THE LAST KNOCK presents: Remembering George A. Romero

The Last KnockGeorge A. Romero brought the world a new kind of ghoul in 1968 with his seminal film, Night of the Living Dead. Since then, the social conscientious independent went on to write, produce, and helm many films around his adopted city of Pittsburgh.

Romero wasn’t just an indie filmmaker, but a career maker for some and an inspiration to others. We’ll look at this renowned gentleman and his life, and his work from the remainder of his “dead” series, to Martin, Creepshow, and more.

Horror lost a beloved director and master of the genre on July 16, but we extend our condolences and very best wishes to his family and friend because they lost much more.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS from Twitter: 

@THETomSavini @TheRealKenForee @Jamplas @StephenKing @TedDanson @abarbeau @LynnLynnlowry @G_Nicotero @LoriRogal @timhutton @RookerOnline @JohnLeguizamo @JordanPeele @palkodesigns @TraCee_tr @AFiendOnFilm @LoudGreenBird @JessicaCameron_ @RonGizmo

TRUTH OR DARE (2013) by Jonny Numb

[84 minutes. Unrated. Director: Jessica Cameron]

I’ve only done one interview for THE LAST KNOCK podcast, but it was very special: back in early 2014, I spoke with Jessica Cameron, who was on a promotional kick for her directorial debut, Truth or Dare. I knew of her status as a prolific, hard-working actor and rabid adherent of the genre, but it wasn’t until I spent a fast-moving hour with her (via Skype) that I realized I was in the presence of a promising new horror filmmaker.

Truth or Dare is not without its flaws – which I’ll get to – but it also does a lot of things very well, considering the limited setting, cast, and resources. It’s hard to keep a feature-length movie confined to a single location interesting and exciting, but Cameron finds a way.

True to its title, the film doesn’t flinch from horrible things – it’s also so saturated with screams, shouting, and agony that my neighbors probably thought someone was being murdered in my apartment.

Other than some fleeting comedic asides and a satirical element that recalls the likes of Natural Born Killers and Funny Games, Truth or Dare takes its extremes seriously. The setup, however, is pure Saw territory that evolves, with mounting dread, into the no-(wo)man’s land found in the latter Human Centipede films.

The plot is simple: a group of friends gain online notoriety by staging “truth or dare” videos with simulated life-or-death consequences. During a local talk-show interview, the group is confronted by crazed fan Derek (Ryan Kizer), a screw-loose nutcase unable to discern fiction from reality. On the night of their latest recording session, the friends find themselves taken hostage by this obsessed fiend, who escalates the stakes by revealing everyone’s hidden secrets.

The script (by Jonathan Scott Higgins and Cameron) knows its audience, and aims squarely for the horror discomfort zone: while the initial “truth”-telling by the reluctant participants comes across as a string of contrived tabloid behaviors, fetishes, and misdeeds, the actors are committed to making these details pay off in ways both visceral and emotional. Late in the game, when a mutilated and brutalized (but still breathing) character is shocked into consciousness by a bucket of her friends’ blood, Cameron has reached a level of degradation that few horror filmmakers ever achieve. It ain’t pretty, but goddamn if it isn’t effective.

The flaws of Truth or Dare are mostly innate to the setup…and, in a weird way, could be subliminal strengths. When the reality of the game settles in, the performances take a little time to find their proper footing – sometimes the hysterical reactions are overdone, while others don’t resonate enough. There are also moments where characters, free from their constraints and armed, could conceivably get the drop on Derek, but do not (though by the time this happens, everyone is implicated and chugging along with the game’s twisted logic). And as the emcee of the festivities, Kizer (invoking a cross between Charles Manson and Brad Pitt’s character in 12 Monkeys) is charismatic, albeit the type of deranged fan we’ve seen in many films; he acquits himself well as someone you love to hate, but also whose presence outstays its welcome.

But if the intent was for the viewer’s experience to reflect to characters’, Cameron has succeeded in spades.

The consistent surprise, in addition to the character-based revelations, is the film’s unflinching embrace of bloodshed. Carrie Mercado’s practical effects in Truth or Dare are stunning in their in-your-face brutality, and the actors convey every wound with disquieting conviction – the violence here is not “cool,” but closer to the messy, handmade gore you’d experience in, say, a Jim VanBebber film. Throughout, I also found myself thinking the effects were a spiritual heir to the pioneering extremes of Herschell Gordon Lewis.

Once the credits rolled, I was convinced of Cameron’s skills in front of and behind the camera, and in watching the supplemental interview footage on the DVD, was reminded of her genuine affection for the genre. Truth or Dare is a very distinct calling card that bodes well for her future directorial outings (including the Tristan Risk-starring Mania) – I can’t wait to see what horrible things she brings us next.

What’s Jessica Cameron up to now? A lot! Get the details at her website.

(Truth or Dare is available on DVD from Invincible Pictures, and digitally via online retailers.)

(Photo of Jessica Cameron via Nerdly.)

Crash Analysis Support Team:

unknownJonny Numb (aka Jonathan Weidler) only plays favorites when it comes to review sites like Crash Palace Productions and loudgreenbird.com. He co-hosts THE LAST KNOCK horror podcast on iTunes, and can also be found on Twitter and Letterboxd.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Terror Technology

The Last KnockWithout technology, the western world would be living as if in the Dark Ages. To imagine life without a microwave, a personal computer, or a cell phone would make many souls break down in tears. However, if horror cinema has taught us anything, it’s that the things we love to cling to for ease or safety are illusions – and can be used against us at any time.

So join Billy and Jonny as they look at terror technology from Nightmare Weekend and Unfriended to Chopping Mall and Hardware – and other Frankensteinian like creations from metal, plastic, and such. Now, pat the top of your computer, treat your car to some air freshener, and don’t you dare turn your back on your wide screen television, and listen in…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS from Twitter: 

@HORROREVERSION @TraCee_tr @damienleveck @RealJillyG @Gdl16 @OwenMcCuenQuest @KeyzKeyzworth @isaacrthorne @d_m_elms @TheFilmNoirGuy @rosebyanyother7 @RonGizmo @jacq0lantern @GuyRicketts @HellinspaceStor @cjzisi @LoudGreenBird @FriscoKidTX @dixiefairy @TheHorrorMaster @ImKeithDavid @RealMegFoster @BobbyBurke @GeorgeARomeros @billoberstjr @HeatherSossaman @JohnLeguizamo @barbaracrampton @RobertBEnglund @FrankTlevine @Kent_Harper @JuliaOrmond @ryan_the_ryan @DAVID_LYNCH @gordonkeith @StephenKing @RichardStanley7 @DylanMcDermott @StaceyTravis777 @MrJCLynch @IggyPop @RealCliveBarker @KristySwansonXO and Paul J. Williams

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Ron Shaw

The Last KnockRon Shaw is a writer, author, poet, podcaster, retiree, husband, father, and the man behind Ron Shaw Media. We discuss his latest horror novel, “Uya” and its Native American origins besides bigfoot, ducks in trees, land sharks, and the haunted Victorian trunk in his garage.

Take a look at Ron’s tremendous body of work  at his author’s page on Amazon, and don’t forget to follow him on Twitter.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS from Twitter: 

@palkodesigns @JonnyNumb @Kent_Harper @livF2 @vanyavetto @1Brandonwyse

Get Ron Shaw’s Uya with a cover from Palko Designs.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror Double Feature: SPLIT and THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER

The Last Knock

Another interesting mix of horror with M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and Oz Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter. We’ll explore what works, what doesn’t, what’s cool, and what’s a far cry from worth watching.

We’ll discuss if Night’s slipping even though he’s returned to making “smaller” films. But is Oz Perkins’ star rising? Both films have received mixed reviews, but for horror fans, The Blackcoat’s Daughter seems to have an edge. We’ll weigh in, and don’t forget to share your views in the comments section.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS from Twitter: 

@AFiendOnFilm @Mark_Cassell @TraCee_tr @GuyRicketts @LizzyStevens123 @wilkravitz @KissedByFate2 @tammysdragonfly @SeanMaxwell @RealJillyG @PromoteHorror @dixiefairy @palkodesigns @BettyBuckley @kiernanshipka @juliekirkwooddp @ElvisPerkins

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Bill Oberst Jr.

The Last Knock

Bill Oberst Jr., one of the horror genre’s finest and most revered, chats with Billy Crash about movies, theatre, acting, Ray Bradbury, life, and so much more.

Please do not miss this interview with one fantastic and engaging gentleman. Bill Oberst Jr. is someone special who has earned an Emmy and many other accolades from being on the large and small screen over the past decade. Listen in and you’ll find out why he’s been so successful – and why he’s so respected.

Please visit Bill Oberst Jr.‘s website, Facebook, and Twitter – you won’t be disappointed.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror Double Feature: Antibirth and The Love Witch

The Last KnockNo two horror films could be so diametrically opposed. Antibirth is a gritty bizarro film with a 1980’s flavor and The Love Witch comes on with romance through the eyes of a desperate woman. But are they worth watching? And if you’re a fan and supporter of “Women in Horror,” you’ll definitely be interested in these two independent movies.

We go knee deep into both features and deliver our take on Antibirth, The Love Witch, the people who made them, and the people who starred in them for better or worse – and definitely until death due us part.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS from Twitter: 

@TimothiousSmith @TraCee_tr @dkarner @SamesCarolyn @AFiendOnFilm @Kent_Harper @aicforever @cbkillers @RealJillyG @BleedingCritic @isaacrthorne @d_m_elms @palkodesigns @JessicaCameron_ @CarnEvilKlown @RonGizmo @CrypticPictures @nicolemalonso @OklahomaWard @missannabiller @msrobinsun @GianKeys @JeffreyVParise @antibirthmovie @nlyonne @OfficialChloeS

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with David Wilde

The Last Knock

Independent filmmaker, David Wilde, visits THE LAST KNOCK to discuss his latest feature, the crime thriller, Cold-Blooded Killers. The story revolves around a pair of hitmen on the Scottish Island of Arran who have three days to take out their target.

David Wilde also talks about funding independent films, the making of his horror film Screen starring Nikki Alonso of Crawl or Die, the Hollywood machine, and what happened when he visited the set of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” He’ll also give us the latest on his Crime Lord serial, which will recommence shooting this summer. Don’t miss this candid and entertaining interview with one driven artist.

You can find David Wilde on Twitter and Instagram, and check out his projects: the Twitter and site for Crime Lord, and the Twitter and site for Cold-Blooded Killers.

 

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with TTBO Productions and Owen McCuen

The Last Knock

Kyle Schiffert and Ryan Fox of TTBO Productions, and actor Owen McCuen stop by to speak with Billy Crash about their latest full feature venture. The team’s creating the science fiction time travel thriller, Replace Yourself. A man goes back in time to save his wife and daughter, but he can’t come back, and his old self’s already there…

Find out TTBO Production’s plan to get this indie film squared away, how the phenomenal Owen McCuen fits into the mix, and how you can be a part of the production by visiting their Kickstarter.

THE LAST KNOCK horror podcast presents: ALIEN: COVENANT

The Last Knock

Director Ridley Scott returns with Alien: Covenant, another sci-fi/horror cog in the cosmos. We take a look at the latest installment of the Alien franchise to see if it’s worth another trip into outer space. We not only delve into Alien: Covenant and its value, but focus on Scott, as well as the movie’s writing, mythos, and its thematic resonance,  and if it’s worth rushing out for the next sequel. In space, no one can hear you scream, and no one can hear 20th Century Fox laugh all away to the bank…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS from Twitter: 

@machinemeannow @sharkkteethsolo @TraCee_tr @CrypticPictures @MelanieMcCurdie @skipbolden @Kent_Harper @RealJillyG @dkarner @RSBrzoska @inthenightdoc @PromoteHorror @palkodesigns @LoudGreenBird @FriscoKidTX @BleedingCritic