February 28, 2013

Help Lord Of Tears (2012) Find Its Audience, And Strike A Blow Against Crappy Sequels And Lame Remakes

Lord Of Tears 2012 poster
I love this poster!  Lord Of Tears (2012)
     I was contacted at the beginning of the week by multi hyphenate filmmaker Lawrie Brewster about his new project Lord Of Tears (2012).  I've been hesitant about promoting movies soliciting coverage in the past (not that there have been that many, of course), but I was truly impressed by what Mr. Brewster had to show me.  I'm looking forward to seeing Lord Of Tears myself now, and so I'm happy to oblige with a little promotion for the project.

     Based on a script by Sarah Daly, Lord Of Tears is a British chiller inspired by classic horror films such as The Wicker Man, The Innocents, and The Shining along with a dash of the recent Slenderman Mythos. The story concerns a man trapped in a crumbling mansion, stalked by an Owl Headed monster in the misty highlands of Scotland.  Location stills and clips are gorgeous, as you'll see from the official trailer.  I hope to have an opportunity to speak with Mr. Brewster more about Lord Of Tears in the near future.  Until then, please check out the trailer, as well as the Kickstarter campaign linked below.

(Please reload the page if the Vimeo player with the Lord Of Tears trailer isn't visible initially.  There appears to be a glitch with Blogger's server.  Sorry for the inconvenience.)

Lord of Tears Official Trailer from Lawrie Brewster on Vimeo.

Lord of Tears tells the story of James Findlay, a school teacher tortured by childhood memories of a strange and unsettling entity - a figure dressed like a Victorian gentleman but with the head of an Owl and elongated limbs with sharp claws.

We have now opened pre-order sales for our film, in a bid to raise money with a Kickstarter campaign to allow us to tour the film.

Order your copy today!

Kickstarter - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lawriebrewster/lord-of-tears
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/lordoftearsmovie
Twitter - https://twitter.com/LawrieBrewster


Legend Brewery, Richmond VA craft brew on tap
     On a separate note, documentarian Sean Kotz is still working hard to raise funds for the production of Horse Archer Productions' new documentary The Stuff Of Legends: Inside The World Of Craft Brewing.

     Sean is a longtime time friend of the Farm, and this project will be Horse Archer Productions' ninth documentary.  Dig up a rusty Mason jar and help 'em out.  If you help enough, you could even get the opportunity to brew your own signature beer with the good folks at Legend Brewery in Richmond, VA.

February 25, 2013

A Public Apology To Kevin Costner

     Dammit!  Dammit all to hell!  I can't stand Kevin Costner.  Well . . . I couldn't stand Kevin Costner.  It now pains me deeply that I feel obliged to publicly recant.  After seeing Costner do most of the heavy lifting in two genre movies that I thoroughly enjoyed (2007's Mr. Brooks being the first), I believe I need to grudgingly acknowledge him as a friend of the genre.  I'm sorry, Kevin.  I won't wait so long to watch the next one.

     I dimly recall reading several positive notices for The New Daughter (2009) not long after it hit home video.  Mr. Brooks was still fresh in my mind at the time (which was really a double whammy for me since I absolutely loathe Dane Cook), and I remember making a mental note to myself to check it out.  Then that mental note promptly crawled off to die, alone and lonely, in the same darkened chamber of my mind in which all of my mental notes perish.

     Cut to tonight, and I find myself alone at home for the evening thinking I'd like to watch a movie, but not really anything for which I had high expectations.  As I sometimes do in this circumstance, I turned on Netflix streaming and flipped to the Horror category with a grim determination to watch the first movie I came to that I hadn't seen and about which I had even the mildest curiosity.  I tend to wait for the "ideal circumstance" to watch movies that I've really been jonesing for, and consequently I actually don't watch as many random new(ish) movies as I feel that I should.  I've always got a backlog of movies I'm actually anxious to see stacked up when the "ideal circumstance" crops up, so the movies I'm only mildly curious about get short shrift.  I've got to sift through those every once in awhile, though, because that's where the pleasant surprises reside.

Kevin Costner in The New Daughter (2009)
"Just watch it.  I ain't playin', man."
     Now don't get me wrong - The New Daughter is far from perfect.  It has a lot of those purely expository characters that only exist in horror movies, it's about fifteen minutes too long, and it has at least two or three dangling plot threads that go nowhere.  It's capsulization on Netflix describes it as being about a man who "faces a nightmare when his daughter starts acting strange."  Doesn't sound too promising, does it?  Well, I'm going to give Netflix a pass this time, because to say much more would ruin the movie.  That capsulization is accurate, and sometimes it's nice to just see a movie cold.  What does that mean to you, dear reader?  It means this is another of those patented Dog Farm non-reviews that pretty much boils down to "Just watch it.  You can thank me later."

     What I can tell you is this - Costner's performance, in particular, sells the story.  I think maybe the pending introduction of a baby into my life has activated my vestigial ovaries, but I've been especially weepy lately, especially where plotlines involving parent/child relations are concerned.  The slow burn narrative, the ultimate inevitability of the resolution, and Costner's commendably subdued and nuanced performance as a father suddenly forced to tackle the parenting alone left me experiencing a peculiar pulse pounding crying jag in the movie's final moments.  As my buddy Bob over at Candy-Coated Razor Blades is fond of saying, "Your mileage may vary."  I'm undoubtedly a little sensitive these days, but finding myself so emotionally invested in The New Daughter by its conclusion was definitely one of those pleasant surprises I mentioned earlier.

     Dane Cook can still suck it, though.


     On an entirely unrelated note, I'd like to take to take this opportunity to thank JD at Blood Sucking Geek for masterminding the just completed Ultimate Gore-A-Thon.  I appreciated the opportunity to work with JD and all of the rest of great sites that participated.  If people do, indeed, judge you by the company you keep, then you folks made me look hellaciously good.  Links to all of the most recent posts on those great sites will maintain residence in the sideboard, and for now I'll simply refer to them collectively as Friends Of The Farm.  Check 'em out, subscribe, like 'em on Facebook, and Tweet them to all of your friends.  Thanks, all, for allowing me to participate.

February 19, 2013

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986) Is Better Than You Remember

                          "Sex is . . . well, nobody knows.  But the saw . . . the saw is family"
                                                                                       Drayton Sawyer, TCM2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986) poster
Great poster, great tagline, and a great movie - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

The climactic chainsaw duel between Leatherface and Lefty
The one on one chainsaw duel between Leatherface and Lefty
     I'm an unapologetic Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 fanboy, so be forewarned.  If you're a hater and you think that TCM2 is a sloppy, cacophonous, scare free mess . . . well, you're probably more than just a little bit right.  But it's also a witty, well-paced, blackly comic satire that succeeds admirably in taking the TCM franchise in about the only direction it could have gone without making it a pale rehash of one of the greatest horror movies ever made.

     Director Tobe Hooper realized that trying to top his brilliantly disturbing original with more of the same was a fool's errand.  Instead, he chose to bring the dark humor present in the original - but mostly overlooked - out into the spotlight this time.  After all, Hooper thought he was making a PG rated movie the first time around.  It was based on a violent flight of fancy he had in the hardware department of a crowded store when he was trying to think of a way to get through the crowd and noticed chainsaws for sale.  It was filmed under the working title Headcheese, for Pete's sake.  Not to belittle Hooper's achievement with the original TCM, but he pretty clearly thought he was making something a little different than what we all took to be a nerve-jangling descent into Hell.  In that respect, he failed.

A Sawyer family portrait from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2
A Sawyer family portrait from TCM2
     If a viewer can get past the fact that the first TCM is scary and that TCM2 isn't, then the sequel is a perfectly logical narrative progression.  I posted an article recently about how the original TCM is a uniquely American horror movie TCM2 expands on this notion by having the Sawyer clan chasing the capitalist American dream of a successful business - The Last Round Up Rolling Grill - which Drayton Sawyer (Jim Siedow) says he built into a success by hookin' and crookin'.  The Sawyer family's murderous activities are just a means to an end, a necessary evil perpetrated to grow the family business.  TCM2 is building on thematic concerns presented in the original, and in that regard, it's more of a direct continuation of the first than  the shameful Texas Chainsaw 3D purports to be.

Leatherface and the Hitchhiker from TCM2
Leatherface and the Hitchhiker on the bridge
     TCM2 also finally delivers all that gore that we only thought we saw in the original, another logical progression.  FX master Tom Savini delivers some of his best work here, with the skinning alive of radio station engineer L.G. (Lou Perry) being a notable highlight.  I always get a little tickled when Lefty (Dennis Hopper) makes a point of turning Leatherface's chainsaw disembowelment toward the camera during the climactic chainsaw battle.  It's almost as if director Hooper is saying, "Here's what you always wanted to see, kids!  Here's your gorey money shot!"  It's effects porn at its finest.  Grandpa's old age make-up is pretty incredible, too, as is the Hitchhiker "costume" Leatherface dons in the opening bridge massacre.  Hell, how about that gloriously over-the-top sawed off head in that same sequence?  I know you giggled with glee the first time you saw that.

Leatherface woos Stretch the only way he knows how from TCM2
Leatherface woos Stretch the only way he knows how
     We also get to see Leatherface (Bill Johnson) hit puberty in TCM2, and the tender love story between Leatherface and Stretch (Caroline Williams) serves as the sequel's funniest running gag.  I love me some Gunnar Hansen, but Bill Johnson's wordless performance as TCM2's love addled Leatherface is an underappreciated triumph of expressive pantomime.  It's a logical progression in the character's arc, and it's the only instance anyone other than Hansen has properly captured the child-like essence of the character. 

Stretch strikes an iconic pose from TCM2
Stretch strikes an iconic pose at the conclusion of TCM2
     In fact, the entire cast rises to the occasion admirably.  Jim Siedow and Bill Moseley (Chop-Top) both chew the scenery with gusto, and their persistent squabbling brings the dysfunctional Sawyer family dynamic to life.  Caroline Williams and Dennis Hopper do a fine job garnering audience sympathy, as well - no small feat when competing with such a colorful bunch of bad guys.  Their respective meltdowns - with Hopper "bringin' it all down" and Williams ultimately mimicking Leatherface's iconic chainsaw dance from the original TCM - are wholly convincing.  They also serve notice to the viewer that we all have a little "chainsaw" in us.

The Sawyer family "Breakfast Club" pose from TCM2
The Sawyer family "Breakfast Club" pose
     The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is by no means the genre defining masterpiece that Tobe Hooper's original was, but it's a helluva lot better than its detractors would have you believe.  I firmly believe that most fans who don't like TCM2 don't like it because it isn't the movie they expected.  If it had been the movie they expected, they undoubtedly wouldn't have liked that, either.  Appreciate TCM2 for the darkly humorous quasi-parody it is.  Don't take it to task for not being a carbon copy of the original.

     It pisses me off that Texas Chainsaw 3D had the audacity to rewrite canon and position itself as the true sequel to The Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is, was, and always will be the only true sequel to Hooper's pioneering original.  It's a commendable attempt to expand on the Chainsaw saga while being respectful of its trailblazing predecessor.  It's better than you remember.  Skip the next shitty sequel and watch it again if you don't believe me.

February 17, 2013

Tag! You're It! 13 Terrifying Taglines And The Movies That Spawned Them

     I mentioned the brilliantly lurid taglines used to sell Pieces (1981) just last week, but Pieces is far from the only gorey horror movie to tease its explicit content with provocative taglines.  Before every other new horror release began to settle for posters of attractive floating heads and the uninspired "Based on a True Story" tagline, filmmakers used every tool at their disposal to sell their movies.  If you had an eye-catching poster and memorable tagline you were golden.  Sometimes the movies themselves were afterthoughts.

     Following is a selection of thirteen terrifying taglines that do a better job than most of selling their respective movies.  Some of the movies are actually good, some aren't, but all made effective use of their taglines to get asses in the seats.  Take a shot at guessing the name of the movie that spawned the tagline, then click on the tagline to see if you're right.

13 Terrifying Taglines
The Film That Could Only Be Made In South America . . . Where Life Is CHEAP!

They Will Make Cemeteries Their Cathedrals And The Cities Will Be Your Tombs.

John Will Never Eat Shish Kebab Again.

The Tenant In Room 7 Is Very Small, Very Twisted, And Very Mad.

The Saw Is Family.

This Woman Has Just Cut, Chopped, And Burned Five Men Beyond Recognition . . . But No Jury In America Would Ever Convict Her! 

I Warned You Not To Go Out Tonight.

It Takes All Kinds Of Critters To Make Farmer Vincent's Fritters.

Where Shopping Costs You An Arm And A Leg!

When There's No More Room In Hell The Dead Will Walk The Earth.

Zombies, Guns And Sex, Oh My!

We Are Going To Eat You!

An Entire Town Bathed In Pulsing Human Blood! Madmen Crazed For Carnage! Brutal . . . Evil . . . Ghastly Beyond Belief!


Please post your score in the Comments section below!

February 15, 2013

Movies At Dog Farm Presents: A Guest Post By Bob Mallett From Candy-Coated Razor Blades

Heck Of An Heirloom, Lady

     HI!  How ya doin?  I'm Bob and I'm stepping into the Dog Pound today to...  What?  Oh, Dog FARM!  I thought I noticed a distinct lack of FOX cameras around.

     Well... that really doesn't change anything.  I'm still here as part of the Ultimate Gore-A-Thon to tell you about a movie.  'Cause that's what I do.  Anyway, I try to make it my life's mission to bring horror movies to the masses and my cousin tells me that her friend really likes my blog and wants me to review this flick, Keepsake (2008).

Keepsake (2008) poster

     I've never wanted to slap a stranger so hard in my life.  Don't get me wrong.  Indie torture horror?  Awesome.  Kidnapping serial killers?  Extra cool.  Shock collars?  Sign me up.  This movie, though?  SO MUCH POTENTIAL!  So little of it actually used.

Tow truck driver in Keepsake (2008)
Yep.  Looks just like this through the whole movie.

          The story goes like this.  Chick breaks down and has to call a tow truck.  Tow truck guy shows up, only he's not actually the tow truck guy, and kidnaps Chick for thirty days of torture.  He already has a pet.  OK.  Chick gets to wear a shock collar.  Uh-huh.  Stuff that should be interesting but really isn't happens.  Woo.  There are twists that have to do with multiple personalities, genital removal, piano-wire dentistry and scrapbooking.  Yay.  Chick isn't actually locked in a cage or anything so you spend 90% of the movie wondering why she doesn't just, oh, I don't know... leave.  (I'm pretty sure that the remote on the collar only goes so far.  I mean, unless the mute tow truck driver somehow knows how to put a satellite antenna on there.  That would be cool but unlikely.)  So, yeah, anyway... ummm... Yeah.  That's it.

Girl In Collar - Keepsake (2008)
About as exciting as it gets.

     No, really.  This isn't all that complicated a watch.  There's no artistry, here.  It's three people in a cabin with a barn, sharp implements and a few extra body parts lying around.  The actors walk through this thing like they've been sucking on the biggest bong, ever.   The lead tries to be all seductive and shit and comes off looking like Olive Oyl in heat.  Seriously?  You just want her to do whatever “torture porn rescue operation” she's gotta do so we can stop wanting to punch all of them in the gonads for being assholes.   

     If I hadn't been asked to watch it, I could have lived my life peacefully without knowing it ever existed.  Captivity was better than this and that movie sucked donkey balls.  I literally cannot dislike this movie any more than I already do.  It hurts me that I did my cousin a favor and she betrayed me like this.  I think I'ma have to have a chat with her husband to arrange a suitable punishment (that does not involve actually hurting her because I simply will not have that in my family and domestic violence is all bad and stuff).  I just don't feel like making the drive.  

    Actually, that won't happen because, in all honesty, I watch bad movies on purpose so I have something to bitch about.  It's my raison d'etre.  I come from a long line of complainers.

     Anyway, thanks for joinin' me.  Come on over and check out my blog Candy-Coated Razor Blades if you want, Monday through Friday.  I won't bite.  Much.  And only if you ask me to.

February 13, 2013

Pieces (1982) - An Appreciation

Pieces (1982) nudie jigsaw puzzle


Pieces (1982) poolside aftermath      Pieces (1982) is pure freak show exploitation, and it's advertising campaign sells it like a huckstering carnival barker.  

     "You Don't Have To Go To Texas For A Chainsaw Massacre!" chides the tagline.
Pieces (1982) knife through mouth 
     The poster even more pointedly assures "It's Exactly What You Think It Is!"  

     The clear implication is that Pieces offers all of the bad dialog, gratuitous nudity, and gory violence you're looking for, all in one sleazy  package.  Unlike most exploitation, though, this package mostly delivers. Even better, it does so with a charming lack of pretense.
Pieces (1982) chainsaw through door  
     Director Juan Piquer Simon knew what he was making here,  and he doesn't let decorum get in the way.  Legend has it that an actress lost control of her bladder while filming when a functioning chainsaw strayed too near.  That shot made it into the film's final cut, a testament to the aesthetic of tacky, unrefined showmanship that makes Pieces great.      
Pieces (1982) chainsaw through flesh
     Director Simon once stated, "I don't know anyone who says 'I'm going to make a bad movie.'  Nor do I know anyone who says 'I'm going to make a work of art' and makes it."

Pieces (1982) bloody half body     Somehow, Pieces manages to be both bad movie and work of art.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) may be the undisputed masterpiece, but Pieces earns its place in the chainsaw movie pantheon.  By being devoid of delusions of grandeur and simply delivering what it promises, Pieces truly is exactly what you think it is. 



                                       Scope out Simon's equally gonzo Slugs (1988), as well!

February 12, 2013

Movies At Dog Farm Presents: "A Giant Wave Of Delectably Delicious Death" by Bill Harner, Guest Writer

Bill Harner profile pic
Bill Harner, Freelance Movie Enthusiast

     Imagine, if you will, waking up from a peaceful nap to see a wave of epic proportions bearing down on you. And it's made entirely of sushi. As your life flashes before your eyes the irony of being crushed to death by a delicious wave of death isn't wasted. Just before you close your eyes to embrace your tasty, tasty death you see a robot samurai, armed with a sword made of eyeballs and toes, surfing the tidal wave and battling a jet pack wearing alien who is wearing a suit of armor made from the still dripping corpses of a Kabuki troop and armed with a rocket launcher that shoots out his taint.   

Sushi Typhoon logo

     If you find yourself strangely intrigued and wanting more, Sushi Typhoon has a movie (or seven) for you.  Sushi Typhoon was born from the blood, guts, and circuits of the insane horror, gore, and sci-fi genres Japan. It came into being in 2010 with the intent to create low-budget horror, science fiction, and fantasy films aimed at an international audience.

     Helldriver, Yakuza Warrior, and Mutant Girls Squad all share the common DNA in the stylings of visual effects creators and directors of the genre classics Tokyo Gore Police, Samurai Princess, and Machine Girl. In that vein Helldriver, Yakuza Warrior, and Mutant Girls Squad probably spent more on the makeup and prosthetic appliances than the rest of the film. Which, combined with over the top plots, acting that goes from half decent to “how can they manage to stay in character, this scene is so ridiculous?", and a wonderfully dark sense of humor makes them absolutely delightful to watch. 

     And this dude is responsible for most of the awesomeness. 

Noboru Iguchi profile pic
Director Noboru Iguchi

Yakuza Weapon poster     Since Yakuza Weapon was my most recent viewing, that’s where I’ll start.  Yakuza Weapon centers around a young Yakuza who comes home to Japan when he is informed that his father, a Yakuza leader, has been assassinated. As the story progresses, the young Yakuza encounters, and deals with, various people and the associated problems they bring him and his two helpers; in the way that only a wealthy 16 year old who dropped acid while watching Shogun and employing a screen writer to capture his every thought, can handle it. Amazingly douchey fedora on the hero? Check. More decapitations than a Klingon orgy? Check. Blood that flows freer than the Windex at a Greek family reunion? Double check. Foppish assistant to the bad guy who counts to potato? Hellz yeah, Snootchie Bootchies! (Any movie that features someone counting by potato is award worthy, in my book)  Strap on Robo-dildo? …Ok, who's the jackass who wrote that into the damn script? Not cool, man, not cool. What's that? You wrote in 47 metric tonnes of dynamite and a rocket launching knee?  Ok, we're cool, Brah.

     There is more awesomeness to this flick but I don't want to spoil anything because there were a couple of surprises that made me giggle so hard I almost sharted.

Helldriver geisha pic     Helldriver takes place in a divided Japan.  The country is walled off into two halves. The normal half, and the zombie half. Seems like a good start, right? Throw in some great humor, a makeup and prosthesis budget that is greater than the acting budget, and visual effects mostly made of rubber, blood, and blood colored pixels and you’ve got yourself a movie. Somehow the main character ends up tasked with fighting off the Zombie invasion. There’s a few twists and turns and we find out that her evil mom/step mom (I’m not totally sure) is the Zombie queen. The heroine finds herself outfitted with a chainsaw katana and a car that makes Herbie seem not nearly as cool.
Mutant Girl Squad ass chainsaw
     Mutant Girl Squad centers around a teenage girl who finds out that while her mom is human her husband is some funktacular alien/demon hybrid (made up with the leftover parts from Tokyo Gore Police and Robo Geisha) and the police are trying to kill him and the heroine. She escapes, thanks to her father’s sacrifice, and comes under the tutelage of some more of these beings with some odd powers. There’s a creepy bi-sexual who tries to screw every man he captures, ass-chainsaws, tit swords, and a charming story of friendship.

Karate Robo Zaborgar hero pic     Karate Robo ZaborgarWhat this is I don’t even know. I can’t begin to properly describe it so I’m just going to write what I posted to the Book of Faces as I viewed it:

Post 1: I have discovered where old Power Rangers costumes, special effects and acting coaches go to die. Karate Robo Zaborgar!
I am about ten minutes into it and it makes Robo Geisha seem the height of whatever you call this genre of Japanese film making.

Post 2:  Point in its favor: Man breast milk. And fake spitting. 

Post 3: Point against : worst subtitles. Ever. 

Post from friend commenting on my observations:  "Karate Robo Zaborgar" said out loud sounds like you are getting ready to say something awesome and then had a stroke before you could finish it. 

Post 4: Point for: just introduced an evil robot named Diarrhea Robot. 

Post 5: I wish I had the fifth of Scotch we polished off last night right now. 

Post 6: Point for: bad guy Cyborg named "King Africa" which is a Japanese guy in a Dashiki with ping pong ball eyes sticking out of his face. 

Post 7:  Point against and for: main character sitting on his robot motorcycle eating a roll and crying. 

Post 8: Ooooo.... we got tit missiles from the main bad cyborg lady. And a perverted motorcycle robot. 

Post 9:  And a human/Cyborg sex scene as only the folks at Sushi Typhoon could imagine it... 

Post 10:  Rocket wheelchair. Powered by fart. I could not make this stuff up. I just want to know what drugs are legal in Japan that they come up with this stuff.

Cold Fish is possibly the strangest of the bunch.  Perhaps it's the normalcy of it all that got to me.  It's loosely based on  a couple of serial killers in Japan.  It centers around the hapless existence of a small fish trader who makes an unlikely friend when his daughter is caught stealing.

Cold Fish bloody drain     There is gore and blood but in a much more refined and realistic manner than the other offerings from the Typhoon. No fountainous spurts of the glorious red stuff; just the satisfying dark red that clings and permeates certain scenes in disgustingly beautiful way.  Abusive relationships, random and seemingly nonsensical emphasis on western religious symbols, chopped off peckers, microwaved food and corpse play are all staples of the film. If you have dreams of becoming a serial killer but aren't sure how to dispose of the bodied this film may have some pointers for you.

     I haven’t had the opportunity to view Deadball or Aliens Vs. Ninjas yet but I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed by them.

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