief. May constantly fights to be believed and finds herself having to defend herself to everyone around her. Lucky is also about living in constant fear after such a trauma and learning to confront those fears. With each encounter, May becomes stronger and more resilient, as the mysterious attacker gets bolder and more violent. The people around her also become more and more dismissive and are of no help, so she is on her own. If it seems like something is a bit off here, with so many people not believing and even patronizing May, you would be right. It’s a slasher film as a metaphor for trauma and it’s effects. If there is anything predictable about the unconventional Lucky, is that this obviously isn’t going to end like a typical slasher movie and everything is not what it outwardly seems. We also know from early on there is more beneath the surface than Kermani and Grant are telling us, or plan to tell us. There is no spoon feeding here, or revelatory reveal. It’s up to the viewer to fill in the blanks and the pieces are there if you want to put them together. The film may ultimately be unsatisfyingly ambiguous to some, but as someone who grew up in a household with an abusive parent, the film’s messages about alienation, trauma and living in fear are well received, as are those of learning to face those fears and fight back. Another bold and innovative film from Kermani and a strong, clever script by Brea Grant. Lucky is streaming on Shudder.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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