THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror Author Pembroke Sinclair

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Pembroke Sinclair (Jessica Robinson) is an author of horror and the macabre, as well as an independent scholar in academia. We discuss the role of women in slasher films, talk about “final girls”, and look at her YA and adult horror novels from her “Undead” series to the human-dragon hybrids of “Wucaii.”

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Hodgepodge of Horror VII

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Jonny Numb and Billy Crash take a look at a plethora of horror films from the amazing TONY to the lowly INSEMINOID. We also dive into THE GREEN INFERNO and THE VEIL, to MADMAN and FELT. In the meantime, avoid OPEN GRAVES but definitely stop at TRAILER PARK OF TERROR. Oh, and there’s so much more…

 

 

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS:

@LianeMoonRaven  @CarmenTheater  @OliviaStantonVx  @IvonnaCadaver  @charmag10550469  @isaacrthorne  @kinky_horror  @SiaraTyr  @MelanieMcCurdie  @Theladyphantom  @OklahomaWard  @nicolemalonso  @RealJillyG  @machinemeannow  @RonGizmo  @Talk2Cleo  @RiversofGrue  @EmilieFlory  @PhoenixFiery7  @AFiendOnFilm

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Macabre Milestone: THE HUNGER (UK/USA, 1983)

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A different kind of vampire film, THE HUNGER explores love, aging, egocentrism, and much more, with the late, great David Bowie. Directed by Tony Scott, Stephen Goldblatt brought us excellent light and shadow as cinematographer, while Denny Jaeger and Michel Rubini delivered a relentless score of pure horror. The movie also showcases the amazing Catherine Deneuve and the fantastic Susan Sarandon – with a Willem Dafoe cameo. Loaded with tension and a string of thematic undertones, horror fans are rediscovering the film after Bowie’s passing – but this is a cinematic treat that should have been cherished all along…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS @sharkkteethsolo @REALsharkkteeth @RealJillyG @nine_oh @Tammysdragonfly @kidneythieves @dixiefairy @horrorandbrains @GTGMcast @MelanieMcCurdie @elizabethtraub @LianeMoonRaven @SiaraTyr @AmandaBergloff @Domiesangsty @alexcooper81 @LoudGreenBird @FriscoKidTX @ThisIsHorror @CriterionCast @petermurphyinfo @SusanSarandon

Crash Analysis: Damned Dozen: The Best Horror Sequels

final-destination-5No other genre has as many franchises as horror. And as we all know, whether commercially or independently produced, if a horror film does even remotely well, there’s a chance we’ll see at least two more of them – at least.

Oddly enough, horror is a tough genre. Most movies can’t stand on their own because they lack story and/or are poorly made. Granted, there are many films fans of the genre will disagree about, but quite often conversation comes down to one movie or another and its sequels. Though most sequels are despised because they are watered down versions of the original, some stand tall, maybe even taller than the original.

Here’s my list, for better or worse, that got it right.

 

Day of the Dead (1985) – 3 stars

Some complain that this third installment from George A. Romero in his much loved “Dead” series is a bit too talky, but that’s the point. Unlike the first two action based movies, this one centers on the drama surrounding a military outpost. From many reports, Romero couldn’t secure the budget for a bigger venture, so he went into the Wampum Mine near Pittsburgh and made this claustrophobic horror happen.

 

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – 3 stars

Much maligned by some “Halloween Purists”, this film fits right in with John Carpenter’s original intention for the series: to make a new “Halloween” film each year. Yes, the robots are a stretch, but this first horror movie from writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace has a chilling premise as a druid tries to unleash his power, and star, Tom “Thrill Me” Atkins rocks his role. Enjoy the suspense because, as of this posting, there’s only 284 days to Halloween…

 

The Human Centipede III (2015) – 3 stars

This is a much hated capstone to Tom Sixx’s creepy-crawlie franchise of mad scientist mayhem, but actor Dieter Laser brings the intensity as if he consumed the spirit of Dennis Hopper from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. The comedy, satire, and carnage come to a master mixx of blood and sarcasm in an American prison gone mad. The great thing is that Sixx doesn’t take himself seriously and purposefully went over the top, and out, with a naked dance.

 

Inferno (Italy, 1980) – 3 stars

Part of Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy, this element features the Mother of Darkness (Mater Tenebrarum). The film works on many levels thanks to wonderful color and cinematography from Romano Albini, and lighting and special visual effects from the renowned Mario Bava. Yes, from the beginning the story lacks structure and remains convoluted. However, this orientation (or disorientation) only adds to the terror as we fall deep into a coven of witches.

 

Leprechaun 3 (1995) – 3 stars

With a strong story, thanks to screen scribe David DuBos, the great Warwick Davis finds himself immersed in a solid adventure for a change. But making wishes in Las Vegas with a leprechaun’s coin may not be the smartest move in the world, which keeps the tale moving in laughs and gore. The acting is anchored by the fabulous Caroline Williams (who will appear in this year’s Blood Feast remake) in this fatal adventure in “Sin City”.

 

Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991) – 3 stars

If you have to see one of Charles Band’s Puppet Master movies, this is the one. Directed by the prolific genre helmsman, David DeCoteau, with a story from C. Courtney Joyner, we have a tight tale of Nazis, puppets, and horror. Better yet, the villain is the always stellar Richard Lynch, and the cast also includes the great Guy Rolfe as Toulon, as well as Ian Abercrombie. All three are gone, but they live on in this Full Moon Production.

 

Wishing Stairs (South Korea, 2003) – 3 stars

Two friends, played by Ji-hyo Song and Han-byeol Park, study ballet at an out of the way boarding school with an interesting staircase of 28 steps – because if one counts up to the mysterious 29th step, which may suddenly appear, she gets a wish that is a far cry from being free. One of only two films from director Jae-yeon Yun, he successfully nails the ghostly creep factor thanks to great acting and Jeong-min Seo’s cinematography.

 

Evil Dead II (1987) – 3.5 stars

A retelling of the 1981 original, or a sequel rehash? Who cares. Superior to the first film, and devoid of Army of Darkness’s silliness, the most excellent Bruce Campbell reprises his role of Ash and takes on the demons from the skin covered “Necronomicon.” Relentless gore and comedy keep the movie rocking in groovy fashion as Sam Raimi and his 1973 Olds deliver his best work – ever. You can even find his brother Ted as zombie Henrietta. Hail to the King, baby!

 

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (UK/USA, 1988) – 3.5 stars

No one believes poor Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) about the Cenobites and the bloodbath they’ve left behind, so she finds herself in a psychiatric hospital. This is where bizarro Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham) resurrects her evil (or single minded?) stepmother (Claire Higgins). Soon the puzzle box is opened and the surreal realm of Pinhead (Doug Bradley) is revealed in Salvador Dali like fashion. Enjoy the terror trip.

 

Saw II (USA/Canada, 2005) – 3.5 stars

The entire Saw series, including its mistake ridden original, tried to outdo itself with convoluted time shifts and wilder traps, but this is the only segment to get it all right: from fear and isolation, to group dynamics and a mental chess playing mastermind in John Kramer (Tobin Bell) out to teach lessons to those who have squandered life. The movie is a twisted adventure of physical torment and psychological hardship from director Darren Lynn Bousman.

 

Final Destination 5 (USA/Canada/Hong Kong/Singapore, 2011) – 4 stars

Once again, we find a group of young people who cheat Death and struggle to survive as they are brought back into the folds of its moth-eaten coat of rot. Unlike the other stories in the franchise, this one is well-rounded, inhabited by interesting characters, and the movie incorporates the best suspenseful death scene in the series. Better still, the unexpected ending is clearly worth a rental for those fans who like a turn for the worst with their horror features.

 

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) – 4 stars

A new family, a new video, and a box of old VHS tapes, brings us some creepy footage and an accompanying array of scares. Cinematographer Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith) moves in with his girlfriend Julie (Lauren Bittner) only to discover that her daughters’ imaginary friend Tobi might be a real, evil entity. The pace is strong, the characters solid, and those elements of fear keep on coming.

 

Outside of the genre, I have one sequel that is a guilty pleasure I cannot do without, and that’s Richard Roundtree’s Shaft in Africa (1973). Yes, it’s a 3.5 star favorite as Shaft finds himself overseas trying to break up a modern slavery ring out of Paris – and it rocks! So what are your favorite sequels? Better still, do you have a favorite franchise? If so, let me know in the comments section so we can talk about. After all, there are so many damn sequels, I’m sure I’ll face palm myself over some of your choices.

Remember to catch the latest episode of THE LAST KNOCK horror podcast every Sunday night at 9 PM ET, right here or on iTunes. Cohost Jonny Numb and I promise to bring you worthwhile shows serving as forays into the uncanny – and beyond.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Loving the Villain

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Why the hell do we love villains in horror films so much – especially when they get a thrill out of killing innocent people? We explore the foundations of villain worship from Freddy Krueger to Pinhead and beyond. Better still, we have decent answers as to why it’s okay to like the bad guy.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS go @dvdinfatuation @morbidofest @i_far @RonGizmo @machinemeannow @DearlyDDolls @AnnThraxx @TheNakedPorch @Talk2Cleo @DawnHillDesigns @REDVAMPIREWOMAN @Bernice_Fischer @RealJillyG @GBMadeIIDuce @nine_oh @lvfifo @DanielRoebuck @kelsiemorales @TheresaSnyder19 @tammysdragonfly @stycks_girl @theadman40 @12orphans @DavidWilde49 @CRIMELORDSERIAL @sharkkteethsolo @REALsharkkteeth @EXTREMEINDIE @TrashFilmGuru @isaacrthorne @GorillaProducer @flickmixx @DarkDiscussion1

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Those We Lost in Horror 2015

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We celebrate the careers of those we lost in 2015 horror entertainment, from Christopher Lee and Wes Craven to Gunnar Hansen and Patrick Macnee, and sadly, many more. Learn about their lives, their films, and their horror legacy.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS go @DreamersRevolt @MelanieMcCurdie @HaveSippy @Talk2Cleo @Guyjo63 @RECTORYFILM @badasspeterg @KEVONSTOVER @RonGizmo @douglasi @MichaelSDoyle @Sames Carolyn  @Dee_Wallace @pheltzcomics @zdravkost @palkodesigns @DearlyDDolls @VicsMovieDen @TheNakedPorch

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Bad to the Best of 2015’s Horror Cinema

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From Knock Knock, Dark Summer, and The Lazarus Effect to The Editor, Almost Mercy, and Unfriended, we look at 2015’s horror offerings from bad to the best. Learn about those you missed, those you might love, and those you definitely want to avoid – because the latter falls into the “horrible” category for certain. Enjoy!

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS go @AnnThraxx @theadman40 @RiversofGrue @aicforever @PromoteHorror @BleedingCritic @svbell @1AshleyLaurence @DawnHillDesigns @MichaelFrostChi @Talk2Cleo @tammysdragonfly @L_Roy_Aiken @Guyjo63 @MagnoliaPics @machinemeannow @MelanieMcCurdie @RealJillyG @palkodesigns @LatashFigueroa @GTGMcast @VicsMovieDen @RandyBrzoska @EmilieFlory

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Author Thomas S. Flowers

The Last KnockThomas S. Flowers brings you, “Emerging”, the very latest in his “Subdue” series. Find out why the author loves horror and how it’s helped him combat PTSD as a veteran serviceman.

You can find “Emerging” and other works from Thomas right here:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-S-Flowers/e/B008ML8VBE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1450921476&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

Crash Analysis: Attack on Titan Part I and II (Japan, 2015)

 

maxresdefaultIn the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, if you love science fantasy, but want something a bit more horror ridden, check out Shinji Higuchi’s live action two-parter Attack on Titan.

The two films are based on the much loved anime series, which is based upon writer/illustrator Hajime Isayama’s renowned manga. The story revolves around the emotional and enraged Eren (Haruma Miura), his half-sister, Mikasa (Kiko Mizuhara), and their friend Armin (Kanata Hongo). The three live with the rest of humanity in giant walled cities to protect them from attacks from gigantic Titans that feed on human flesh. The Titans are naked, have no reproductive organs, and are oddly stoic as they attempt to invade and consume. No one knows where they came from, what they really want, or how to get rid of them.

Sound pretty wild? It is. But for fans of the anime series, the problem with the films exists in the fact that story and characters are compressed, and some storylines have changed. In addition, thematic value is compromised. Fans of the much more explicit and gory manga are disappointed that the anime series held back, although they may appreciate the films more. What many fans fail to understand is that manga is manga, an animated series is an animated series, and a film is a film. They are three distinct artistic entities. After all, there is no way to encapsulate the animated series into roughly four hours of film, which means characters and storylines have to be altered, combined, or abandoned. The best a fan can do is take each entity as something whole and unique, and try not to draw comparisons. Screenwriters Yusuke Watanbe and Tomohiro Machiyama worked hard to bring fans and newcomers alike a solid storytelling experience (especially in Part One), and one can only imagine the difficult task they had trying to compress such a mountain of material.

“Attack on Titan” is the first series I ever binge watched. The story not only captured my imagination, but the series could have been called “Pure Rage” thanks to Eren’s drive to destroy the Titans. This intensity did spill over into both films, but to a lesser degree, which did not detract from the overall storyline.

Attack on Titan Part I is certainly the better of the pair. In this portion of the tale, we are not only exposed to the origin of renewed attacks against the city, but we soon learn that the wealthiest reside in the innermost walled territory, which means that the poor immediately inside the walls are fodder for the Titans and serve as a buffer appetizer. Although the series explores the layers of politics and military units in greater detail, new viewers should easily understand what’s happening.

The Titans are formidable and frightening – and relentless. They’re so hungry for human flesh, which must be the equivalent to us eating shrimp, that they consume souls fully clothed. Special Effects Director Katsuro Onoue certainly did an excellent job in bringing the terror on a grand scale. The special effects, combined with Shoji Ehara’s strong cinematography, helped capture a fantastical walled world that shone as something both intimate as well as terrifying.

The second part is more of an elongated action sequence as the army goes outside the walls to confront the Titans head on. Moreover, the movie becomes surreal at points as if David Lynch walked on as a consultant. Either way, we learn of the Titans’ origin, and learn of the fate of our heroes and the future of the walled cities. Once again, however, themes prevalent within the series have been sacrificed, which is a disappointment.

Both films make for a decent double feature in your own home. If you have not seen the animated series, or indulged in the manga and novels, you will most likely engage in them once Shinji Higuchi’s films capture your imagination. In that regard, the films serve as a great launch pad for the wild world Hajime Isayama created for us.

Attack on Titan Part I: 3 out of 5 stars

Attack on Titan Part II: 2.5 out of 5 stars

(Photo from YouTube.)

THE LAST KNOCK presents: KRAMPUS (2015)

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Yes, it does matter if you’ve been naughty or nice, but we’re not talking about getting coal in your stocking for being a jerkface meanyhead. In this case, it’s all about Krampus, the anti-Santa, and what happens to a little kid when he loses faith in the holiday and the man in the big red suit. Learn about the Austrian origins of Krampus, how the legend has been twisted through time, and if this feature is worth a holiday horror viewing.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS go to: @FriscoKidTX @dkarner @RonGizmo @palkodesigns @wilkravitz @TheresaSnyder19 @AmandaBergloff @MichaelSDoyle @biancabradey @RiverCityOtter @RealJillyG @MelanieMcCurdie @AnnThraxx @theadman40 @madmanmendez @DawnHillDesigns @Talk2Cleo @NylaVox @mariaolsen66 @RiversofGrue @FacultyofHorror @KrampusMovie