Category Archives: American Indie
Lone is singer Chelsea Wolfe’s first film, one that combines her music and the artistic expression of filmmaking to create a visually wild ride. Directed by Mark Pellington and based around Wolfe’s album “Pain is Beauty”, the film is a series of vignettes and images interlocked with five songs from the aforementioned album. The combination creates a dreamlike landscape littered with beauty and horror.
I won’t lie – I was wary at first as the viewer is essentially watching an hour long music video and I wasn’t entirely sure that was going to work. But unlike standard music videos, this one manages to tell a story without telling a story, leaving the interpretation entirely up to you. While it may not work for some, it worked for me. And what a story it is – encompassing love, beauty, pain, horror, death, life, destruction, nature and everything in between. A story created with viscerally stunning images that vary from filling one with longing to filling one with uneasiness and a story that includes a plethora of people. A particular repeating image that stuck out to me was people wearing animal masks – I feel like I’ve seen this a lot lately, mostly in the horror genre. I’m not sure if this was their way of introducing horror into the framework of the story here or not but it was really the only imagery that felt to me to be a bit of an overused trope.
Wolfe herself has a haunting voice and her songs are raw, only serving to amp up the imagery that we’re seeing. While the songs are the focus, there is a bit of dialogue, mostly repeated phrases such as “I’m not afraid to remember.” and “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I’m not sure which five songs from the album were used, as I’m not familiar with Wolfe or her work outside of this film, but she’s definitely garnered a new fan by using this medium.
Pellington’s direction is, at times, brilliant. Besides all the emotions and elements he combines, he also combines his original imagery with what appears to be old home movies and stock footage of natural disasters. The overall affect is a film that will stick with you long after you’ve finished watching.
Some of you are familiar with P.j. Starks, some of you are not. But either way, he’s a pretty cool guy who does a lot of fairly cool stuff when it comes to movies. And he just released one of his films online, finally, for the entire world to see. I haven’t had a chance to watch this one yet but hope to soon. It’s only 19 minutes or so, so head on over and check it out!
Hmmm…what to say about Episode 50? Fair to middling, I guess best sums it up. There’s nothing new here, nothing shocking but as far as acting and story goes, this is a quick, easy pill to swallow.
We start out rather cutely with a TV crew of paranormal investigators investigating a couple’s house. My favorite part here is, when hunting around for the ghost, the husband is carrying a hammer (as if that’s going to do any good) and then accidentally beams his wife in the head. The next shot is her with a bandage and black eye. I know, I know, I shouldn’t laugh just the way they do it was hysterical (I’m also a little lacking in sleep though…).
The paranormal investigators aren’t your usual type – they’re there to explain away all these occurrences through natural means. One, mice are setting off the fancy equipment other paranormal investigators sold these people and two, hubby is a slob and has left open not only paint cans downstairs but also things like coolants which are creating fumes throughout the house which in turn makes the couple dizzy, nauseous, etc. And this is how we see an episode of the paranormal investigators t.v. show.
Next up is some dying guy who owns an abandoned asylum that’s supposed to be one of the most haunted places ever. He hires our paranormal team to spend the weekend at the asylum because (at least as far as I can tell) if they find something paranormal, then he’ll be a ghost. If they debunk everything there, then he’s going to spend eternity in Hell. Um, k…
Unfortunately, our paranormal team has to also work with a Christian paranormal team (which is new to me – I didn’t think the Christian religion was big on the paranormal but maybe that was just my church) who are there to PROVE that the place IS haunted.
Of course since we’ve got two paranormal teams in an insanely haunted asylum, things go pretty much straight to hell but it’s with very little blood or violence. There’s no chills or scares here, just your standard “made ya jumps” and ghostly ghastly quick moving women. And then it gets a little cheesy at the end.
It doesn’t suck but it’s nothing special either – silly fun if you’re in a crowd that scares easily.
Wild Girl Waltz is a hella fun movie about a day in the life of drugged up babes. Well, not THAT drugged up as they only have a pill of something each but ya know still. Up above you’ll find our gang – Angie, Brian and Tara. Tara and Brian are dating while Angie and Brian are brother and sister which sets up a really great group dynamic. And so our story begins with….
Poor Angie walking along the side of the road, only to have a truck drive by with a couple of guys in it who call her a whore and throw a milkshake all over her. Angie’s having kind of a bad day. She calls Tara to come pick her up and there is much mocking the entire time but eventually Tara tells Angie she has something that will make everything better. After getting Angie back home and showered and less of a sticky mess, Tara presents her with two overturned cups and tells her to pick one. Once Angie does, Tara reveals two pills that someone at work gave her and they each end up taking one even though neither knows what either pill is. Is this smart? Not really. But it makes for an entertaining watch. Meanwhile Brian, who was out yelling at some guy, comes home to find out he has to babysit two girls – one who appears to be on acid and the other who ends up being on ecstasy. He’s thrilled beyond belief, y’all. Thrilled, I say. ;)
What follows is simply one of those days where it’s the best day with your friends you ever had. Admittedly, some of this is funnier if you’ve ever taken drugs or on the flip side had the misfortune of being the sober one babysitting friends, but it’s just their journey to find beer, get pies, play on playgrounds, talk to turtles and watch the color trails.
While the movie starts out a little slow, it quickly picks up pace and the rest of the time goes by smoothly. There’s some nice exterior shots (although a tad bit too many at the beginning). The acting is great – it can be hard to act like you’re on drugs and make it convincing without going overboard and both actresses here (Christina Shipp and Samantha Steinmetz) take it just to the limit but never overdo it. I think my only complaint is that I didn’t really see what Brian yelling at the guy in the woods at the beginning of the film really had to do with anything else. It seemed a scene just designed to get him out of the house while the girls took the pills but it easily could’ve been left out as it didn’t relate to anything else and was never resolved.
Overall, a fun comedy, one I’d recommend for a Saturday night in.
I have to admit to being a fan of this offering from Red Serial Films and Daniel Benedict. It’s def got an old school slasher feel to it with just the right amount of cheesy goodness to make it pretty damn fun for the whole family. Okay, well, not the whole family. Definitely don’t show this one to the kiddos!
Our story starts with an abused woman fighting with her husband and the whole thing just starts with a BAM! (picture that in comic book style writing, k?). Then we move on to a bunch of college age kids out at a bar for Halloween – we’ve got Dickface (whom I wanted to punch in the balls), his girlfriend, Sweetie and then Honeybee and her boyfriend, Ninja Turtle. No, of course those aren’t their real names in the film but we know how I like to name characters and make them my own. ;)
Honeybee and Ninja Turtle are pretty norms and a cute little couple. Dickface is cheating on his girlfriend and majorly abusive towards her verbally. Again, did I mention the ball punching I wanted to do? Anywho, they decide to leave the bar and on the way home stumble across this old boarded up former sex shop so of COURSE they just have to break in and see what it’s all about. Can’t blame them, I would’ve done the same thing.
Dickface drags Sweetie off so she can give him a bj while Honeybee and Ninja Turtle explore the rest of the place. And that is when the slasher fun begins. I am happy to report that Dickface is the first to die in an EPIC way that includes…well, you just have to see it. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. (Seriously, I hated this character SOOOO much. I was SOOOO happy when he died first!)
Obvis, as it’s a slasher movie, a whole bunch of other people die, so I’m not giving anything away there. There’s also a twist, I actually didn’t see coming, that had me say ‘Wait, what?????’, so that was fun. For such a lo-budget film, the special effects and gore are totally top notch. This is one of the goriest films I’ve watched in awhile (although I haven’t been watching a ton of movies, I know but still). And it seemed to be all old school effects so major ups for that shiz.
The acting varied. The majority of people were pretty good but there were definitely a couple of moments where I wondered if this was some of these guys first film. Nothing so atrocious that it totally took away from the overall effect, just a mild moment here and there where I went, “Huh.” And if it was their first film, then good for them because they picked an excellent one to be a part of.
So what can I say? I dug it, cheesy parts, gory parts, even the couple of parts that made me say “Hey, what?” because this right here is what true indie film is all about especially when it comes to horror. You go Daniel Benedict (writer/director/Dickface) and Red Serial. You guys are rocking it!
Simple Mind is a simple, short tale of a man who isn’t entirely what he seems. We follow our main character as he talks with his therapist about his life, his obsession with a woman and how his obsession leads to her murder. Our guy has quite the anything but mundane lifestyle! Or does he….?
Timothy J. Cox is PERFECT as the psycho killer here – I don’t think I’ve seen crazy eyes that good since Jonathan Rhys Meyers. *shivers* I love everything Cox has down here with his character. I went from intrigued to repulsed to piteous all in the span of about seven minutes. And the film, thought it features other characters, is really all about him so kudos for not once letting my attention waver and for keeping me in breathless anticipation of what was going to happen next.
This is definitely an example of indie filmmaking gone terrifically right and storytelling at its best. If you’re a fan of the short film genre, like me, you’re going to LOVE this one.
What do you get when you’ve got a wannabe vampire and an actual vampire living together? Well, in episode 2 of Vampz! you get a dead, coked up vampire hunter. Whoopsies! Not to mention a very drunk little brother who stumbles upon the scene.
I am totes digging on this web series – it’s fun, it’s quirky and it’s got so many things I love (like vampires!). Plus the special effects are pretty groovy for a (I’m assuming) lo-budget production. There’s not a ton of special effects, no over the top CGI or anything but the few they use feel very organic and really enhance the plot. Major kudos for that, guys.
I also really, really love the character of Ashlee (not to mention the actress that plays her). She’s adorable (like me! ;)). All the characters are fun but she’s definitely my fave.
I’m not sure how many more episodes are in this season (I know 3 is out and 4 is about to hit the net) but I’m excited and I really hope there’s a second season as well. Hmmm…I wonder if there will be new characters? Or bit parts? Ahem…. ;)
Check out Episode 2 in all it’s glory, y’all and let me know if you’re digging it as much as I am!
This was originally posted on Rogue Cinema back in February but now that the rest of the series has been going up, I’m reviewing the whole thing here, episode by episode. To read the original, go here!
VAMPZ!, written by Omar Attia and Lenny Buccellato, is about the supernatural hijinks & misadventures of Simone, a “wannabe vampire” and her ditzy cheerleader roomie, Ashlee. Described on their Facebook page as “a horror comedy webisode series that could be described as Fright Night meets Three’s Company (without even a whiff of Twilight)”, I’d say it’s exactly that (although Twilight is mentioned though only in mocking ;)).
Currently, there’s only the first episode of this web series up on YouTube and it starts out strong with Simone interviewing several people as potential roommates. As the view switches from potential roommate to potential roommate, their hilarious stories of roommates past and their interests (really? Tentacle porn??) overlap to create a hysterical montage that really drives home the fact that finding someone to live with is scary business. To add to that scariness, when the three potentials say to Simone, “Gee, you kind of look like a vampire…” she responds with, “I AM a vampire! Duh!”. Oh Simone, with your black hair and gothy ways…we’ll see how far that gets you in life…
After another day of hapless searching, Simone’s annoying fraternal twin brother comes over to cheer her up. Or something. Then arrives, Ashlee, who can best be described as one of those annoyingly cheerful, ditzy cheerleader girls that you always kind of wanted to kick in high school. Simone is full of “No effing way!” till her brother points out that she’s already said no to 30 something other people and can’t pay the rent herself. With a sigh of disgust, Simone agrees to let Ashlee move in.
So what happens next? Oh, but that’s much too fun to give away, dear reader, so you’ll simply have to watch for yourself. This is exactly the kind of web series I love – silly, irreverent and with a touch of darkness. The script is fun and I love the way this is shot – not sure what kind of camera they used but there’s a blur around the edges that makes it all a little dreamy (oh and speaking of dreams, wait till you see the dream sequence in this one. Ha!). All the actors do a fine job with their parts with the stand out being Louis Bacigalup as Simone’s annoying brother (seriously I kinda wanna give the guy a good kick to the shins).
So head on over to Youtube and check them out!
So I’m having a problem wherein I keep trying to watch movies, ALL the movies, and my heart just isn’t into it. It’s entirely frustrating. I have more free time now but every time I turn something on, I just can’t seem to get into it no matter how good (or ludicrous) it may be. So as a result, I’ve been either catching up on tv shows on Netflix (Walking Dead, Chuck, that Breaking Bad thing people seem to love) or just not watching anything – I’m in a really big reading mood lately (probably because this is honestly the first time I’ve had a chance for reading in like, 6 months and I’m somewhere a step beyond the “avid” reader type so not being able to read has been just devastating. Yes, that’s melodramatic, I know. ;)). So I dunno, maybe I’ll throw some book reviews up on here at some point. I’m finally reading Doctor Sleep btw – the book I got for my birthday TWO MONTHS ago. I’ve missed blogging though and missed the interaction so I’m trying to blog and read you guys’ blogs as much as I can.
What else? Well, filming on my web series is almost complete. One more day of filming this Sunday and we move into post. I’ve seen some of the footage and it looks good. :) There’s small things of course – I think I’ll have to make it a game when it comes to continuity errors – we tried our hardest but sometimes trees will have leaves and sometimes they will not… ;) But it does look good and I hope that it actually IS good and I REALLY hope that you guys enjoy it. I just started writing Season 2 as well!
Other than the web series, I’m about to start work on a short film, something dark and artsy and gritty and a whole 2 minutes long, with one of my favorite directors…and I can’t wait. :) Then in January, we start pre-production on the movie version of our updated Hamlet where I’ll be playing Horatio again. And I’m waiting to hear back about one more project. So there’s definitely no lack of work happening here! I love it. :)
And other than that, I’ve been sick – really sick. Like rushed to the ER one day kind of sick. I’m okay now, much better, but these issues are going to be ongoing (it’s a combination of a lot of smaller issues – some physical, some more on the emotional health side of things). I’ve got a team of doctors though and am considering switching out some doctors and yeah, am doing what I can to get back to 100% but it definitely affects blogging and movie watching (may be the reason I’m having trouble watching things as of late).
I HAVE watched a lot of stuff I can’t review, lol. I watched the newest Star Trek last night and saw the new Thor on Sunday. Watched Pacific Rim a couple of weeks ago along with This is the End. So yeah, I’ve actually been mainstreaming it more lately (shhhhh! Don’t tell!!! ;-p). Light and fluffy seems to be the way to go at the moment. Ah, well, I’m sure the conflicting movie emotions will get resolved right? Probably just similar to writers’ block.
Anyway, for the moment, here’s this month’s Rogue Cinema offerings. Hopefully you’ll find something you like!