Category Archives: Lo-Budget
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!
If you’re a long time reader of this site, then you’ve heard me mention Jeremiah Kipp a few times. His short films were one of the first things I ever reviewed here and I’ve also interviewed him for Rogue Cinema. I also may or may not have repeatedly begged him to cast me in something because I really love his work and I may or may not have completely embarrassed myself in doing so….ahem…anyway….
The latest thing he’s working on is something that is very exciting for me not only because it’s a horror thing but also because in the “About” video on Indiegogo they mention Hansel & Gretel which means it’s kind of a horror/fairy tale mesh which totally hits my sweet spot cause we all know how I feel about those two things! I mean, we do all know, right? I have made that pretty clear on this site, right? *giggles*
Anyway, they ARE running a campaign on Indiegogo so if you are so inclined, hit them up with a couple of bucks or if you have a friend you think would dig on this, give them the heads up. Because if this doesn’t get made, I might cry. :( You wouldn’t want to see me cry would you???
Coming Up Next on Cinema Schminema: Bad Milo, The American Scream, Velvet Elvis, interviews and more!
So I got the heads up about this baby from writer/director, Jim Ojala. Jim has a professional background in Special Makeup/Creature FX (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Deadgirl, PROXY, Hellboy 2, Where the Wild Things Are, Pacific Rim, etc.)- HE WORKED ON BUFFY!!!! *SQUEAL OF EXCITEMENT* Ahem…I’m back….So how does his special makeup background fit in? Well, Strange Nature is an eco-thriller that revolves around the ongoing unsolved frog deformity outbreaks in the U.S. and the dangerous places they may lead. With Jim’s awesome special effects background, he and the rest of his team can bring the more fantastic elements of where these deadly deformities can lead to startling realism in the film….plus it helps keep practical FX alive! If people believe it on screen maybe they’ll pay attention to the real problem as well.
Also cool is the support they’ve gotten from the ecological community. One of their strongest supporters, Dr. Pieter Johnson of University of Colorado, and his research team found a population of frogs in Oregon this year where every frog suffered a deformity…100% deformity rate. The problem is growing and the cast and crew of Strange Nature hope to expose that.
Right now, these guys are working with Kickstarter to try to raise funds for the film. They only have 6 days left to raise the money (so far they’re halfway there!) so if this is the sort of thing you’d like to see, click the link above, swing by and check out their Kickstarter and donate a buck or two!
You can also check out their website to learn more about the film including what they’ve done so far to get started as well as lots of videos! Just click that link there that says “website” and away you’ll go!
I dunno, I think it looks pretty cool and pretty unique so I’d definitely like to see this thing get made.
What the FUCK did I just try to watch?? What the FUCK?? Eminem what the hell were you thinking appearing in this? What was anyone thinking?? My respect for Eminem took a nose dive after attempting this atrocity (and yes, I do like Eminem’s music, big fan actually).
This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“After learning about the “Hip Hop Witch”, a powerful supernatural being that lurks in the ghettos and attacks upcoming rappers which makes their record sales go up, five suburban teenagers go on a quest to get their rap careers started by being attacked by said witch. Filming their experience, they run into past hip hop stars that have already battled the Witch in person.”
I didn’t get that far of course. After Eminem appeared, I gave up and quickly, The cinematography was shite and I couldn’t tell what was going on and it was just so bad I wanted to cry. Poor rap stars. You all need hugs after this.
So yeah, Da Hip Hop Witch should be avoided at all costs. Go find your favorite rapper in another movie, yo. Trust me.
Eroticide is the latest offering from Sinema Saliba, the film company run by Matthew Saliba, a fellow writer over at Rogue Cinema, and my first foray into the Saliba world. His 7th film, Eroticide tells the story of a young man named Yan (Jocelin Haas) and how his addiction to erotic humiliation sets the course of his life on a downward spiral when his ex, Kendra (Lisa Di Capa) comes back into the picture, forcing him to choose between a future with his loving girlfriend, Elise (Stephanie van Rijn) or one of empty sexual gratification with Kendra.
This is a film about sex, desire, control, fetishes – all stuff I love to watch and discuss (seriously my Netflix queue is kind of embarrassing, lol) and the subject matter is handled quite well. Too often films of this nature turn either cheesy or just downright pornographic but Eroticide avoids those tropes with the intriguing use of seen fantasies and excellent cinematography. Our story starts with Yan and Elise discussing their 9 month anniversary and meeting (when Yan hit Elise with his car) over dinner when Kendra, Yan’s dominating ex, suddenly appears. In she walks and instantly Yan is fawning over her while Elise looks on in disgust. Kendra begins questioning their relationship, asking about their sex life only to discover that Elise and Yan haven’t yet had sex. This is remedied later that night but the only way Yan is able to perform is to imagine humiliating scenarios featuring Kendra (and sometimes Elise). We see his fantasies played out, intercut with scenes of him and Elise making love and the result is lovely to behold. From there the film moves into Yan’s betrayal of Elise and Elise’s ultimate sacrifice for the man she loves with Kendra in the background, the whole time keening with delight.
Eroticide is one of those little independent short films that packs a punch, hitting you hard right where all your dirty little secrets hide. It takes a look at the darker side of love and lust and manages to accomplish an in-depth look in just under 40 minutes. Honestly, I’d love to see this script fleshed out into a feature. While I dug the movie, it did feel a little short and a little incomplete, mostly with the feeling that the viewer doesn’t get to know Elise as well as Yan and Kendra.
And speaking of Elise, she’s my favorite one here, not so much for her character because really none of these characters are what you’d deem likable as they’re much too self-involved with their own flaws (although Elise does step out of that and looks beyond herself) but because of the actress playing her, Stephanie van Rijn. Stephanie is fragile, emotive and delicate without being completely downtrodden (plus she’s a redhead and we redheads stick together! ;)). Lisa Di Capa as Kendra was only okay – while she had the look for Kendra down and was fabulous at playing the icy bitch, she seemed to be holding back and her monologue at the end felt stilted.
Ooohhh, just realized another nice touch – having Elise as a redhead because she’s the fire on one side while Kendra is the ice on the other. Nice!
Jocelin Haas as Yan does a fine job but doesn’t overwhelm. He’s emasculated, weak and full of self-loathing but the performance didn’t make me want to stand up and cheer. He is naked for about half the film though so there’s a plus. ;) Again, I’d love to see this fleshed out into a feature – I don’t think the characters have time to fully develop but there’s amazing potential there.
Altogether, I have to recommend Eroticide, especially if you’re a fan of movies such as 9 1/2 Weeks or Boxing Helena. This film is a wonderfully done, though slightly underdeveloped look at the psychological war fare of love and relationships and the very real physical wounds they inflict.
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The pilot episode of my sitcom “Awkward Annie” is here! A huge thanks to the cast and crew for helping me bring my vision to life! :) I hope you guys enjoy it and as always please feel free to leave feedback and constructive criticism. And huge thanks to all of you for all of your support – I wouldn’t be doing any of these things if it wasn’t for you guys!! <3
Kay, do y’all remember that special channel on my Roku called Midnight Pulp where I found Antfarm Dickhole? For the newbies: 1) Yes, that’s an actual movie 2)Yes, I watched it 3) NO, I did not finish it 4) but a couple of other brave souls did and you should really check out all the reviews. My goodness gracious me…anyway I found The Disco Exorcist on the same channel and well…just look at it guys, look at it!! How on earth could I pass this up? Of course, I couldn’t. So here’s the lowdown:
Rex Romanski is a 1970s disco swinger who loves and leaves the wrong woman – the wicked black magic priestess Rita Maria. And now it’s up to Rex to undo the scorned Rita’s rampage of revenge, murder and destruction before she claims more lives, and possesses the soul of the woman he loves. A sexy, irreverent horror comedy – Get Down… and Get Dead!
Anyway, Rexie is like the ladies man – I mean, the film starts with him doing two chicks (wearing blue and pink wigs which I HIGHLY approved of) and videotaping it all while snorting coke off one of the girls’ asses. Obviously this man is THE man. After all that having of THE SEX, Rexie is off to the disco club to dance the night away. He meets the most awesome, amazing, totes diesel babe (is that 70s lingo or am I in the 80s now?) and they dance all night, then go back to his place for some more of THE SEX.
The next morning he’s off for brunch with his friend (which means he’s going to a theatre to watch porn with his friend) and so he and amazeballs chick decide to meet up that night for more disco lovin’. And they do and all is well until the most awesome, amazing, totes diesel babe walks into the club and Rexie is in love (wait…I’m seeing some very strong similarities to Romeo & Juliet here…) Anywho, Babe #1 is pissed and seeing as how she’s a witch or a voodoo priest (are those different??), she pulls out a chunk of Babe #2′s hair and curses her. Then she goes all psycho, screaming and crying and leaves the club. It’s like my every Friday night in college.
Then…um….oh yeah, for some reason everybody becomes porn stars – not sure why but whatevs, do your thing. So there’s lots of sex on roller skates and then Babe #2 gets all black-eyed psycho with two other porn stars and wakes up like this:
And then there’s a whole bunch of her being possessed, then not being possessed and there’s sex and more sex and then there’s the killing and then it turns out Rexie’s brother isn’t actually a priest but the guy that runs the club IS and he’s performed an exorcism before! Holy Mary Mother of God, y’all! And then there’s a whole bunch of exorcist stuff (well, okay seriously for having the word “exorcist” in the title, this has very little exorcisms) and there’s a relatively happy ending. Hehehehe…happy ending…
So basically, I saw more penises and sex before 11 AM then you guys did and got to see some blood and zombie possessed porn stars just for extra measure. Go me.
Fuck yeah, Asylum!! Hansel & Gretel is, I’m fairly certain, the best freaking movie you guys have ever put out and honestly, I’m so proud, it brought a tear to my eye, no lie. I mean, sure you guys totally ripped off the Hansel & Gretel phase that was going on just last year (but hey, it’s a fairy tale so any movie version is ripping it off, right?) but this was…this was almost entirely coherent and had a couple of gross out moments that weren’t so fake that I was compelled to laugh. Plus Dee Wallace was AMAZEBALLS in this. I would NOT want to meet that woman in the middle of the woods, no way, no how.
So above we have Hansel & Gretel, who are like, totally teenagers, y’all. Gretel works at the local bakery called “The Gingerbread House” (ha! get it??) where Lilith serves up the best meat pies around. And we all know what happens when meat pies are involved, right, kiddies? I mean, we all did see Sweeney Todd, yeah? No?…. Anywho. H&G’s mom died at some point and Hansel feels really guilty about that (although I couldn’t ever figure out WHY – like maybe there was a car wreck when she was coming to pick him up or something?) but she’s been gone long enough that Gretel mentions not being able to remember her as well as she should. Well, good old Pops has been seeing this religious chick named Ruby for like a month or something and now they’re getting married. Hansel, being the whiny little asshat he is, starts yelling and crying and runs off into the woods in anger. Okay, I totally made that crying part up but still. Gretel gives chase to try to talk some sense into her idiot twin brother when whoopsie, he steps into a conveniently placed bear trap. Ouch.
The only place around ends up being Lilith’s from “The Gingerbread House” and Lilith is totes a sweetie so of course she bandages that wound up and feeds Hansel all the pastries in the world and then some “special” candy that she takes for her glaucoma. *giggles* Next thing you know, Hansel’s fast asleep and Lilith’s all, “Oh just stay here tonight, kiddies.” Then she gives Gretel some “magic” tea that knocks Gretel right the hell out. This is the point where I started to be wary of Lilith’s intentions here, just sayin’.
The next morning Gretel wakes up to find her brother gone with an explanation of a neighbor having taken him to the hospital. Why doesn’t she leave straightaway? Well, the woods are dangerous, y’all, she might as well wait for that neighbor to come back for her. In the meantime, might as well help Lilith out with a few chores, right? Hansel wakes up to an entirely different scenario – one where he’s locked in a dungeon with three other teens who tell him that they’re being fattened up to be cooked later on. Hansel isn’t the brightest crayola in the box so he kinda just goes, ‘Huh, what? Oh pastries! Oh wait, don’t eat those!” And this is about the time we meet these fellows…
Awww, just look at those adorable twinsies. And after this comes some back story about Lilith losing a daughter and being 800 million years old and then everyone’s running around trying not to get cooked and those big dudes go all Leatherface on people and there’s a cop (and the killer exchange of: Gretel – “You shot the sheriff!!” Lilith – “Oh, I shot the deputy too.” Totes brills) and Pops and Ruby show up and there’s a lot of weird stuff that makes you think Ruby is actually Lilith’s daughter but no, that’s totes trickster and then well, ya know…it’s Hansel & Gretel – we kind of know where this is going.
Seriously, this is by far, the best Asylum flick I’ve seen. Dee Wallace is KILLER with her witchy psychotic granny portrayal (and you know, that’s really what makes this movie cause the other actors I could take or leave). There’s one scene where Hansel starts to eat himself because he is so delicious (insert raunchy jokes here) that was super fun and not as fake as the usual Asylum stuff is and another girl getting sliced and diced with this crazy wires also works out really well. Of course we have our moments where Ruby is dead but moving, the cops are at the top of the idiot food chain and it’s ridiculous to think Lilith who has been doing this for years now just woke up and thought to herself, “Welll, gosh darnit, I’m gonna have me those twins even if I have to take the whole town down to do it.” Seriously, WTF, Lilith? *sighs*
If you love The Asylum, you definitely have to check this one out!