THE LAST KNOCK presents: Quirky Horror

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Quirky means strange in a cool way. Thankfully some horror films take this to heart from ERASERHEAD to MAY, and from NIGHT OF THE CREEPS to EXCISION – among others, of course. We take a look at why and how quirkiness works, and what the films add to the horror genre in general. And don’t think being quirky has to do with gut-busting comedy or slapstick. Hell, too bad we hadn’t watched HE NEVER DIED in time.

Now, the show gets off to a quirky start because, for whatever Skype related reason, we catch the phenomenal Jonny Numb mid-sentence. Just remember, it begins with “Quirky”…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS:
@RealJillyG  @judyrey  @machinemeannow  @Tammysdragonfly  @JohnnyDaggers2 @MortalRemains  @sarahsweets83  @LatashFigueroa  @RonGizmo  @FriscoKidTX  @SiaraTyr  @MelanieMcCurdie  @ChiliHB  @PhoenixFiery7  @WyndotteStreet  @GorillaProducer @charmag10550469  @theadman40  @RSBrzoska  @LoudGreenBird  @SamesCarolyn  @mjathols  @RECTORYFILM @RiverCityOtter  @AnnThraxx  @Talk2Cleo  @VicsMovieDen  @EmilieFlory  @jerryWalach  @CarryOnJohn

THE LAST KNOCK podcast presents: Interview with Writer and Poet Gillian Anne Gibson

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Gillian Anne Gibson, best known to friends and fans, as Jilly G, visits to discuss her horror poetry and writing, and her photography that evokes one hell of a profound mood. Don’t miss this wonderful discussion with a vibrant spirit who loves to keep it crimson! Besides Jilly’s work, we discuss horror cinema and “The Walking Dead”.

Follow Jilly G on Twitter and don’t forget her enthralling website at Crimson Quintessence. In addition, here’s her novelette, A Crimson Crime in Abernathy.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Our WTF? Show

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No lie, this is our “WTF?” episode that includes, well… You’ll just have to listen in and find out for yourself.

As horror podcasts go, we did have a bit of a ghost in the machine, which didn’t ruin the audio, but we certainly hit a stride at the ten-minute mark.

Enjoy the horror carnage!

This episode’s SCREAM OUT: @theadman40

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Monster Mania

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This March, we traveled to Monster Mania at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ. We share the stories of our horror filled excursion from vendors to guests, and why this convention for fans of the genre is one of the very best on the east coast. And yes, we talk about food, cosplayers, and even the trouble with bootleg DVDs. Take a monster walk on the mania side and find out what you missed…

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS:
@RealJillyG  @SmartMouthGirl  @MortalRemains  @FriscoKidTX  @SiaraTyr  @TheRealZoeBell  @CrypticPictures  @MelanieMcCurdie  @nicolemalonso  @slicknick52  @charmag10550469   @sarahsweets83  @theadman40  @jsenhaji13  @svbell  @MatthewLillard  @BleedingCritic @CrownePlaza  @theResidents  @shadream  @stuartbedlam  @mjathols  @OklahomaWard  @Tammysdragonfly  @machinemeannow  @IamMelanieWise  @wholehogcafebbq  @Jedowdle @Artemis_FF  @vhsps  @MonsterManiaCon  @ktanimara  and Paul J. Williams

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Interview with Filmmaker David Wilde

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The independent filmmaker, David Wilde (David Paul Baker) returns to the podcast to talk about his “all or nothing” web series, CRIME LORD. We discuss filmmaking, funding, and the fact that DIY films are both rewarding and life draining. Discover what drives David to create in spite of the odds, and why he’s an inspiration to all artists pursuing their goals of leaving an impression.

You can find David at his CRIME LORD site and on Twitter. Here, you can the most up to date information about the CRIME LORD SERIES.

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror at the Oscars

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We all know the score: The Oscars hates horror. Why? We’ll tell you, but we’ll also share horror cinema’s triumphs in Tinsel Town, from THE EXORCIST’s multiple nominations to Coppola’s DRACULA’s three wins. And we’ll definitely focus on the Academy’s major misses, from the dramatic horror ROSEMARY’S BABY to ALIEN, JACOB’S LADDER, the problem with Hollywood’s lack of diversity, and what Jonny Numb calls the democratization of cinema.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS:

@WORRODRoger @IamMelanieWise  @AmandaBergloff  @RealJillyG @XcentricModels @MelanieMcCurdie @IvonnaCadaver @ABsHorrorshow  @ShirleyMaeSFans  @DeadAsHellHP  @LianeMoonRaven @Olivia__Rich  @LoudGreenBird  @EXTREMEINDIE  @silentenigma9  @SamesCarolyn @nicolemalonso @The_Real_Karry @DearlyDDolls @theadman40 @PhoenixFiery7 @isaacrthorne @themoviescribe @amandawriter @FriscoKidTX @nadya_kasyanova @tsouthcotte @CarmenTheater @AFiendOnFilm @AnnThraxx @wilkravitz @OklahomaWard @HEPodcast

Crash Analysis Support Team: All My Friends Are Psychopaths – Guest Post from Ryan Kramer

police-line-do-not-crossA week ago I found out a guy I hung out with in high school killed someone.  His name was Steve.  And he stabbed some kid to death in his apartment during the middle of the night.  The police found him later wandering the streets with blood all over him, and he confessed to the killing right there.  He’d given no motive for doing what he did.  He’d just done it.

After reading the news story, the whole thing felt like a horror movie to me.  A bloody killer stalking the streets at night – all that was missing was the FX mask and film crew.  But this was different.  It occurred to me that, being an avid fan of horror movies, I had seen my fair share of torture and dismemberment on the big screen.  Hell, my friends and I often consider watching Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs as a rite of passage into the upper echelons of fucked up.  I had seen it all.  But just thinking about Steve stabbing that kid horrified me in a way that I couldn’t understand.

I realized that this was the first time I had any real connection to the horror.  Even though I hadn’t even been near the crime scene, that killing spread out and touched me and everyone else who’d known the murderer or the victim.  It transcended the TV and the news.  And I realized just how, in actuality, ignorant to real violence I was.  And in re-evaluation, I began to think about what horror movies actually meant to me.

Horror plays into the unknown.  A reason a person watches a horror movie can be likened to the reason a person might watch a war movie.  It is an attempt to experience something that we don’t see every day.  Granted, I know some people just love the addictive rush from being scared.  In an interview with The Atlantic, Dr. Margee Kerr, a “scare specialist,” stated that “…there are some of us (well, a lot of us) who really enjoy the experience.  Lots of people…enjoy scary situations because it leaves them with a sense of confidence after it’s over.”  But, no matter what the reason, in a way, we use horror to provide a kind of delusion that we can handle the unknown, especially the greatest unknowns of death and darkness.

We might try to understand these things through horror.  But it’s akin to passing roadkill on the side the road.  It’s there, and then it’s gone.  Dr. Kerr went on to say that, to enjoy a scary situation, one has to know they are in a safe environment.  So this is the closest you can get to experiencing death and darkness on your own terms.  People want the danger, but they also want the safety net.  When the credits roll, you are free to let fear sink in as you please.

Not to say that this is a bad thing.  I doubt anyone would want to experience true horror. Well, maybe some of us, like people who go into haunted houses where a waiver must be signed before they’ll let you enter.  Then you can be physically and emotionally tortured as much as you want.  That feeling of wanting to push the limit speaks to just how weird the human brain can be.  You can be terrified but want to come back for more.  And because of this I think we develop an affection for those monsters that scare us.

I’m not going to preach that I’m apart from this.  After watching The Babadook, I became infatuated with the film, as it portrayed things that scared me as a child: waking up at night and having the dark play tricks on you.  The Babadook was the perfect boogeyman to me, as the tall, long fingered monster stayed on my mind.  That horrific entity, which provides the catalyst for our own personal fears, is often what we crave.  But there are other aspects to horror monsters that go beyond just scaring us.

I often consider many movie monsters as friends.  They represent the outcasts.  They embody not fitting in with the rest of the world.  Anyone who has seen Nightbreed can attest to the persecution that the monsters face.  And most horror flicks center around sweet revenge, getting back at those who wronged you.  I cared little for the teenagers that Jason Voorhees chopped up time and again because, to me, they were the popular kids who used to piss me off in high school.  I didn’t instantly want to pick up a machete and a hockey mask, but it did give me a grim satisfaction to watch their demise.

That was me peeking into the dark side of my brain.  Horror does that.  It lets you shake hands with your personal Mr. Hyde.  And maybe this is because we want to define where the dark side is to ourselves.  In the 2012 remake of William Lustig’s Maniac, we are forced to watch the killings through the eyes of the killer.  The first person camera shots put us so close to Elijah Wood’s murderous acts that we feel we are the ones committing them.  I guess this pseudo “doing” might lead to a new understanding.  Seeing a villain on screen, you know for a fact that that character is an evil person.  Even if there is a reason to pity the monster, the monster still acts the monster.  But it doesn’t always work like that in real life.

When my friends and I hung around with Steve, it was pretty much accepted that he was a little bit off.  He never mentioned wanting to hurt anybody.  He would just make wild statements, like that the giant sore on his lip was cancer or that he was half tractor.  Steve was also a big guy, and he looked like he could be a distant relative of the Firefly family. Whenever I talked with him though, Steve spoke in a deep voice and had a kind demeanor.  I never considered that he would go over the edge.

But, all things considered, there was something scary about him, a thought that he could do a lot of damage if he wanted to.  I wonder if that was me sensing something bad in him waiting to come out.  I’m sure everyone has met that one person who they weren’t so sure of, and you might wonder if it is only a matter of time before that person’s psyche splits wide open.  And if it does, the desire to know why will be there.

I’m not certain I’ll ever learn the real reason Steve did what he did.  I only have my horror, and most times horror can give us a reason why bad things happen the way they do.  At the very least the villain reveals his/her intentions, and that there is a grand point to it all.  But what scares me is there may be no point in Steve’s case.  Not every decision is a grand plan.  And like college students deciding to visit a remote cabin in the woods, to quote Ann Rule: “Looking back, we see it is often casual choices which chart a path to tragedy.”

Ryan Kramer is a writer whose works have appeared in both Shoofly and Xanadu literary magazine.  When not writing, he enjoys traveling the cosmos with the great martian, Ray Bradbury.  You can contact him on Facebook, or email him at ryankramer565@yahoo.com.   

(Photo from News Wire.)

THE LAST KNOCK presents: Horror Double Feature: DEATHGASM and BONE TOMAHAWK

The Last Knock

Besides the horror genre, what do DEATHGASM and BONE TOMAHAWK have in common? Nothing, dammit (except low budgets). But we love the dichotomy, the contrast, and the juxtaposition between the death metal comedy mayhem of DEATHGASM, and the gut wrenching western power of BONE TOMAHAWK. Find out why these horror films rock — and why they should be on your watch list.

This episode’s SCREAM OUTS:

@Tammysdragonfly  @TheresaSnyder19  @SheriDeNatale @MelanieMcCurdie  @RealJillyG  @Theladyphantom  @SiaraTyr  @DEATHGASMFilm  @LianeMoonRaven  @RonGizmo  @ChiliHB   @CarmenTheater  @Firstscreamto  @TVPodcast  @silentenigma9  @slicknick52  @Talk2Cleo @RSBrzoska  @isaacrthorne  @TheDeadCanWrite  @palkodesigns  @AnnThraxx  @EXTREMEINDIE  @AFiendOnFilm

Crash Analysis: MORTAL REMAINS (2013)

blogger-image--1886723866What’s in a name? Everything. I’m not talking about some idiot politician or reality TV “celebrity” whose names are actually reflective of forgettable caricatures of humanity. This is about those among us whose names make us stop in our tracks and think about the world – and our next step. In the criminal kingdom, Keyser Soze helps parents keep their kids in check from ratting on bad guys, and for some Christians, the mentioning of Krampus during the holidays can puts kids into a freaked out coma, but for fans of horror, if someone brings up underground indie filmmaker Karl Atticus, grown men have been known to curl into a fetal position and sob.

In Mortal Remains, we follow filmmakers Mark Ricche and Christian Stavrakis on the trail of missing footage from Karl Atticus’s only known films. Why are they significant? The content was so abhorrent and reprehensible that audience members tore up the theatre in Baltimore where one was shown, and took the riot into the streets. What’s worse, Atticus supposedly used real cadaver parts in the films, far more than the Chinese government would in Men Behind the Sun some fifteen years later. Granted, horror fans would love to see a filmmaker use genuine body parts, therefore, I think Atticus actually murdered some of the actors on screen. This would clearly make Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust look like kindergarten movie time.

Before Mark and Christian can come to a conclusion about the nightmarish footage – they have to find it first. For one thing, no one has seen any of the material in roughly forty years, though some horror fans hint that they’ve seen a few seconds here and there. The second problem: Karl Atticus, the man at the center of the storm, is dead and gone. This happened soon after the theatre riot. As with everything else surrounding Atticus – and I dare you to find a birth certificate or an official death report – the stories surrounding his demise range from suicide to murder. From the extensive investigation of Mark and Christian alone, there is no way Atticus would have taken his own life, unless it was to somehow gain more dark power. Think resurrection of the antichrist. Regardless, Atticus, or whatever his real name is, became a ghost. Then again, maybe he always was a ghost.

This incredible, suspenseful journey of Mark and Christian will leave horror fans with a hearty lump in the throat. And even if you don’t sit on the edge of your seat, you will undoubtedly white knuckle the couch. I had the pleasure of watching Mortal Remains with my THE LAST KNOCK horror podcast cohost, Jonny Numb. We both had similar and intense reactions to the film. Hell, to engage with a horror that actually crawls under your skin is saying something, and to have one that leaves a lasting impression and plagues one’s thoughts is something much more. I still have those unsettling feelings from the first watch.

Moreover, many seem to hate the found footage or “mockumentary” sub-genre in horror. Right after Lance Weiler’s The Last Broadcast came the seminal word-of-mouth sensation, The Blair Witch Project and the sub-genre became cemented in the genre with usually low budgets, small crews, and no-name cast members. Yes, many found footage films seem to lack originality, and most viewers wonder why the videographer on screen doesn’t drop the camera and run for it, but Mortal Remains gets it right and that’s why it’s in my top three for best found footage films ever made (it’s in good company with Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, followed by The Blair Witch Project and several others). Mark and Christian deliver a solid tale on a low budget that doesn’t fall into the usual pitfalls of bad acting, a weak narrative, and an unsatisfactory conclusion. The pair have created a great mystery that isn’t for the Scooby Gang faint of heart, and the story takes several intriguing turns until the outstanding ending that delivers an added chill and one hell of an exclamation point.

Now, I know some readers are scratching their heads: Is this a documentary about an evil Spahn Ranch wannabe or a mockumentary? Sure, I thought the whole thing was a conjured tale from Mark and Christian. Karl Atticus? Bah! Right after we watched the film, Jonny and I recorded an episode for THE LAST KNOCK where we reviewed Mortal Remains. Due to distribution deal negotiations between Cryptic Pictures and several entities, we had to hold onto the show. Two years later, the episode Jonny and I had worked on simply disappeared. As one who nearly lost an 80,000 word thesis in graduate school due to a damaged hard drive, I have external backups both onsite and offsite. Plus, I use Mac’s Time Machine and have a collection of flash drives. Nothing. The show’s gone. The only show Jonny and I ever lost – and man, was it a damn good podcast. Did Karl Atticus have anything to do with it? We’re not sure, but I can tell you this: Whenever I mention that crazy cat’s name to diehard horror fiends, they take a step back. The rumor now is that Mark and Christian’s film touched on things a little too deep and foreboding. Hell, even The Blair Witch’s maestro, the great horror director of Altered, Lovely Molly, and Exists, Eduardo Sanchez, will tell you about his own run in with the specter of the dead filmmaker.

Regardless of what truth you discover about Karl Atticus, and Mortal Remains, this documentary, mockumentary, whatever, is a powerhouse. Maybe the more horror fans engage with the film the less power Atticus and his cult of supporters will have. I don’t know.

But watch it soon. And watch it fast. Because my phone’s been ringing off the hook since I wrote this, and I’ve never seen the number before. Even so, I’m compelled to pick it up and say, “Hello, Karl.” More important, there’s someone knocking at my door, and I’m not expecting visitors…

A rock solid four-star film out of five.

025a03fe08ba729351008f0fd6118957_400x400(Top image from Promote Horror. Bottom image from Cryptic Pictures.)

Catch Cryptic Pictures on Twitter: @CrypticPictures

THE LAST KNOCK presents: An Interview with Melanie Wise of Women Kick Ass

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Actress and producer, Melanie Wise visits the show to talk about the unique and riveting “Women Kick Ass” film festival, which is devoted to action films with female leads. As festival founder, she explains how women’s roles have changed in cinema over the decades, and how far we have to go around the globe to bring women’s rights to fruition. Do not miss this exhilarating and empowering discussion of women – and why they most definitely kick ass.

You can find Melanie at – and don’t forget to check out the Artemis Film Festival and Artemis Motion Pictures.