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Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories

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Holy fuck! Who’s that creepy motherfucker and what is he doing here?? Something tells me he wants to strangle me with my own intestines…which is VERY unhygienic, so EW. Or he could just be that guy from VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES, the sequel to the kickawesome VOLUMES OF BLOOD. Remember that one? An anthology, but a super fun one with lots of gory good times? (Just click the link if you need a refresher!) But we all know that the killer always comes back, no matter what, and we also know how it tends to go with the art of the sequel. So does VOLUMES OF BLOOD II hold up to the first? Hmmm…let’s take a look….

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“I knew filling those balloons with blood instead of water would be awesome!”

Our story starts with a heist. One that’s set in the middle of nowhere (maybe a farm?), which is the perfect place to die. It starts out well enough with three amigos heisting, shooting the shit, and telling spooky stories about the old place they’re stealing from (because one ALWAYS does that during a heist, duh). At least half of our opening story was filmed in apparent complete dark, however, so you’re going to have to rely on your ears big time here. BUT the kill scenes are nicely lit and so long as you get to see people die, I guess it’s all cool, right? (Huh. That last sentence doesn’t make me sound unbalanced at all. ;))

But WAIT, no, omg, guess what?? That whole time we were watching a movie!! I mean, obviously I was watching a movie but then I was watching people watching a movie! Ah, the old movie within a movie trick. (Thank you, CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI) Boy, did you get me. Then we’re off to…watch another movie? But first we need to time jump to the past? And then 20 minutes past the past? Then come back to here to watch the movie? (I think I got that order correct.) There were lots of random images being flashed about, so I wasn’t sure if we were going back to the library and following the immediate aftermath of the first film or if we were jumping into a, um, jumping into movies anthology. It turned out to be neither.

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“Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee…”

What happened next was an anthology wrapped around a house and the holidays – different holidays and a single house as the centerpiece. We get to experience Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, and so on and so forth. (We also get to experience the joys of house browsing!) As with most anthologies, certain pieces were better than others. My favorite story featured the girl above, a salesman, and Thanksgiving. It was incredibly atmospheric which helped lift it from the “oh yeah, I have a pretty good idea of how this ends” doldrums. The Christmas piece ended up being fairly good as well with its fun ending and an actress who was able to carry ~10 minutes of screentime alone (and mostly in silence). The downside was that this piece was much too long. I understand the time needed to build tension, to make the audience realize that something isn’t quite right, but it can be done in less time than this. (Also, my god, the freaking carols and Christmas music!!! BLEHCK. I hate this holiday so much.)

Overall though? First and foremost, VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES reminded me WAY too much of THE PERFECT HOUSE, which is also an anthology tied around a house in which a real estate agent is showing a young couple around. Secondly, it was much less cohesive than the first. This story didn’t flow as smoothly as the first did; didn’t tie together as well; didn’t make as much sense. Especially the ending. I still don’t know who the killer is or where he’s from or why he suddenly popped up and decided to kill every citizen of Owensboro. I also am unsure why there are now unseen forces (or people) seemingly commanding him to kill (not like voices in his head but legit “hey that’s an order!” commanding way). Maybe it’s all just meant to entice in case there’s a third film? I dunno, but I was not impressed. Thirdly, this sequel just wasn’t as much FUN as the first was. This film was really lacking the joy of the first (I know that sounds weird – joy in a horror flick? – but hear me out). The first film was clearly such a product of love and devotion and people were so obviously having a blast that it made the energy of the film into that too (despite the blood and gore ;)).

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“It’s jelly, I swear!”

VOLUMES OF BLOOD II was definitely better LOOKING than the first – it looks like they had a larger budget this time around – but it was lacking. It was missing that joie de vivre and indie spirit, for whatever reason. It also didn’t stick together as well as the original – this one very much showed us that it had been stirred with several hands in the mixing bowl and it made for some lumpy spots.

Is it ultimately worth a watch? Yes. There are the couple of stories that are really enjoyable; there’s a nod to TRICK’R’TREAT (my favoritest anthology series EVER); and there are lots of gooey messes and intestinal effects that are all practical and not CGI. (Big props for the makeup team and fx guys! You guys are wicked awesome!) And, of course, if you’re a fan of the slasher genre, you may totally dig on this. Check out the trailer on the Facebook page and let me know what you think!

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ScareFest Film Festival 8 (2015)

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Hey guys & gals! What’s the haps? 🙂 Hope everyone had a good 4th and there were no fireworks mishaps (looking at you, E…). Wanted to share something for my filmmaker friends out there –

ScareFest Film Festival 8, hosted by Izzy’s Little Creepers (which is an AWESOME name), is happening September 11-13 in Lexington, KY, and they’re still accepting submissions for the festival. It’s a great way to get your work out there (we all know how the festival runs go!) and, obviously, it’s totally suited to you horror & gore creators. 🙂 It looks pretty fun and I’m sad I don’t have any projects that fit into the theme here.

If you’re in the area and just wanna go hang out, the guest line-up includes Sid Haig, Sal Lizard, a bunch of people from this past season of American Horror Story, a bunch of people from Phantasm…there’s several people from older stuff (like The Munsters – is that what that show was called??) and I think that’s pretty cool, anyway. 😉

So check it out, filmmakers, and if you’ve got something to enter – ENTER IT! – so people can watch it and it can win awards and shit! The website has the submission form and all the nitty-gritty but if you wanna screw the deets, I’m including the submission form right here so it’s handy!

Have fun, guys! Let us know if you’re entering something, so we can share the news and rant & rave about the awesomeness of your film and the like. 🙂

Cheers!

ScareFest

River City Heroes: Ascendance

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*FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION*

From writer/directors Jeremy Scoggins and Matthew Hibbs and Executive Producer P.J. Starks (Volumes of Blood) comes the next generation of super heroes.

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The Trio: Knightmare, Dreamcatcher, and Anarchy-X, three ordinary people, called upon to be the vigilante heroes of a city wrought with dark secrets. Plagued with their own personal demons, they bring it upon themselves to become the saviors in a thankless city. Under the watchful eye of their mentor Chronos, who harbors a past of darkness himself, the Trio wages a war on the villains of the city. The sadistic drug lord Animus holds grip on the underworld, while Persephone Masters, a crafty and powerful politician, sits on high in the city and hires the cold and calculating assassin, Strife, to eliminate anyone who stands in her way. The villains play River City like their own personal chess game with the veiled and mysterious Cryofire corporate power quietly plotting all the moves. With the Trio holding on to what justice there is left in the city, they are faced with unexpected challenges both within themselves and throughout the streets as they set about hunting down the men and women who have corrupted their city.

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In a city where crime seeps from its pores, the victims must become the answer to their own prayers.

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Production Company: Hive Mind Studios

Starring: Jeremy Scoggins, Louisa Torres, Derreck Fraser, Markus Porter, Kevin Arnold, Jeremiah Hinson, Jaron Scoggins.

You too can help stop evil by contributing to the cause!

Volumes of Blood

Are we all getting a little tired of anthologies by now? ABC’s of Death and V/H/S’s all over the place? Yeah? Well, screw them, watch this and have your faith in the anthology genre restored. Volumes of Blood doesn’t just wipe the floor with those two, it wipes the floor with blood (and brains…and guts…and stuff…) and remains wickedly funny throughout.

Volumes of Blood is a super indie collaborative effort out of Kentucky that involved almost 150 people (I believe – correct me if I’m wrong, P.j.!), which is pretty amazing in and of itself. MY last indie project, I was acting, co-directing, holding a boom AND getting coffee, lol. Ah….movie making….I can’t remember the last time I saw an indie look this good though, particularly a lo-budget one. “Misty! Stop talking about behind the scene crap and tell us what happens ON screen!” Yeah, yeah, I hear you…

One badass mofo

One badass mofo

Urban legends is what we have here, guys and gals. But not those silly old boring urban legends we’ve all heard a MILLION times before (no Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary here!). No, we get new urban legends, entirely made up as the film progresses. I have to admit to being a sucker for urban legends because really they’re nothing more than modern fairy tales and my fascination & study of fairy tales is a lifelong thing (that I’m going to refrain from babbling on about – see I can be good). And the legends here have some unique modern spins indeed. From demonic energy drinks to learning lessons about playing pranks to satanic encyclopedias (c’mon, this NEVER ends well!) to ghostly visitors who like to tease…you’ll have a blast from beginning to end.

What’s more is that all the effects are PRACTICAL effects which absolutely makes me shiver with delight. It’s that absolutely brilliant old-school style with just a hint of a lovely Troma-esque influence….*sighs*…..Especially the end….oh the end…There should have been more blood and gore. Yeah. Maybe that’s my one complaint. MORE of this, please!! So those of you who are into that too will def get a kick out of this one.

Blood, blood, blood, yay!

Blood, blood, blood, yay!

There’s also some really good acting going on here. Not gonna lie – sometimes grabbing your friends up to make a movie means not so wonderful acting. Just the truth. But here? Nah. These guys are GOOD. There were a couple of people who only had a line here or there that were a little stiff but all the characters that were essential held my attention and sold it. TOTES. This is even better when you know that a good portion of things were improv.

And ya know what? If I STILL haven’t managed to convince you, I’ll just let my favorite line of the movie do it.

“Learn how to die or start making Christian films!”

P.S. Check ’em out on Facebook!

Volumes of Blood Premiere – Friday the 13th (cue scary music!!!)

Awhile back I did an interview with my friend P.j. about his upcoming horror anthology, Volumes of Blood, and lo and behold the premiere is finally upon us! I, for one, am super excited about this (even if I can’t go to the premiere because distance). I think the anthology is going to be pretty cool though and I’m excited to see it when it gets a wider release. P.j. sent me this teaser short to give you guys a taste of what’s to come, so enjoy!

“Kevin Smith has always been a huge inspiration for me, so I made the decision to create my own universe around Volumes of Blood. This is just the first online short in that mission. The Preylude shows you how one of the characters from the film gets into the situation we find her in, in the film. There’s no real pay off, because the conclusion follows through in the motion picture that releases on Friday the 13th this month at the Owensboro Convention Center. Tickets are only $5 and all proceeds go to a local charity. Doors open at 7 pm. It’s gonna be a great time for a good cause.” ~P.j. Starks

If you want to learn more, check out the Volumes of Blood Facebook page!

Into the World 2: A Toddler’s Tale

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Okay, okay, I know what you all are thinking.  The girl’s finally gone made with her hectic lifestyle and no sleep and she’s gone soft.  It’s true, I don’t often review adorableness on here – I like my movies dirty and hard.  But today I make the exception as I introduce you to Logan Starks.

Logan is your typical nine year old boy except for the fact that by the time he was 8, he’d already made TWO films.  Yeah, don’t you feel under accomplished now, huh?  I think my biggest accomplishment at age 8 was reading things like Edgar Allen Poe…but I digress.  Not only is Logan your typical boy but he’s also a big brother.  Into the World 2: A Toddler’s Tale is the follow up to the first film he ever made when his little brother, Connor, was about to be born.  Now, it’s two years later and here Logan takes us on another funny, quirky and often heart felt adventure through the eyes of an eight year old trying to be a role model, protector, friend and brother.

The short film (roughly 20 minutes) chronicles the days leading up to Connor’s 2nd birthday and explores Logan’s feelings about being a brother and the boys’ relationship.  Obviously, Logan did have help making these films in the form of his father, filmmaker P.j. Starks, but Logan was completely in charge – he decided on the shots and how the shots should be edited.  It truly is his film.

And oh what a film it is.  Connor is a little bundle of cuteness and Logan has a level of maturity about him that isn’t often found in a kid his age.  Yes, he occasionally fights with his little brother but he also knows when to apologize to him and seems to spend a lot of time entertaining him.  The film covers all kinds of ground (including my personal favorite scene – a discussion of whether the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are superheroes or not) and features a few adults as guest stars.  Honestly, it’s a thing of beauty.  It’s adorable, it’s honest and it’s incredibly well made.  This ain’t your typical “home movie”.

I know some of you guys have kids and if you do, I think they’d really dig this.  Even if you don’t have kids (like me), check it out and see the world through the eyes of a child, a dreamer and someone who at the age of 8 has already accomplished more than some of us (seriously, I still can’t get over that – it’s amazing).  You can watch the entire thing below for free!

The Latest Issue of Rogue Cinema Is Here!!

Part of the faith based family films line I now review.

Part of the faith based family films line I now review.

 

A Z-horror comedy spoof that's a step above "Scary Movie"

A Z-horror comedy spoof that’s a step above “Scary Movie”

 

You know those annoying friends who always have to tell you their dreams?  This is about them...

You know those annoying friends who always have to tell you their dreams? This is about them…

 

Delightfully quirky short about the love of pain and the pain of love

Delightfully quirky short about the love of pain and the pain of love

 

Interview with PJ Starks, founder of Unscripted, a really wicked awesome film series in Kentucky

Interview with PJ Starks, founder of Unscripted, a really wicked awesome film series in Kentucky

 

Gritty family crime drama that was so much more than I expected.

Gritty family crime drama that was so much more than I expected.