Clinger 2015 Directed by Michael Steves- Review

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When her possessive high school boyfriend dies in a gruesome accident, Fern Petersen’s life is thrown into turmoil. Things go from bad to worse when he returns as a love-sick ghost to kill her so they can be together for eternity. And yes that is the movie in a nutshell.Part teen romance with a twist, part Horror Comedy that works at times, yet falls flat when it wants to deliver. Clinger attempts to provide a lot of laughs, and would like to scare you at the same time, unfortunately, it didn’t quite have the actors or the budget to pull this off consistently. Over-acting is the word of the day when it comes to this film, but I think some of that was planed,  and the fact that the movie makes fun of it’self made it worth the watch. The ending was one of the most ridiculous seances that I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and a number accidentally funny bits had me smiling for an hour after. All and all, the film was worth the time spent, and keep an eye out for Fern’s sister and the sister’s boyfriend, these two made me laugh the loudest, and gave the comedic relief in all the right places.  I give it 2 1/2 Hats

Clinger 2015 Directed by Michael Steves- Review was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

HorrorMagick: A GUIDED TOUR OF HELL

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BEFORE JIGSAW, THERE WERE FREDDY KRUEGER AND JASON VOORHEES. Before those two were slicing and dicing up teenagers, there were Michael Myers and Leatherface. And long before either of them, there were Dracula, the Wolfman, Doctor Frankenstein, and his monster. And before all of them, there was Nergal, Lord of Death.

 
Horror has, among all of the genres in film and written works, one of the longest, most distinguished, and often misunderstood bloodlines in history. It is often overlooked by critics who don’t see anything more than blood and guts on the screen, or a collection of cheap scares. But what is most often missed is its commentary on society and life in general. It’s use in Magic is sorely overlooked, and in the coming blog posts I’d like to take the time and tell you why I think this is so.

 
This genre also has a unique ability to show, in a frank, explicit manner, the ills of society and be a warning to us if we don’t do something about it. This is where we can get away with showing some of the ugliest, most disgusting things. We can explore that shadowy side of human nature that many people would rather have swept under the rug. And people will pay money to see it! Before films were invented, the horror genre already had a long history in myth, folklore, short stories, novels, dime novels and just about anything else that could be written, printed, or told on a dark night in front of a fire. But how did anyone ever think of making a horror movie?

 
The invention of movies by Thomas Edison was seen at first as just a passing fad, nothing that was going to be of importance. After all, pictures and film had been around for a long time. Although Edison had figured out a way to make pictures move — and at first, it was exciting to see a person walk about, do a dance, flex some muscles — those clips became boring really quickly. But soon early filmmakers had the idea to make moving pictures tell a story, and Edison created one of the earliest film stories in The Great Train Robbery (1903), the first Western, shot in New Jersey.The French fell in love with the invention of the movie camera and almost instantly saw the potential of the machine mixed with the arts. In 1896, the first horror film was shot. It was only three minutes long but it proved that fear could be contained and retold countless times. The Devil’s Castle scared its audience and gave them a taste of what horror films would be in the future.

 

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The art of film progressed, and along with it, horror films were one of the genres that progressed at a good pace.
German Expressionism was an important art movement of the early twentieth century that had a great influence on all film, but especially on the beginnings of horror. Expressionism was an artistic style that depicted subjective emotions rather than objective reality “through distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy and through the vivid, jarring, violent, or dynamic” way using formal elements, This is just how HorrorMagick works, taping into these primal emotions and bringing them to flesh, sometimes kicking and screaming…but back to the Tour.

 
One of the most memorable and influential films was the 1920 German silent movie The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
From Wikipedia, on The Cabinet of Dr Caligari2—
“The film tells the story of the deranged Dr. Caligari and his faithful sleepwalking Cesare and their connection to a string of murders in a German mountain village, Holstenwall. Caligari presents one of the earliest examples of a motion picture ‘frame story’ in which the body of the plot is presented as a flashback, as told by Francis.”

 
The narrator, Francis, and his friend Alan visit a carnival in the village where they see Dr. Caligari and Cesare, whom the doctor is displaying as an attraction. Caligari brags that Cesare can answer any question he is asked. When Alan asks Cesare how long he has to live, Cesare tells Alan that he will die tomorrow at dawn — a prophecy that turns out to be fulfilled. Francis, along with his girlfriend Jane, investigates Caligari and Cesare, which eventually leads to Jane’s kidnapping by Cesare. Caligari orders Cesare to kill Jane, but the hypnotized slave relents after her beauty captivates him. He carries Jane out of her house, leading the townsfolk on a lengthy chase. Francis discovers that ‘Caligari’ is actually the head of the local insane asylum, and with the help of his colleagues discovers that he is obsessed with the story of a medieval Dr. Caligari, who used a somnambulist to murder people as a traveling act.

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Cesare falls to his death during the pursuit and the townsfolk discover that Caligari had created a dummy of Cesare to distract Francis. After being confronted with the dead Cesare, Caligari breaks down and reveals his mania and is imprisoned in his asylum.” The pivotal twist ending reveals that Francis’ flashback is instead his fantasy, and the man he claims is Caligari is in fact his asylum doctor, who, after this revelation of the source of his patient’s delusion, claims to be able to cure him.This story was the boilerplate, if you will, of a number of horror stories to come.

 
Soon after Dr Caligari, other great European horror films were released, cementing the structure of the genre. In 1921 a Hungarian film called The Death of Dracula, the first vampire movie, was made, the first of many adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel. In 1922 Nosferatu was produced from an unauthorized film adaptation of Stoker’s novel. It was shot on location and because of copyright problems, the vampire was named Nosferatu rather than Dracula and
the location was changed from Transylvania to Bremen. In 2000, a film called Shadow of the Vampire was made that explored the question of what would happen if the central character, played by Max Schreck, were a real vampire.
Of course, the legend of Faust was brought into play as a movie in 1913 with Student of Prague. A student makes a pact with the devil for wealth and women. (It sounds like a pact made every week by some of the magicians I know in the United States.)

 

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The Jewish story of the Golem was also used in early monster movies, such as in The Monster of Fate (1914) and the remake in 1917, The Golem and the Dancer. These were interesting stories of a man-like creature made of clay, bought to life by a secret Hebrew prayer placed into its mouth, based on the idea that God, or rather the secret prayer, can create life where there was none. The version of 1920, The Golem, was an expressionistic film that had many of the same story components we see later in a more recognizable form in the Frankenstein films.

 
Okay, now that we’re talking about monsters, in this case the man-made kind: Many people don’t know that the first Frankenstein monster movie was made in the United States in 1910 by, of all people, Edison, in his Edison Studios. It was a 16-minute one-reel film, and there were some differences from the elements of the story as we know it, most notably that the monster was not created from body parts but inside a cauldron of chemicals.

 

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During the early twenties while Hollywood was still learning how to walk but did not talk yet, there were some horror films made with the first American horror film star, Lon Chaney. Chaney had been a stage actor known not just for his performances but also for the transformations of grotesque makeup that he used for his characters. He was known as the “Man of a Thousand Faces.” His 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was considered a classic until the Charles Laughton version. Chaney’s ultimate performance was as the disfigured, deranged Erik in The Phantom of the Opera in 1925. It was the dark, expressionistic tones that helped set the standard for horror films in the ’30s. The unmasking scene is still a pivotal moment in the genre.

 
In the U.S., the 1930s were the years where horror films in Hollywood came to the forefront and entered into their Classic Age. Dracula, with Bela Lugosi, and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff arrived in American theaters in 1931. These films marked the beginning of a rush of different horror films. Dracula was based on the stage play of the same name, in which Bela Lugosi had won great reviews as the Count from Transylvania. Universal bought the rights to it and wanted to cast a known actor as Dracula. The actor everyone wanted was Lon Chaney, but, unfortunately, he had passed away in 1930, forcing Hollywood to do something it never really likes to do: hire the stage actor for the film.

 

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Universal had decided to do two films at the same time. Sound was getting popular in the U.S., but most theaters still hadn’t been turned over to sound. However in most of Latin America the theaters were newer and had already been converted, so the studio decided to shoot the English version during the day and the Spanish version at night to save money. Director George Melford was hired to direct the Spanish version, while Tod Browning did the English version with Lugosi. Melford realized this was an opportunity for him. With his Director of Photography at his side, Melford
would watch the dailies shot by the English version unit and try to outdo them with better camera movement, lighting, and so forth. To this day many critics consider the Spanish version more impressive visually than the English version.

 

Just a few thoughts on the History of Horror and HorrorMagick, as we close on another Halloween, I will write more soon but till then,Stay Gold….

Sources: Wikipedia, Horror screenwriting : the nature of fear  by Devin Watson ,http://filmmakeriq.com/lessons/a-brief-history-of-horror/http://nofilmschool.com/2013/10/a-look-at-the-history-of-horror-films

 

HorrorMagick: A GUIDED TOUR OF HELL was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival – The Live Experience: A Review by Vincent Piazza

Q&A2“What the Fuck is this Movie about?”-Barry Bostwick

And that was the Question asked often before and after I went to Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival – The Live Experience, sometimes whispered, sometimes shouted during the Q&A. The Answer was different depending on who you talked to, and I love a movie like that. This Horror/ Musical/ Visual sensation is the brain child of cult filmmakers Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich, the creators of 2008’s REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA and 2012’s THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL: EPISODE ONE. I watched episode one, on recommendation a month ago from a friend, and was blown away by the skill and artistry of the entire film.When the Prytania Theatre rolled out with this presentation of part two, I truly had no choice but to go. I mean the cinematography, the singing, and the story line of the film is just that good.Now know, gentle reader, that I’m not a long time fan of this, but am quickly becoming one! Speaking of Fans, The Devil’s Carnival has them in spades and the Fandom base is strong. With a devotion I’ve not seen since Rocky Horror Picture Show, this film series is destined to become an immediate cult classic.From what I could gather, this movie is just as much about the Fans, as it is about the fight between Good and Evil (and whats good and evil here is never what it first appears to be). To give you an example, here are just a few photos of some of the Sinners ans Saints who came all dressed up for the show…IMAG0301IMAG0299IMAG0296IMAG0291IMAG0290IMAG0284 (1)IMAG0287 (1)

But, as I started this review with the question,”What the Fuck is this movie about?” let me cover that a little, without giving too much away.It all starts in Episode one (and if you haven’t seen it, drop everything your doing and download the bloody movie, and if you hate it,well, I can’t give you good taste; only a great review, so I’m sorry)With a story about an obsessed father (Sean Patrick Flanery), a kleptomaniac (Briana Evigan), and a gullible teenager (Jessica Lowndes) Who are cast from Heaven by God (Paul Sorvino). They find themselves trapped in the midway of “The Devil’s Carnival”. The Story becomes a book, read to a child  by Lucifer (Terrance Zdunich), and it only gets more interesting from that point on. Part Two brings us a pissed off Lucifer Plotting against Heaven and shows us the “Wonders” of Heavenly Productions Incorporated” Bad things happen to good people, and we find out that which glitters isn’t always gold….Still with me? Good, for that is all I can tell you without giving away more then I’d like of the film.Back to Live Experience. The Merchandise table was filled to the brim with great swag, things that any sinner would adore to possess.The Pre-show and Q&A with Darren Lynn Bousman, Terrance Zdunich and Barry Bostwick, was very personable and well received, and I could tell these guys are real Horror Fans. Instead of feeding us some line of bullshit about how long it took to make the film and how hard it was, they told us how much they loved making it and gave us some real insight on what it’s like being on the road, showing an Indie Film like this.The three gentlemen in question, and the awesome crew that comes with them, go from city to city, some 32 stops, driving in a small van to bring this production to you. That in itself demands some major respect, and I tip My Hat  to the dedication they must have to pull off such a feat.

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The full cast includes such names as, Victoriandustrial rocker Emilie Autumn, Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), heavy metal hotties the Butcher Babies, Chantal Claret (Morningwood), Dayton Callie (Sons Of Anarchy), Briana Evigan (Step Up franchise), Brea Grant (Heroes), David Hasselhoff (Baywatch), Kristina Klebe (Rob Zombie’s Halloween), J Larose (Insidious), Mighty Mike Murga (Mini Kiss), Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects), Ted Neeley (Jesus Christ Superstar), Adam Pascal (Rent), rap icon Tech N9ne, Nivek Ogre (Skinny Puppy), Marc Senter (The Lost), Lyndon Smith (Parenthood), Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), Jimmy Urine (Mindless Self Indulgence), Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria) and Terrance Zdunich (Repo! The Genetic Opera).

A great time was had by all, and I do plan on following all of Darren Lynn Bousman’s and Terrance Zdunich’s upcoming projects, they gave us a sneak peak of a few of them, including something called American Murder Song,A collection of original murder ballads by Terrance Zdunich and Saar Hendelman….. you can find more info on it here.http://americanmurdersong.com

I hope you all enjoyed my Review!More info on the Devil’s Carnival can be found on the webpagehttp://www.thedevilscarnival.com/ , go take a look and let me know what you think! Stay Gold Folks….

Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival – The Live Experience: A Review by Vincent Piazza was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand

A Review of the Rocky Horror Picture Show – 40th Anniversary done by The Well-Hung Speakers Shadow Cast

Yes Friends, I’m one of those people. I know every line, most of the Ad Libs, and last night will be my 163 time seeing  The Rocky Horror Picture Show.For those not in the know,The Rocky Horror Picture Show premiered in London, England, on August 14, 1975. Based on the hit London musical The Rocky Horror Show, the film featured many of the production’s original stars, including Tim Curry and the show’s writer, Richard O’Brien. 163 times may sound a bit excessive, but the bulk of those times were in the 90’s,, at the Lakeside theatre on Veterans (yes I’m showing my age here, that film house has long went the way of the wildebeest) and at 16,nothing was more fun than staying up till Midnight and going to Rocky Horror. So, I’m 40, Rocky’s 40,and it was time to go and take a trip down memory lane, throw some rice and do the Time Warp again…..

As I walked into the Prytania Theatre at around 9pm I was greeted by a swag table overflowing with Buttons, T-shirts and Prop bags.20619_931899223515661_722546463514273403_n The Well-Hung Speakers, the Prytania’s in-house Rocky Horror troupe,Did a fine job with the Virgins,pulled the classic Condom Mouth to Mouth race to get them uncomfortable, and to give them a taste of the audience participation (or An-tis-a-pay-shun to cum).The Actor playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter took the crowd well in hand and showed great Presence, screaming fuck you at all the right times. Even gave us a Happy Birthday,Fuck you, done with a riding crop and no lack of Transvestite flair. 11870818_931901426848774_3844134852682194451_nBrad and Janet, Dr. Scott and Eddie and the rest of the cast all performed with the energy of true fans of the show,and I must commend Riff- Raff for talking with me for a moment and complimenting my costume( I went as the lamest thing I could, the Satanic Mechanic,who is just two words in the movie, but a legend in his own right and always a costume choice for us old lazy fans) , Quite a Professional and warm bunch who truly seemed to be having a good time talking with folks,much unlike a few of the shadow cast performances I’ve seen in California.11863211_931901320182118_3358818465344589655_n I had a great time, truly enjoyable and will go again when the opportunity presents itself, and I get that Rocky Horror Itch that just won’t be satisfied any other way.Hat’s Off to you Well-Hung Speakers, and Bravo for a show well done!11880658_931901543515429_6638430630633849775_n

A Review of the Rocky Horror Picture Show – 40th Anniversary done by The Well-Hung Speakers Shadow Cast was originally published on The Hidden Left Hand