So…was I the only person who wasn’t aware that Lisa Loeb had an acting career? Because yeah…that was the best thing Serial Killing 101 had going for it. Not even Thomas Haden Church could save this atrocity (although he had the one funny line in the whole thing). Okay, Corey Feldman’s cameo was kickawesome too. Just overall…it always makes me sad when a movie has a decent cast, has a decent idea and just can’t follow through.
Casey (Justin Urich) is a teen who is having some issues lately – he’s moody and cranky and well, ya know, a teenager. Plus his dad died a year ago, so there’s that. And there’s of course a girl, Sasha (Lisa Loeb), whom he desperately wants to impress. And a gym teacher (Thomas Haden Church) who seems to have a personal vendetta against him. What’s the solution to all these issues? Becoming a serial killer – DUH! Although that works mostly to impress Sasha because she’s like TOTALLY GOTH and shiz. TOTES.
And one more thing – while Casey is studying up on how to be a serial killer (because basically this film is just that, a tutorial), there’s a real serial killer running around serial killing teenage girls. We only see one murder but it’s a doozy. Our serial killer kills the Annoying Ditzy Popular Blond by…wait for it…stuffing a doll in her mouth! OMG. The insanity.
Basically this flick is suffering from a severe lack of plot. All we see are Casey and Sasha reading books on serial killing and going to the library (apparently this was before internet?); Casey’s lame attempts to kill (he can’t even dissect a frog in biology, y’all!) and his murderous daydreams which are just downright stupid. I read on Wiki that someone said this movie is better than it has any right to be – um…I’m guessing someone has never seen another movie before? This is much worse than it has a right to be. The story is inane and there’s no mystery as to who the real serial killer is. There’s also not much in the way of funny happening. The only thing I liked were the PE coach’s insistence on always referring to PE as “gymnasium class” (with a Southern accent) and Corey Feldman’s “blink and you’ll miss it” cameo.
Don’t waste your time on this one. There’s way better dark comedies out there.
I recently got the opportunity to chat with director/writer Daniel Benedict whose latest film, Bunni, premieres today. The premiere is being hosted by Verite Cinema and owner Pj Starks has this to say, “I’m stoked that Verite Cinema will be hosting the premiere of Daniels film. Since 2007 my goal was to showcase local talent and ultimately use my connections to help aspiring filmmakers reach the next level. By setting up the premiere of BUNNI, this definitely falls into line with what I want to accomplish. It should be a fun event and I look forward to seeing Daniel get his film out there. It’s a big and exciting step. I’m glad I can be apart of that journey.” Learn more about Daniel, his love of horror and all about Bunni below! Also be sure to visit the Red Serial Films website to watch the Bunni trailer (I’m super excited to see this one!!).
ML: Bunni is your latest film. You’ve been making films (8 shorts and 3 features to be exact) since 1994 and all in the genre of horror. What draws you to horror?
DB: I’ve always been obsessed with monsters, villains, and scary things of all kinds. The only books I used to check out of my elementary school’s library were ones on ghosts or the Universal movie monsters, etc. As I got older and was able to see R rated films, an entire new world opened up for me. A wonderful world of masked murderers and dream stalkers. So in 1994, a friend and I decided to get together and make our own Friday the 13th sequel. We had just seen Jason Goes to Hell at the drive-in the previous summer and thought we could continue the story. So I convinced my parents and grandparents to play the victims , which resulted in the most valuable (to me) VHS tape of all-time.
ML: Bunni was produced by Red Serial Films – is this your company or did they simply call you in to direct this? If it is your company, can you tell us a little about Red Serial Films?
DB: Red Serial Films was started by myself and long-time friend Steven Boling who served as producer for Bunni. He and I had been involved in making films since the late 90’s. So when the time came to start production on Bunni, we decided we needed to take the next step, gather together some highly creative talent, and create a brand striving to produce quality entertainment.
ML: So you also wrote Bunni?
DB: I started writing the script in the fall of 2010. I bounced it around among Steve, our script supervisors, and special effects team for about a year. This enabled us to flesh out the plot and characters more, work out the kinks, fill in the holes, and gave us a really cohesive story.
ML: Bunni, from the trailer, looks to be a slasher film. What’s the synopsis?
DB: Bunni takes a classic slasher stance. Basically four people are walking home from a Halloween party and make the terrible mistake of breaking into an abandoned building where a killer waits to bludgeon them. Two of the group discover what appears to be living quarters and a disturbing home video that reveals a horrific truth.
We’re by no means redefining the horror genre; our goal was to create an entertaining movie with originality at the same time paying homage to slasher films of the past. And I think we’ve accomplished that.
ML: Can you tell us a little about the cast of Bunni and what they’ve done before this?
DB: Mercedez Varble portrays Paige- the film’s protagonist. Mercedez is involved with the Theater Workshop of Owensboro and most recently starred in their production of Little Shop of Horrors. Paige’s boyfriend, Chris, is played by Kent Blue who is a regular cast member on the October Road Youtube channel.
ML: Is directing and filmmaking your full time gig or do you have a “day job”?
DB: I currently produce tv commercials as a living, so I’m constantly writing/directing. I hope to be able to continue to do feature films and take it as far as I can.
ML: Do you have any advice for future directors and filmmakers?
DB: I would tell anyone interested in doing films to just make one regardless of your resource limitations. Use whatever equipment you have, collaborate with anyone willing to help you, and create something that you love. Everyone has to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you have a Red Epic or a Sony Handycam, or whether you use Final Cut Pro or edit with 2 VCR’s, a cassette player, and Mario Paint (which is what I started with.)
Also, be willing to compromise, selflessly help others as much as you can, and please don’t get an ego. That’s so annoying.
I was sent this screener recently and wasn’t sure I was going to find anything to like about it. It just didn’t seem to be my type of humor. Oddly enough, however, I ended up really digging this story about a guy who shits out a demon on the reg. Quite strange really. Maybe I was just having an off day.
Duncan’s (Ken Marino) life is a real pain in the ass. Tormented by a manipulative, crooked boss (Patrick Warburton), a nagging mother (Mary Kay Place), a deadbeat new age dad (Stephen Root), and a sweet, yet pressuring, wife (Gillian Jacobs), his mounting stress starts to trigger an insufferable gastrointestinal reaction.
Out of ideas and at the end of his rope, Duncan seeks the help of a hypnotherapist (Peter Stormare), who helps him discover the root of his unusual stomach pain: a pintsized demon living in his intestine that, triggered by excessive anxiety, forces its way out and slaughters the people who have angered him. Out of fear that his intestinal gremlin may target its wrath on the wrong person, Duncan attempts to befriend it, naming it Milo and indulging it to keep its seemingly insatiable appetite at bay.
You wouldn’t expect to find a lot of sweet in a movie like Bad Milo but it actually was rather touching. Touching in the way Dead Alive is touching sure (oh c’mon, it totally is!!) but touching nonetheless. The relationship between Duncan and Milo, while being a relationship of manipulation is also a cute friendship/father and son relationship, a relationship which actually ends up bringing Duncan closer to his own estranged father. There’s hope here, folks.
And I do love when people’s feelings and emotions become physical manifestations because who HASN’T felt like they were so stressed out that their stress was just going to become this thing, this entity and go around wreaking havoc? We have so all totally been there. TOTES. So Bad Milo wins points for that.
It even wins points for the gross out factor. Gross out is something where I can go either direction, just depends on how it’s presented. Jackass? Hate it. This movie, totes down with it. Probably helps that the majority of the gross out factor is either alluded to or is of a bloody nature rather than a shitty one. It really is the finite details that can make all the difference, peeps.
Bad Milo definitely isn’t for everyone. Hell, I can think of about 10 people right off the bat that it isn’t for. But if you take a chance and look past the fact that this is a movie about a dude who has a demon that comes out of his ass, you might just be pleasantly surprised, as I was.
And if you wanna find out more about Bad Milo or find out how you can watch, check out Magnolia Pictures site!
About a year ago, I reviewed a film for Rogue Cinema, that I absolutely adored called “True-D”, by an Irish director named Noel Brady. In it, people put on “True-D” glasses instead of “3-D” and are then able to see the histories of the people around them such as the bum on the street, the lady that is a bitch to everyone, etc. It was such a different sort of film than what typically comes around and I loved its message and its uniqueness. Not too long ago…okay, it was actually a couple of months ago but due to my schedule, I wasn’t able to get around to it till now and I truly apologize, Noel!…Noel sent me his latest film, “Alicia’s Mask”. This is a really hard film for me to review and I’m not sure what the best way to go about saying what I need to without devolving into something off-film-topic is, so bear with me. I’m going to say this first of all – this film is about rape so if that is something you’re not comfortable with or if it’s a trigger for you, you might not want to continue, okay?
Powerful. Beautiful. Raw. Those are the first three words that came to mind after I watched this for the first time. This film packs a hell of a punch in 6 minutes. I had to take a few days after to step away from the film and what it personally brought me and then come back to it again. So I re-watched it this morning and had the exact same reaction as the first time around. I think you know you have a winner when you can elicit an emotional reaction so profound that it takes days to process.
Alicia is making an introduction video for her new online dating profile. As the film starts we see her curling her hair, putting on makeup, prettying herself up. On the flip side we see an older man in front of a computer, searching for dating sites. Then Alicia sits to start filming. She starts with the norm – “Hi, I’m Alicia. I’m a Pisces and I love long walks in the rain.”, only to be interrupted by a phone call from a friend. We hear her reassuring her friend that yes, she is making the video now and yes, she is still up for that party later tonight. It’s then we notice the bottle of wine on the table – perhaps our Alicia is a wee bit nervous about making this video? It would seem so because next we see her start again…and again…and again…only to never get by the words “Hi, I’m Alicia and I’m a Pisces.” before breaking into tears and going back to the table for more wine…and then pills…And on the flip side we see the older man, viewing her video…then we see Alicia having flashbacks, fuzzy and unclear so we only get a hint of what’s happening…till finally Alicia starts filming again with the words, “My name is Alicia Heart and I was raped a year ago today.” And on the flip side we realize that the older man is a cop, a detective. And not long after that the film ends with a shot of an arrest warrant. There is more Alicia says after she states her name and what happened to her. It’s only about two lines and that’s where more than half the emotional impact comes from.
The film is beautiful, not just in how it was shot but for how it handles this girl’s plight. The way she breaks down over and over again with the words, “I’m Alicia and I’m a Pisces…” is heartbreaking and too real, too raw, too honest. If you’ve been her and you’re watching, you know. You know exactly what she’s feeling, what she’s thinking – the pain captured here is accurate. And if you don’t know, I imagine you’ll have a very good idea after this. The use of black and white helps immensely, I feel that color would have just distracted from the story (though the flashbacks have hints of color, hints of red in particular that add another layer to the beauty and pain).
I can’t praise Doey Mulligan enough for her portrayal of Alicia. She is utterly pitch perfect – vulnerable and lovely. And high praise for Noel Brady here – he’s taken a subject matter that is difficult, controversial and so much more and handled it with aplomb and a delicate touch. There’s nothing graphic to be seen here. It’s simply a girl trying to move past a trauma who is drowning in the murky waters, calling out for help before it’s too late. And it’s the simplicity here that hurts the most.
“Alicia’s Mask” is currently on the festival circuit so it’s not out for public consumption just yet but I do highly recommend it.
Also you’ll notice comments are closed, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I’m doing that due to the subject matter. It’s been a hot topic for debate lately and more importantly, it’s personal for me, so comments are just not something I want to deal with. Sorry, guys. Comments will be back on for Bad Milo, coming up next!
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!
This one comes from Misty at Cinema Schinema:
My parents' house, the house where I grew up, had a friendly (and mischievous) spirit in it. Odd things would regularly occur such as footsteps on the stairs…
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.
Oh, 7 Below, you were such a disappointment. *sighs* I mean, I wasn’t exactly expecting too much from a movie I’d never heard of featuring Val Kilmer but still. How is it possible for one movie to be SOOOO boring?? Especially when you’re supposed to be a horror/mystery/thriller…at least I think that’s what you were attempting to be…
K, so we start out with these kidlets and the rest of their family back in old-fashioned times (yes, that’s what I’m calling it now when I can’t remember what the actual year was). Creepy boy there decides that it’d be super fun to kill his whole fam so he does. Then we flash forward to the present where there’s a whole bunch of people on a bus going…um…somewhere…maybe a retreat? Anyway, Val Kilmer is there and he STILL does not look like he did when he played Jim Morrison and was totes a hottie and I think that makes him a little sad sometimes. But his character is this total jerkface who cheats on his wife. Then there’s a pair of brothers and a doctor with an accent. And a girl who works at a gas station who has an accent. Then there’s Ving Rhames, who when this bus breaks down, shows up and invites them all to his house. And when they get there he’s like, “Yeah, there’s no phone. You guys are fucked.” Totes random and weird.
Then people start dying or something but it’s really boring so I stopped paying so attention. And the doctor with the accent is a terrible, terrible actor who basically repeated the same line over and over “I don’t know how this happened!” in a wooden, emotionless voice. We get it Dr. Accent, no need to repeat yourself 800 times seriously. I think he was the 2nd to die though so that was good. And then, I dunno, there was something about the house being a time warp (but not the fun Rocky Horror kind) and everybody on the bus was a reincarnation of the family from old-fashioned times or something and Ving Rhames was the devil. I think. It really didn’t make a lot of sense.
Tis a silly movie, no fun whatsoever. Boo hiss!
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.