Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Assorted Bits & Pieces: A Blogger's Indy Horror, Godzilla & Rob Zombie's Latest

image: The Lucid Nightmare

Jay Shatzer, the writer of the horror themed review blog, The Lucid Nightmare, has just completed his first feature film. It's an independent production entitled AMONG THE FALLEN. I watched the trailer last night and it looks really interesting. It appears to be a surrealist, psychological approach to zombie lore and judging by the trailer, it looks pretty impressive. Readers can watch the trailer at the link below.


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In other horror news, it appears Guillermo Del Toro continues to be courted by Warner Brothers to direct the upcoming (groan) American GODZILLA movie even though Gareth Edwards is attached as director. After that blasphemous fiasco that was the 1998 GODZILLA, I have little faith in this newer Occidental endeavor. But then, the Japanese showed that they could produce an equally insultive travesty with their coffin nailer, GODZILLA FINAL WARS (2004).

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Unlike its sojourn in the 50s and 80s, 3D doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Now it seems Leatherface is reportedly getting the "In Your Face" approach according to popular horror sites. The upcoming CONAN is another 3D flick that might actually be pretty good even though it will likely be dominated primarily by computer generated imagery like everything else these days.

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Finally, last and certainly least, it appears Robbie Z's new movie is starting production this Spring (shooting supposedly was to begin mid April) since his (likely) redneck remake of THE BLOB has (thankfully) been skuppered. Now, it's an "original" work entitled LORDS OF SALEM. A co-production between the UK's Alliance Films and the producers of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, LORDS OF SALEM was written by Rob Zombie (Oh, no!!) and regardless of what people say, sounds like a new take on the John Llewellyn Moxey classic, CITY OF THE DEAD (1960). In an interview with Empire, the Z man stated that this will be his "bleakest of all my's only gonna get worse!" Never were truer words spoken than that last bit of dialog. In a bit of unintentional comic genius, Zombie was referred to as a "master of the genre" by one interviewee.

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I am interested in seeing the film, if only to see how infantile, expletive filled, 3rd grade dialog is going to be implemented into a picture that revolves around vengeance seeking witches. I'm also curious to see if the Z'ster manages to wedge a traveling carnival in there somewhere as well as another excuse to reuse Nazareth's 'Love Hurts'. No doubt Sherri Moon Zombie will be featured along with sub par QT referential nods. Considering Zombie has been given complete control over the script, casting and final cut, I'd be SHOCKED if none of these above things were lurking somewhere within the finished product. Despite my overall dislike (and sometimes hatred) of Zombie's movies, I hope to finally find one that I do indeed enjoy. It's obvious Zombie is a real horror fan living a dream and has passion for these things.I'll give him that much.

Bitter Feast (2010) review


James LeGros (Peter Gray), Joshua Leonard (JT Franks), Megan Hilty (Peg), Larry Fessenden (William Coley)

Directed by Joe Maggio

The Short Version: Undercooked horror about an arrogant, but dedicated chef who loses his show due to a single review from an equally unlikable food blogger critic. Said chef decides to take revenge on this critic who can seemingly ruin restaurants and television programs with but a single negative write up.

Not long after starting up this DVD, I had made an early assumption that this was yet another 'Tie'em Up & Torture'em' movie with victims written ass backwards so that we, the viewer, hate them instead of hope they survive. BITTER FEAST upholds that new millennium tradition, but later on the film does some mild attempts at pathos for both adversaries. By the end, though, this flirtation with building a better character is undercooked resulting in an arc that falls apart during the final moments.

The plot of a mad chef avenging himself on a soulless, arrogant food critic brought to mind Douglas Hickox's THEATER OF BLOOD, the classic British horror film from 1973; a film that swaps stuffy stage play critics for the gleeful beratement of internet food critics. While Maggio's movie has little of the prime ingredients that made that earlier film such a feast for the eyes and ears, the director also sprinkles a few tablespoons too many from SAW (2004) and just a dash of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932) to add some additional flavor.

Director Joe Maggio said in an interview he got the idea for his script after reading a review from noted food critic Frank Bruni who somewhat slammed world reknowned chef Gordon Ramsay's first New York City restaurant, London Hotel. That is basically the catalyst for what follows in this picture. Sadly, there's no real build up to Gray's meltdown. No sooner than one bad review and rumors of his shows cancellation causing his career to spiral downward, and Gray has went over the deep end (a bizarre opening sequence and flashbacks reveal Gray as unexplainably unhinged from a young age). He kidnaps the complaining culinary critic, chains him up and puts him through some food challenges designed to force him to appreciate what it takes to make a mouthwatering meal.

EVOO anyone? Yummo!

Both men play a game of verbal back and forth till this modest little black pseudo satire takes up 'Stalk & Kill' motifs abandoning the 'Cooks & Critics' war of wits it tinkered with the prior 90 minutes. Speaking of chefs, Gray is saddled with a co-host, a jokey polar opposite to his persona named Peg who looks remarkably like popular TV cook, Rachel Ray. The dialog is occasionally stilted and judiciously marinated with a lot of 'F' bombs. Still, it's the best dialog Rob Zombie never wrote.

While it's not a home run, Maggio's movie has some moments of interest--a nicely maddening lead performance from James LeGros, some minor, darkly comical laughs, some so-so suspense and a few good scenes. This dish isn't quite as good as the recipe suggests, but is a decent enough appetizer for hungry horror hounds while they wait around for a suitably tastier main course.

This review is representative of the Dark Sky DVD.

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