Friday, July 29, 2011

Drew Rosas (Blood Junkie)


What I love about independent filmmaking is the passion of those film's creators. This website is almost entirely dedicated to low-budget movies because those are the true feats of the film industry. I've left writing gigs at more than one website because I didn't care for their catering (read: dick sucking) to mainstream films and their studios or the fact that they consider anything about Transformers actual news. I would easily (and stupidly) turn down an interview with Michael Bay because I don't give a shit about explosions or how "difficult" it was to shoot his next billion dollar film, no matter how many visitors or monetary gain it would garner for this site. I enjoy real people making real films, and I couldn't be more pleased to bring to you an interview with Blood Junkie writer and director, Drew Rosas.

Filmed on a shoestring budget of roughly seven grand, Rosas has made an intensely enjoyable film because of his love for the genre as well as his love for filmmaking. Watching Blood Junkie is a true delight because everything from the witty writing and exceptional casting to the stellar soundtrack and true 80s feel were all created with care and love, and its limited budget was definitely put to better use than most of the Hollywood films we see today. So without further ado, continue on to read what Rosas had to say about the 80s, fake pubic hair, how to pretend-kill a frog, and the trials and tribulations of making your first feature film.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Humanoids From The Deep (1980)



Take Creature from the Black Lagoon, throw in some rape, a ton of naked beach bunnies, and some pretty tasty gore and you've got yourself Roger Corman's cult classic, Humanoids from the Deep.

You're welcome for the thumbnail/video image I chose, by the way.

The Butcher (2006)


Totally Past Its Expiration Date

Editor's Note: This review was written in 2006...or 2007...I don't fucking know anymore. So pardon the Beowulf reference. This shit's old.

The Butcher is essentially a better movie than Bloodlines, and that’s about it. Again, it involves people in the middle of nowhere who are captured by ugly mutated psychopaths bent on chopping them up for god knows why. Attention directors: we got over Wrong Turn about a week after it came out. Try something different!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Piranha (1978)



This one goes out to all of you summer lovers spending your days with feet dangling in the water. What's that? You just felt a nip at your toes? Well, I would've warned you about this aquatic outbreak in advance, but I sort of get off on your misery. My bad, dog.

Hey, if you're not gonna keep that toe...

Skinwalkers (2006)


My, What Bad Scripting You Have!

Editor's Note: This review was originally published in 2007. Just sayin'.

Even as a child, I was never a huge fan of werewolf movies. The idea of a hairy monster lumbering around in torn clothes never really appealed to me. If I wanted to see that, I could’ve easily just followed my dad around the house. But classic lycanthropy-related films like American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Gingersnaps, and especially Dog Soldiers hold a sacred place in my heart. They proved to me that you can take a werewolf and do something great with it. After hearing about Skinwalkers, I was hoping to have another to add to that list. Unfortunately, this movie is all bark and no bite.

Bloodlines (2007)


Bad Genes

Editor's Note: This review was originally published in 2007 when I apparently cursed twice as much as I do now. Believe it or not, I actually toned down a few of the "Fucks" in this edit. Oh well, fuck it. This movie blew.
 
I don’t know what the hell THINKFilm was thinking. After releasing a ton of highly enjoyable independent films, they get a wild hair up their ass and decide to distribute the direct-to-video nightmare that is Bloodlines. THINKFilm doesn’t have much of a track record when it comes to horror movies and I hate to think that they blew their chance with this one. I’m just going to go ahead and assume that they were either dared or blackmailed into distributing this virulent bloodfart of a film.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman



I figure, one good turn deserves another!

The Hamiltons (2006)


The Family That Slays Together Stays Together

Editor's Note: This film review was originally (and poorly) written in 2006. 

The After Dark Horrorfest film The Hamiltons blows its load in the first five minutes of the movie by introducing and killing Brittany Daniel (Club Dread), the biggest star that the film had to offer. What follows is a film that could’ve had it all, but chose slow pacing, bad acting and little violence to get to culminate into what is actually a somewhat endearing plot twist. Then again, what do you expect from directors credited as "The Butcher Brothers"? That would be like trying to take a film by Bill Zebub seriously.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)


Scent Of A Woman

Editor's Note: This review was originally published in 2007.
 
When I first read about Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, I wasn’t very impressed. It sounded like a tame serial killer flick about a young man with a nose for murder. I skimmed over the review (which I rarely do) and continued on my merry way. However, I got a copy and decided to give it a chance. When the closing credits began to roll, I remained in my seat, attempting to put a finger on any of the hundreds of emotions that were running through my body. I felt moved, saddened, enlightened, awed, and more importantly, angry at myself for dismissing this film before I even gave it a chance.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Jack Frost: Attack Of The Mutant Killer Snowman



Do I really need to say anything else?

Well...I will mention that this was the first feature film appearance by Shannon Elizabeth of American Pie fame (look for her in the trailer during the bathtub scenes). Nothing like getting fucked by a carrot to get your feet wet, eh?

The Hitcher (2007)



This Hitchhiker Has A Thumb Downward

While watching The Hitcher, a remake of the infamous 1986 horror classic of the same name, you just might find yourself saying villain John Ryder’s nefarious catchphrase: "I Want To Die." This is mainly because the film is an exact replica of the original but with additions that drag it into copious amounts of shit. Let a friend take shotgun this time. You’ll be fine sleeping this one off in the backseat.

Penny Dreadful (2006)


 Worth Every Penny

Editor's Note: This review was originally published in 2006

We all have our irrational fears. Some of us are afraid of the dark. Some of us are afraid of spiders. I myself am afraid of being raped by a gourmet chef (this goes back to 1994, when I was raped by a gourmet chef). Penny Deerborn is afraid of being trapped in a car. After a brutal accident that claimed the life of her parents, Penny (played effectively by Rachel Miner, Californication) has a hard time staying in any vehicle without losing her shit. Under the care of her psychologist, renowned author Orianna Volker (film veteran Mimi Rogers, Ginger Snaps), Penny is taken on a road trip to help overcome her fears. But after they pick up an eerie hitchhiker (I guess Orianna was too busy tackling coulrophobia to watch The Hitcher), their little retreat hits the emergency brake and Penny finds herself trapped in her biggest fear: Orianna’s BMW.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Freddy Krueger Invades Mortal Kombat!


Yep. You heard me correctly. Our favorite sleepy-time stalker will be haunting the dreams of Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and your other favorite kombatants in the final Mortal Kombat DLC being released this August. Unfortunately it's not Robert Englund's Freddy model, but Jackie Earle Haley's rendition that's going to be featured as the final playable character available as downloadable content for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Oh well, I'm not that picky. Just having a horror icon in a video game is well enough to get me excited. Can you imagine if there were a Pinhead character? Man, with all those hooks and chains, his Fatality list would be fucking infinite.

So be on the the lookout August 9th for the new DLC pack featuring Mr. Krueger.

In the meantime...1...2...Freddy's Coming For You...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anthropophagus (1980)



When I first heard of this film, I had no idea how to pronounce it. It's the equivalent of struggling to sound out names in a Greek phone book. I've thankfully learned since then, but I just wanted to throw this out there in case any of you readers find yourselves tongue tied by this bizarre little film.

So sit back and enjoy the trailer for Anthropophagus, which is apparently a film about people walking around with candles and a half-naked injured man prancing around with a cleaver.

Also feel free to groove the nasty arpeggiated tones that play throughout the entire trailer. It's like Les Claypool jamming on a bass with Alzheimer's.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Task (2010)


Reality Check

Just like their 8 Films To Die For series, After Dark's Originals are very hit-or-miss with genre fans. With engaging titles like Seconds Apart and mediocre entries like Fertile Ground, it's hard to tell what you're getting into when sitting down to enjoy one of their many frequent releases. The Task comes close--SO close--to being one of the best films in the history of After Dark, but unfortunately allows a flimsy ending and lack of gore to prevent it from reaching five-star status.

Evil Dead & Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1981/1987)



With Bruce Campbell recently tweeting that both he and Sam Raimi are currently working on new entry in the Evil Dead series, it only felt appropriate to post the original trailers for the first two films.

All right, screwheads. Come get some!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Uncle Sam (1997)


Dead White & Blue

The name William Lustig is forever stored in the minds of horror fans worldwide. Originally directing pornography under the pseudonym "Billy Bagg", Lustig is renown for his 1980 serial killer classic Maniac as well as the unrelated Maniac Cop trilogy. What's bizarre is that aside from the aforementioned films and a few other random features, Lustig really hasn't directed a lot of movies, as his larger body of work consists mostly as the role of "producer" on video documentaries. His last feature film was 1997's ridiculously cheesy holiday horror, Uncle Sam, which most of you will remember seeing on video store shelves as it boasted the same lenticular 3D/hologram cover art as the equally cheesy Jack Frost films. You know what I'm talking about. As you slowly passed the box, the cover image would shift from a normal picture of Uncle Sam to one of him as a decaying zombie. Yeah, that one! Uncle Sam is one of those low-budget horror films of the 90s that was ultimately cheesy and terrible, but still scored points because it was shot on 35mm (back in a pre-digital age when it was cheaper to print) and had a professional look to it. But just like the 3D box art, once you get past the pretty view you'll see the nasty side of this schlocky horror film (and probably the reason Lustig hasn't returned to the director's chair in well over a decade).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deadtime Stories Vol. 1 (2010)


Something To Put You To Sleep

"Be careful what you wish for." When it comes to horror, I can never seem to fully grasp the old axiom as I continually ask for something and get loads of shit in return. I've been requesting more anthologies for the past few years, as I grew up on the classics like Creepshow, Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, and generally everything Amicus released. Somehow, very few modern films can seem to get it right. Deadtime Stories Volume 1 is no exception. Assumingly through personal ties with the film's writer and co-director Jeff Monahan, the movie manages to have horror legend George Romero as both executive producer and host of these three tawdry tales that are so excruciatingly bad, I threw up in disgust and ended up paying more attention to my vomit than the film itself, as regurgitated cereal and sushi remnants were far more entertaining and better produced than this soul-sucking horror effort.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Anniversary At Shallow Creek (2010)


A Killer With Range

You don't see many horror movie villains using guns as their primary weapon. I mean, Michael Myers once used a shotgun, but only to impale the sheriff's slutty daughter to the wall. There's something about guns that takes away from the fun of the kill, as most horror film deaths occur in close quarters by the killer's hands (or whatever item is being clutched by those hands). But then there's the sniper rifle; a true exception. While certainly a cowardly weapon choice, the sniper rifle still manages to evoke fear because it terrorizes its victims with the notion that their demise can come from anywhere and they wouldn't even know it. It also makes escapes very difficult, as the long ranged rifle can pick off its prey safely and easily from a shadowy distance. It also has that fucking creepy laser sighting that lets you know you're a split second from being a few pounds lighter. The Anniversary At Shallow Creek seems to be your average slasher flick at first glance, but with the introduction of its crack shot killer and a pretty solid third act, it ultimately rises above the standard b-movie fare.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drew Bolduc & Dan Nelson (The Taint)


Once in a while, a film comes along that stirs the soul and changes our lives, sweeping up Academy Awards and late night phone calls from George Clooney in the process. The Taint is not that film. It is, however, one of the best independent horror films of this year, and probably of all time. Made on a budget that cost slightly higher than my used 2002 Mitsubishi Galant, The Taint manages to combine beautiful cinematography, exceptional editing, and some extremely spectacular violence on an awfully low budget.

As soon as I finished my first viewing of The Taint, I knew that I wanted the film's creators and directors Drew Bolduc and Dan Nelson (both of whom also provided the film's soundtrack, special effects, cinematography, and more) to be the first interview for this website, as their humor, style, and success in DIY filmmaking are exactly what encapsulates Take My Life, Please in the first place. I created this site as a "humorously serious" haven for independent and underground genre films and both their creators and fans, and I could think of nobody more suited to start off my interview section than these fine, delightfully twisted gentlemen. Continue on for the interview!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bad Dreams (1988)


Suicide Club

In my twenty-eight years on this planet, I've seen (literally) thousands of horror movies. Once in a while, I find myself amazed (or even shocked) that there are a number of classics that slipped through my viewfinder. I remember wandering the horror aisle at Video Center as a youngster and seeing the cover art for Bad Dreams many times. It's one of those covers that's forever imbedded in the "Why The Hell Do You Still Remember This?" part of my brain, along with Hide and Go Shriek, Bad Taste, and Graveyard Shift. Somehow, I never got around to renting it as I was probably too engrossed in piles of Best of the Best and No Retreat, No Surrender sequels, along with anything Bolo Yeung or Billy Blanks was in at the time. Thanks to Netflix Instant, I was finally able to check out this late-80s horror title, and I'm glad that I did. While Bad Dreams will unlikely cause you any trouble getting to sleep at night, its intriguing story, surprising amount of gore, and attractive lead actress will make it worth your while. I mean...sex and violence...isn't that what dreams are made of?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991)



This special edition of Trailer Trash is dedicated to our website's newest (and already) most loyal fan, Creeper75.

Full Moon's Puppet Master series made playing with dolls cool. Anyone who grew up with these films immediately wanted a Blade, Jester, or Tunneler for their own collection, but...maybe not a Leech Woman. She was a bit nasty.

So why am I putting up the trailer for part 3 first? Well, because it's my favorite in the series. I mean...you really can't get any better than puppets vs. Nazis, can you? This is also when we see the puppets in a good light for once, and to be honest, it's just heartwarming. Especially when they gruesomely punish the film's Nazi villain in the end.

This begs the question...what was everyone's favorite puppet in the series?

Blood Junkie (2010)


Now That's What I Call 80s!

While I only finished the 1980s at the age of seven, I still have very fond memories of the era. Getting my first Nintendo console, my sweet neon attire, playing River Raid on Atari during daycare, and listening to Bob Seger in my mom's silver Buick, to name a few. This was also the same time that I fell in love with horror. With Sunday afternoon Creature Features and shows like USA Up All Night, it was hard to avoid the allure of satanic cults, mummies, and Jason Voorhees that seemed to be dominating my television at all hours of the day (and night). Gone are those times, but they live on in my heart. They also apparently live on in the heart of director Drew Rosas, whose first full-length feature Blood Junkie is a true ode to the flashy fashioned, mustache and mulleted, synth-pop zaniness that was the 1980s. It's pretty fucking radical, to say the least.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Exit 33 (2011)


Just Hold Out For A Chevron

Loyal readers of Take My Life, Please are already aware that a large portion of the reviews on this website are low-budget horror films. What you may not know is that for every b-movie I watch, there's five that I don't. With horror films being released quicker than a zombie infection, it's difficult deciphering which films will make it and which ones I just don't have the time for. Ultimately, the deciding factor is based on whether or not the film has a catch. Exit 33 made the list because it stars horror legend Kane Hodder, adored by genre fans for his portrayal of Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th VII through Jason X, as well as playing Victor Crowley in the Hatchet series. What I failed to remember, however, is that Hodder's main talent is stunt coordination, not acting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Orphan Killer (2011)


Edit: The film's director did not seem to appreciate my review for the film very much, but was determined to prove that the technical issues I mentioned were a fluke. After seeing another copy of the film, I can assure you that I was wrong and that the audio is quite crisp and clean. I still find the overhead shots to be distorted and stretched in another aspect ratio, but overall, the film's technical quality is highly improved from my original description of it. I still stand by my other qualms with the film, but with the improved A/V quality, The Orphan Killer gets 2/5 Stars. So, please disregard anything in this review about the audio, with the exception of the soundtrack. It's pretty terrible.

Sibling Rivalry

There's been a lot of hype surrounding a little independent horror film known as The Orphan Killer. The film has promoted itself through viral marketing, using fake blogs that are written through the perspective of the film's titular slasher, as well as the extremely supportive quotes from dozens of fans who say that this film is "...better than the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre". I am here to tell you: don't believe the hype. The quotes and reviews on IMDb are obviously fakes (most likely from the filmmakers themselves) and while the blog is clever, it doesn't save The Orphan Killer from severe technical issues and a lack of originality, though the film's rabid fanbase seem to think otherwise.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)



Say what you will about Rob Zombie's recent work, but House of 1000 Corpses is one of my favorite horror films. Starring Chris Hardwick (host of MTV's 90s dating show Singled Out) and a then unknown Rainn Wilson (The Office), this film was one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had in a theater. I went with a close friend, his girlfriend, my girlfriend at the time, and her two friends. After the film was over, my friend's girlfriend finally opened her eyes for the first time since the movie started, my girlfriend went to the bathroom because she thought she was going to vomit, and the last two actually went to fucking church! And that was just a small group of us. I can only imagine how many more people were disturbed by this film; and very rightly so. It's a fucking classic.

Bunnyman (2010)


Raving Rabbit With A Tortoise Pace

When I first heard that there was an independent horror film about a man in a large rabbit costume killing off people with a chainsaw; I was stoked to say the least. Even the trailer looked promising, glowing with a 70s horror vibe that almost bordered on surrealism. Unfortunately, Bunnyman takes far too long to get to the goods and by the time it does, you probably won't care.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)


Remakes On A Plane

Though Quarantine 2: Terminal is the furthest thing from a remake of [Rec] 2, this review title was the best I could come up with at the moment, edging out both "Terminal Illness" and "This Is Your Captain Dying...", so my apologies in advance. As much as I enjoyed Quarantine, I was happy to see this sequel come straight-to-DVD, as I feared Hollywood couldn't keep the series continuously entertaining and true to its source material. While this low-budget sequel ditches most of what made its predecessors so prominent in the horror genre, it still manages to play out like a late night guilty pleasure; and to be honest, I'd much prefer that than to see Hollywood sodomize another great horror film shot-for-shot.

Quarantine (2008)


Shot-For-Shot

Apart from studio execs and first-time directors, nobody really wants a remake. They're unneeded and it's nearly impossible to ever succeed in bettering the original film. They only exist because a severe lack of creativity has plagued Hollywood writers for (at least) the past decade and instead of coming up with unique and fresh ideas, we have someone saying "Hey, this movie did super awesome in its native country. Now tone it down a bit and make it a little more stupid for the American audiences." Then again, many Americans despise reading subtitles, so I suppose some people may want remakes, but my point is that we don't really need them. Alas, we have them, and only a year after the outstanding and terrifying [Rec] hit screens, the US was already working on their version, Quarantine (I suppose they figured American audiences wouldn't understand shorthand for "record"). Surprisingly...it's not terrible.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Exorcismus (La posesión de Emma Evans) (2010)


The Power Of Christ Repels You

Exorcism films are "in" right now. Why? I don't know. They mostly follow the same plot, as if The Exorcist had provided a "how-to" guide in holding crosses, levitation, demonic voices, and so forth.  Last year's The Last Exorcism was a surprisingly entertaining departure from the norm and gave audiences a different side of the priest/demon relationship. Manuel Carballo's Exorcismus, a.k.a La posesión de Emma Evans a.k.a The Possession of Emma Evans is also successful in creating a slightly different storyline than the usual exorcism fare. But just because the film works doesn't mean it's free of the general side effects, which include: levitation, skin irritation (mostly to crucifixes), demonic visions, change in vocal tone, death to loved ones, lack of memory, and vomiting. You'd think they'd have a pill for this by now.

[Rec] 2 (2009)


Pushing Your Button Once More

When one of your favorite movies announces a sequel, there's usually two thoughts that consume your mind. Like a cartoon angel and devil on your shoulders, one part of you is overcome with joy and excitement while the other side slowly takes over and says, "Do you really expect it to be better than the first?" Sequels have always been employed by studios to bank in on the success of a great film, and very rarely do they truly live up to the legacy of their original predecessor. Early horror was a bit different because no matter how poor the sequels were, we were still just excited to see our favorite villains like Freddy or Jason return to deliver some crafty kills and sate our appetites for their temporary return; or maybe it was just our morbid curiosity to see them infiltrate their terror into outer space, New York City, or "the hood". But when you have a brilliant and terrifying film like [Rec], the fans won't be willing to settle for simple party tricks and gore. A sequel will have to match the enthusiasm and atmosphere of the original film, while adding a new plot line that keeps the story fresh and intriguing for the audience. Thankfully, [Rec] 2 manages to stay true to its source material while simultaneously diving into some insanely different territory, providing a sequel that is less rehash but more of an inventive, if not truly bizarre, followup.

Friday, July 1, 2011

[Rec] (2007)

The Blood Red Button

Spanish filmmaker Jaume Balagueró is one of the best directors currently working in the horror genre. If you've seen any of his feature films like The Nameless, Darkness, or Fragile, then you know that he's a master of crafting brooding tales, smothered in hopelessness, despair, and child endangerment. Working together with Paco Plaza, the duo crafted [Rec], a first-person P.O.V. horror film that spawned an immediate American remake, as well as serving as a major influence for nearly every "found-footage" film you've seen in the past four years. I first saw [Rec] back in 2007, and aside from The Descent, it's one of the few films in the past ten years that literally had me holding my breath with nervousness and stuck with me long after it was over. I've now seen the movie probably a dozen times, and it still never fails to get the best of me.