September 23, 2014

The Dog Farm's Pre'Ween 2014 Video On Demand Wishlist - Why Is It So Hard To Find A VOD Release Schedule?

      I'm an audio/video snob when I watch movies at home.  Given that I never see most of the movies I watch in a proper theater, I do my damnedest to insure that I'm seeing as good a presentation as possible.  I have a reasonably nice home theater set-up, so the bigger issue is usually poor picture and sound from the source.  That being the case, I don't watch many movies that I actually give a damn about seeing via streaming services.

Movies At Dog Farm Pre'Ween 2014 VOD filmstrip

     That is, I didn't until I recently treated myself to a new renderer.  At last the picture and sound quality - though still not as good as a pristine Blu-ray - is usually pretty solid.  I've been burning through loads of movies on Netflix recently, and when it came time to make my stack of movies for Pre'Ween this year I decided I'd try something new.  Rather than going the traditional route of spending way too much money on discs this October, I've chosen instead to watch most of this year's new releases via video-on-demand.  Now that so many genre movies see release on VOD before disc (and in many cases either prior to or concurrent with their theatrical runs), it seemed a good plan.

     What I didn't count on was just how difficult it would be to find release dates for upcoming VOD premieres.  While it's possible to find release dates piecemeal on a title-by-title basis, almost no one curates a complete release calendar.  The best I came across for genre movies was at The Horror Club, which the site's administrators do an admirable job of keeping updated.

     Since they're already doing a fine job of it, what follows is simply a truncated version of their release calendar encompassing only the upcoming releases I'm jonesin' to see.  Each entry offers a release date and key info, and you can click the movie's title to check out the trailer.  Please remember, what follows is only a list of movies that captured my attention.  I've not seen any of these movies yet, so don't mistake a title's inclusion as an endorsement.  I suspect many of these titles, as well as my thoughts about them after I actually watch, will turn up in this year's edition of Diary Of A Movie Watchin' Madman near the end of October.


Motivational Growth (2013) movie poster
Motivational Growth (2013)
Available 9/30
Director: Don Thacker
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Adrian DiGiovanni, Danielle Doetsch

     A depressed, reclusive thirty-something finds himself taking advice from a growth in his bathroom after a failed suicide attempt.  Is the growth helping the troubled man, or does it actually have less than altruistic motives?

     I can find almost no substantial information about Motivational Growth online save for a handful of early reviews that I'm determined to avoid until after I've seen it for myself.  All I do know is that horror icon Jeffrey Combs voices a sentient bathroom fungus in this dark and disturbing festival darling.  Honestly, though, that's all I need to know.  Shut up and take my money already.


Open Windows (2014) movie poster
Open Windows (2014) 
Available 10/2
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Sasha Grey, Elijah Wood, Neil Maskell

      An actress refuses to have dinner with a fan who wins a date with her in a contest. The shunned fan is persuaded by a man posing as the star's campaign manager to begin keeping tabs on her from his computer.

     Nacho Vigalondo, director of the segment entitled Parallel Monsters in the upcoming V/H/S: Viral (see below), tackles his own full-length feature starring porn star Sasha Grey and budding horror icon Elijah Wood.  The hook here is that the story unfolds in real time, with the titular open windows referring to the open windows on a computer screen.  Early reviews have been harsh, but I'm intrigued by the concept as well as the casting.  

     And yes, I am familiar with Ms. Grey's other work.  Attention must be paid to any actress who goes from a starring role in Anal Artists (2012) to a starring role in an Oscar nominated director's mainstream horror movie in just two short years.


Housebound (2014) movie poster
Housebound (2014)
Available 10/17
Director: Gerard Johnstone
Stars: Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Ti Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru

     A young woman is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention.  Does she have an overactive imagination, or is the house actually possessed by a hostile spirit who's less than happy about the new living arrangement?

     Housebound earned universal praise when it premiered at the SXSW festival in March, and it went on to claim the audience award at the Dead By Dawn festival in April.  New Zealanders have displayed a knack for comedic horror in the past, so let's hope Kiwi director/writer Gerard Johnstone's first feature film lives up to the hype.

See No Evil 2 (2014) movie poster
See No Evil 2 (2014)
Available 10/17
Director: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
Stars: Glenn Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle

     A group of friends pays a late-night visit to the city morgue to surprise a morgue employee on her birthday.  The one-eyed corpse of a brutal psychopath unexpectedly rises from the slab and resumes his savage rampage using hooks, surgical knives, and power saws. 

     The first See No Evil (2006) could elicit only a shrug from me, and it seemed like it must have been a franchise non-starter given how long it took for talk of a sequel to materialize.  Then came the announcement that Jen and Sylvia Soska, hot off the success of the fantastic American Mary (2012), had signed on to direct See No Evil 2.  Suddenly I'm interested again.  

     Have the Soska sisters just taken the paycheck, or will they succeed in injecting some new life into the tale of Jacob Goodnight's ongoing killing spree?  The presence of genre stalwarts Danielle Harris and Katherine Isabelle in the cast seems encouraging.  The Soskas will either be credited with reviving what appeared to be a moribund horror franchise solely on the strength of their own prowess as filmmakers, or they'll ruin their well-deserved genre cred with one high profile flame-out.  No pressure, ladies. 

V/H/S: Viral (2014) movie poster
V/H/S: Viral (2014)
Available 10/23
Director: Justin Benson, Gregg Bishop, Todd Lincoln, Aaron Moorhead, Marcel Sarmiento, Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Lots of people - it's an anthology, man.

     This third entry in the successful series of horror anthologies follows fame-obsessed teens who unwittingly become stars of the next internet sensation.

     Is there still gas in the V/H/S tank?  New directorial talent for each successive entry keeps things fresh, but anthologies are notoriously hit-or-miss.  So far though the good has outweighed the bad, so the franchise earns at least one more look.  Never mind the fact that video cassettes don't go viral.

     This year's iteration offers segments featuring the story of a deranged illusionist who obtains a magical object of great power, a homemade machine that opens a door to a parallel world, teenage skaters that unwillingly become targets of a Mexican death cult ritual, and a sinister, shadowy organization that's tracking a serial killer.  That final segment, entitled Gorgeous Vortex and directed by Todd Lincoln, was not included in the movie's early screenings, and so it remains to be seen whether or not it will be included in the V/H/S: Viral VOD release. 


[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014) movie poster
[REC] 4: Apocalypse (2014)
Available: 10/31?
Director: Jaume Balaguero
Stars: Manuela Velasco, Ismael Fritschi, Maria Alfonsa Rosso

     A television reporter is rescued from the quarantined building featured in the franchise's first two entries and is taken to an oil tanker for examination.  The soldiers manning the tanker are unaware that she carries the seed of the mysterious demonic virus within her.

     Will [REC] 4: Apocalypse be available on VOD this Halloween?  Truth is, I don't really know.  The Horror Club says yes, but I've been unable to confirm that elsewhere.  The movie releases theatrically on October 31st in Spain, so...maybe?  I suppose the bigger question is whether or not we should even care after the hugely disappointing [REC] 3: Genesis.  It's a testament to just how good the first two entries are that they engendered enough goodwill to insure that I do.  

     Director Jaume Balaguero returns, as does the narrative thread that follows Manuela Velasco's traumatized television reporter Angela Vidal.  That's promising.  The found footage angle that made [REC] and [REC] 2 so viscerally compelling is still absent, though, so who knows?  Reviews from the premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival are encouraging, so I still maintain hope that this is a satisfying conclusion to the now somewhat tarnished franchise.  If [REC] 4 does, indeed, show up on VOD this Halloween, I'm there.


     A handful of other titles caught my eye, as well:  The Houses October Built (2013) - available 10/10, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) - available 10/16, Life After Beth (10/21) - available 10/21, and Horns (2013).  The Alexandre Aja directed Horns is listed as being available on VOD either 10/3 or 10/31 depending upon the source.

     EDIT 9/30 - It appears as though the VOD release date for Motivational Growth has been pushed back to 10/21, and  [REC] 4 has been removed entirely from the VOD release schedule at The Horror Club.

September 18, 2014

Barking At The Vacuum Cleaner - Phantasm Exhumed, Pre'Ween 2014, And My Second Podcast Guest Shot

     I had already prepared a post about Dustin McNeill's fantastic new book Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion about a week ago, but then the text mysteriously vanished.  The labels and the title remained, but it seemed as though the body of the post took a trip through the Spacegate.  Cue the Phantasm Theme as you contemplate that...

Mike standing in front of the spacegate in Phantasm (1979)
"Dude, where's my Phantasm post?"

     Random thought: how cool would the Phantasm Sentinel Spheres be in 3-D?  Hell, even the halls of a mausoleum would translate pretty well in three dimensions.  I'm not greedy, though.  Just get Phantasm V: Ravager to me before year's end and I'll be tickled to death.

     But now back to the topic at hand...  

     Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion is quite simply one of the finest books of its kind I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  Author Dustin McNeill is the proprietor of the Phantasm Archives as well as the moderator of the Phantasm Community forums, and his new book covering the entirety of the franchise was clearly a labor of love.  Just check out the bullet points below from the jacket copy for a preview of all the goodies buried within.

Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion by Dustin McNeill (2014) book cover
 • An Introduction by Angus Scrimm 
Exhaustive coverage of the film productions 
More than 250 rare photographs, many never-before-seen 
Information on deleted scenes and script changes 
Unprecedented insights into effects, props & set construction 
Rare letters, memos and production artifacts 
Excerpts from Angus Scrimm's 1977 set journals 
Sections on Phantasm 1999, the remake and Phantasm Forever
New details and photos from the upcoming Phantasm: Ravager! 
Tips and tricks for better embalming (just kidding)

     Phantasm Exhumed: The Unauthorized Companion is deserving of a spot on any fan's bookshelf.  It's so detailed, well-researched, and enthusiastic that it might even convert a few non-fans.  My only complaint is that I would have liked to see this in a hardcover edition with a few of those 250 rare photographs in color.  The good news, though, is that the softcover edition keeps the price down to a modest $18.89 on Amazon, so there's no excuse not to order a copy for Pre'Ween.


     Wait...what?  Pre'Ween has crept up on us again?  Why yes, it has.

Movies At Dog Farm Pre'Ween 2014 banner

     What is Pre'Ween, you may ask?  In simplest terms it's a month long celebration of Halloween, but there's more to it than that.  Take a moment to check out Ghoulish Gary Gatorbait And The Horrible Truth About Pre'Ween from last year's celebration for info about the origin of Pre'Ween, then check the link at the end of that post for a deeper examination by Carl at The Info Zombie.  You can also just click the Pre'Ween badge to the right to see a listing of all the posts - mine and Carl's - from 2013.

     We're planning on having some fun with Pre'Ween again this year, and I'll keep that badge link updated with all the new posts from this October.  It seems likely that Matt at Midnight Cinephile will be joining in this year, too.  If anyone else would like to participate, just let me know in the Comments below, or shoot me an email at


Defying A Diety: The Chronicles Of Harold Pringle by Carl Boehm (2014) book cover
     ...and speaking of The Info Zombie, Carl has graciously requested that I join him again for my second guest shot on The Info Zombie Podcast somewhere around the start of Pre'Ween.  In my first guest shot Carl and I discussed the Phantasm franchise.  Odd coincidence, huh?  I'm tellin' ya, it's that friggin' Spacegate swallowing its own tail.  I will, of course, be sure to mention the new episode here as soon as it becomes available.  Until then you can catch up on all of the recent episodes of Carl's podcast by visiting The Info Zombie website or downloading them for free from iTunes.

     I'm sure one topic of conversation on that upcoming episode will be why Carl never mentioned to me that he was about to publish his new book Defying A Diety: The Chronicles Of Harold Pringle.  Believe me, folks, if I ever actually publish anything, you will never hear the end of it.

     Defying A Diety is available now in a Kindle Edition from Amazon, so click the link above to add it to your cart!


Movies At Dog Farm Pre'Ween 2014 banner

September 5, 2014

Demon Resurrection (2008) - The Dog Farm Wrestles Its Own Demons Regarding Movie Screener Reviews

Demon Resurrection (2008) poster

     The indie horror movie Demon Resurrection (2008) first came to my attention by way of a review posted by Steven Shaw at Watching The Dead.  Steven's review piqued my interest, and I left a comment on his post expressing my desire to see the movie for myself.  I was surprised when shortly thereafter writer/director William Hopkins contacted me to offer a screener of Demon Resurrection for Movies At Dog Farm to review.  How could I possibly refuse a guy stumping for his own movie at a grassroots level, right?  Why would I?  Well, here's the rub...

     I made a choice early in the development of this website not to accept or review movie screeners.  I'm too lazy to keep up with solicitations, and I feel obliged if I honor one to honor them all.  There aren't that many, mind you, but enough that I can imagine spending a disproportionate amount of time feeling obliged to accommodate them.  Plenty of websites choose to promote new movies almost exclusively, and God bless 'em.  It's just not my thing.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip one

      Also - and perhaps more importantly - I'm not qualified to review movies anyway.  I've never made a movie, I've never helped anyone make a movie, and I've never been on the set of a movie.  I've never even taken a class in film studies.  I'm not above sharing my unschooled opinion of the oldies, but I'm not comfortable with critically assessing the merits of a new release, particularly not an indie.  Ripping on thirty year old horror movies is one thing, but dumping all over a struggling filmmaker with my ill-informed evaluation of a project into which he only recently poured his heart and soul is another.

     Having established via this absurdly long-winded intro why I don't review movie screeners - and further, why I'm not really qualified to review movies at all - the time has come for me to review Demon Resurrection anyway.  You see, I got lucky.  I had difficulty getting the screener link to play on my PC's media streamer, and so I ultimately purchased a download of Demon Resurrection.  My reservations about reviewing a free screener were greatly diminished once I ponied up four bucks and became a paying customer.  Guess what?  It turns out all of my hand-wringing about accepting that screener and then feeling obliged to review with kid gloves was unnecessary.  I had a blast watching Demon Resurrection.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip two

     I don't like tap dancing around spoiler territory, so I'm going to attempt instead to describe how viewing Demon Resurrection made me feel.  You see, Demon Resurrection took me back to a simpler time when low budget horror was content to just have fun with a premise.

     In this case, that premise revolves around a young woman named Grace (Alexis Golightly) who has unwittingly found herself ensnared in the machinations of a cult.  Lest I be misunderstood, Demon Resurrection has fun with this premise in the most sober, stone-faced fashion imaginable.  Low budget be damned, it makes you wait for the good stuff  - nudity, graphic violence, rubber monsters, magic -  while it laboriously sets the stage with an initial thirty minutes or so that doesn't quite avoid playing out like the exposition dump it is.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip three

     Still, even at this stage one can't help but notice the professionalism underlying the delivery of that exposition.  Demon Resurrection looks like a real movie.  It was obviously made for pocket change, but it was made by a cast and crew that knows how to make the most of the resources available.  I've got almost no tolerance for the do it yourself  "we'll figure it out as we go" vibe that micro-budgeted movies often display.  I've got better things to do with my time than watch someone's home movies.  Thankfully, Demon Resurrection does a fine job of side-stepping that vibe by properly lighting, framing, and editing the obligatory exposition.  It's still dry as dust, but it's handsomely assembled.

     More importantly, though, Demon Resurrection ultimately delivers on the promise of the set-up.  Once it finally gets rolling, it's a non-stop gallop to the end.  The gory set pieces and choreographed action never lets up.  I was reminded of the first time I saw Evil Dead (1981), another movie that meanders a bit before finding its footing.  Demon Resurrection never quite reaches the hysterical highs of Evil Dead, but it's made with the same kind of creativity and ingenuity that shines through its limitations.

Demon Resurrection (2008) stills strip four

     I said earlier that I would describe how Demon Resurrection made me feel, and so I will.  It made me feel like a kid again, a horror loving kid still unsophisticated enough to look past the shortcomings as long as the movie ultimately delivers the goods.  Demon Resurrection delivers.  I felt as though I'd happened upon a particularly good late night horror flick on TNT MonsterVision.  I didn't keep track of the numbers for the obligatory Drive-In Totals,  but I'll guarantee Demon Resurrection has enough general Horror Fu on display to make it a worthy addition to your watch list.

     One final note: I've repeatedly referred to Demon Resurrection as a new release despite its 2008 production date.  Owing to what director Hopkins describes as "a less than entirely successful attempt at self-distribution", the movie is only now beginning to enjoy a wider release.  You can purchase Demon Resurrection on DVD at, or you can opt instead for instant gratification and get the download.

     Thanks, Mr. Hopkins, for sharing Demon Resurrection with me.  Though I still harbor reservations about accepting and reviewing screeners, I have no reservations whatsoever about recommending an entertaining movie.  Well done.  Just don't send more screeners.  I can't bear the pressure.

September 4, 2014

The Virtual Drive-In Selection For September Is Speeding Toward Us

Death Race 2000 (1975) poster

     I've been so busy slacking lately that I let the Virtual Drive-In sneak up on me this month.  If I need to be reminded, then I'm sure everyone else does, too.  The selection for September is Paul Bartel's Death Race 2000 (1975), and you can click here for details on how to watch with us.

                Scheduled showtime is Saturday, September 5th at 9:30 pm Eastern Standard.

The Movie At Dog Farm Virtual Drive-In logo

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