Short movie review: The Tattooist

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Currently making the rounds at the festival circuit and turning more than the occasional head is this glorious short from independent film director Michael Wong.
Wong has a beautiful eye for detail with his short feature, The Tattooist, a movie that is rich in colour and texture, where the images leap off the screen and buries into the back of the audiences visual core.

In order to make a decent short, you have to go one of two ways, focus on narrative or provide a visual treat for the senses. Both are really hard to pull off and to execute well. Wong in this instance chooses to go with the latter by luring the audience into the dark and twisted mind of an ink specialist, who harbours a disturbing secret.

Whether it is within the tattooists’ mind as he imagines these harrowing depictions of brutal torment and gore that is reminiscent of Eli Roth’s Hostel movies, or genuine insight into these torture chambers, where he imprisons his victims is down to the audiences interpretation.
Either way, Wong provides a window into this disturbing underbelly of a tattoo parlour that taps into our fears of the uncertainty and sometimes taboo views associated with such places.

It’s an abrasive and voyeuristic vision that Wong delivers and in doing so makes him a director to keep a firm eye on.

To watch The Tattooist, check out the link here.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie review: Happy Death Day 2U

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Here at the Surgeons School of Horror there are some key elements that make up a good sequel.

  1. It stays faithful to what was set up in (the spirit of) the original.
  2. It offers something new that adds to the original. It needs to feel right and makes you say, “Yeah, that fits!” without contradicting it.
  3. And the tipping point in shifting from a great sequel into an awesome one is that it must stand on its own as an individual film.

Highlander 2 for example completely ignored the rules as to why they were immortal in Highlander 1 = Bad movie.

Escape From LA is a literal rehash of Escape From New York = Bad movie.

Where as Aliens explored and expanded the mythology of the xenomorph whilst making a film that stands alone, which is fantastic and feels like it sits comfortably within the universe that Ridley Scott set up = Great movie.

So, where does Happy Death 2U fit into this equation?
Well, lets take a quick snapshot of our original review from its predecessor:

Murdered on her birthday, college student wakes up to find that she is stuck in a time loop in true Groundhog Day style and must relive the day all over again and can only break out of this vortex by finding her murderer.

It was a cool premise with some black comedy thrown in to boot to keep the viewer connected. Sure it had its flaws, particularly with continuity left, right, and centre. At the time I found it hard to connect with and treated it as a fairly middle of the road movie but it resonated with the younger generation who understood the humour and the college satire that was injected into the lead protagonist, Tree’s plight.

So with a successful first outing, Director Christopher Landon and producer Jason Blum felt that there was enough material there to warrant a second trip into the time loop with a sequel.

So going back to our rules for what makes a successful sequel how does it fair.

  1. Does it stay faithful to the original?
    Yes and no.
    Yes, because it does keep up with the rules applied with Tree finding herself, trapped in a time loop again and it amps up the comedy element this time around more successfully I felt.
    No, because it loses the horror element and steps firmly into sci-fi territory which may lose some of the original fans… but having said that and to use our Alien / Aliens analogy again, the original movie was a sci-fi horror, where as the sequel was more of a sci-fi action movie, so there’s no reason that you can’t shift genre and still make it successful.
  2. Does it add anything to the original that feels right?
    Hell yes! And this is HDD2U’s trump card. Where fans of the original maybe disappointed with the shift in genre, the writers stay within the boundaries of believability by throwing in the McGuffin of Carter’s roommate Ryan, who has invented a reactor that sucks Tree into said time loop with the added parallel universe jump to he mix.
    Tree still has to hunt down a killer, but this time around is faced with a few complex life choices.
  3. So, does it stand on its own as a stand-alone movie? Not really, as it heavily relies on the original to tie things together.

The Diagnosis:

The name of the game is fun in this movie. Whilst it steers away from the horror element, there is enough humour and drama in the mix to make this an incredibly entertaining feature that not only supports the original, but may even surpass it in some people’s eyes.
Oh and stick around for a mid credits scene that potentially opens up the universe even further.

– Antony Yee and Saul Muerte

Movie review: The Night Eats The World

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The Alliance Francaise French Film Festival is once again showcasing some excellent features this year, especially in the horror genre.
Alongside the glorious, hard-edged, rape revenge film, Revenge, comes the debut directorial feature from Dominique Rocher, The Night Eats The World.

The film embodies Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend with its token male protagonist, struggling with isolation in a post-apocalyptic world over run by zombies, but there the similarities lie.

Set primarily within the confines of a Parisian apartment block, our lone figure Sam (played by Anders Danielson Lie, who is simply divine in this movie in creating his character with charm, charisma, coupled with this awkward mix of inept social skills) wakes up in an apartment room, after seeking refuge from a house party, only to find the afore-mentioned apocalypse has hit and it would appear that there are no other survivors… at least not human ones.

Whilst The Night Eats The World is a bit of a slow burn, audiences are rewarded with the attention to Sam’s character and as the film plays out we warm to his quirks. Sam is clearly a guy who struggles at the best of times to mix with people and would prefer to be holed up on his own, without the company of others. So it’s with some sense of irony that his wish comes true with the zombie outbreak, but through it all, his sense of isolation is heightened and he realizes that even he seeks companionship, which at one point he finds in a zombie trapped in the lift.

Despite his growing agoraphobia, Sam must break down his barriers and leap out into this strange new horizon, if he has any chance to survive in the ‘new world’.

It’s Sam’s anxiety about what may lay beyond the comforts of his four walls that makes this such a refreshing film to watch.

It also contains a feeling of warmth and humour, which juxtaposes the climate that Sam is faced with. This too provides a rich attraction to the movie that allows The Night That Ate The World to stand out and claim its own identity in a crowded sub-genre.

The Diagnosis:

Director Dominique Rocher offers a quirky and delightful take on the zombie genre, by offering a slice of humanity, whilst shining a spotlight on how crippling anxiety can be.

It is a beautifully paced movie providing ample time for the main protagonist to shine, with dramatic moments to pulsate and keep the audience entertained.

– Saul Muerte

Catch the screening of The Night Eats The World at the Alliance Francoise French Film Festival.

Screening times below:

Sun 10 Mar8:10 PMPalace Norton St.
Tue 12 Mar8:45 PMPalace Central
Wed 13 Mar8:30 PMPalace Central
Thu 14 Mar8:40 PMPalace Norton St.
Sat 16 Mar9:00 PMPalace Central
Wed 20 Mar8:50 PMPalace Norton St.
Fri 22 Mar7:30 PMChauvel Cinema
Sat 23 Mar8:40 PMPalace Central
Sun 24 Mar8:30 PMPalace Verona
Mon 25 Mar8:30 PM
Palace Central
Thu 28 Mar8:40 PMChauvel Cinema
Sat 30 Mar8:45 PMChauvel Cinema
Sun 31 Mar8:20 PMPalace Central
Mon 1 Apr8:50 PMPalace Verona
Tue 2 Apr8:50 PMPalace Central
Wed 3 Apr9:45 PMPalace Norton St.
Thu 4 Apr8:45 PMChauvel Cinema
Fri 5 Apr8:30 PMHayden Orpheum Cremorne
Fri 5 Apr8:40 PMPalace Norton St.

Movie review: Hell Fest

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When released in the States back in September 2018, Hell Fest crashed out to a poor box office despite what promised to be a great premise with something that was reminiscent of Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse, (a forgotten gem) albeit with a more distinctive teen-slasher vibe in this instance.

There is a phrase that ‘Monsters don’t always lurk in the shadows, sometimes they hide in plain sight’, and what better way to hide and stalk your prey than in a nightmare entertainment theme park, built to scare and delight its customers.

As the teens enter The Dead Lands, an area of the theme park where the workers are allowed to physically touch you in their attempts to up the scare ante, a masked figure known as ‘The Other’ begins to circle and focus on his prey and inevitably picks them off one by one.

Hell Fest contains all the hallmarks of what should be a fun ride which it is including some brutal kills that have you grimacing in your seat, so why did it bomb and not resonate with its cinema going audience?

Most critics citied its lack of originality and that it fell to formulaic tropes within the genre with most of the characters presented as two-dimensional representations of what most horror fans have seen before. Although I did find Bex Taylor-Klaus’ performance of the wayward and rebellious Taylor, fun to watch.
I do find it hard to defend Hell Fest though, as it does appear to tread old ground and you never really feel connected to the characters. It’s a shame because director Gregory Plotkin’s (Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension) sophomore outing has a great playing field to draw out the horror and offer some unique approaches to the genre, but fails to deliver.

The Diagnosis:

Whilst Hell Fest is a fun ride, the ride itself becomes all too familiar all too quickly and the thrills whimper out with barely a flicker on the scare-ometer. And hey, it was awesome to see Tony Todd on screen as the theme park’s barker, despite his screen time being way too small.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie review: Velvet Buzzsaw

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Now that the paint has dried and a few weeks has passed since Velvet Buzzsaw was unveiled on Netflix, it seems a good time as any for this Surgeon to dissect Dan Gilroy’s third movie from the director’s chair.

Gilroy’s debut, Nightcrawler was a disturbing vision of a violent, voyeuristic underbelly of US society as depicted by the media, so there was much anticipation ahead of his third outing.

Teaming up once again with stars Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal, Velvet Buzzsaw promised to be another dark and twisted journey into the recesses of the art world, both of whom excel in their respective parts; Gyllenhaal as Morf Vandewalt (great name by the way), an art critic who’s mind begins to unravel as the true horror behind Arts latest discovery Vetril Dease unleashes an evil that threatens the fabrication of materialism and expression to its foundations and rip it to shreds; and respected gallery owner Rhodora Haze, who is every shadow of perfection, but has a her own demons lurking within.

Having shuffled off this mortal coil, Dease’s work is discovered by Josephina (who also works for Rhodora, and coincidentally is having an affair with Gyllenhaal’s Morf) in his apartment and seeking a chance to lift her profile, nabs the lot in search of fortune.

And therein lies the rub.

Every character it seems is in search of their own personal glorification and with each stride to ‘perfection’, they fall deeper into the labyrinth of sin and despair.
None more so than Toni Collette’s Gretchen, who gets so bitter and twisted as she distorts and manipulates her grounding in order to establish a firm footing within the Artistic community.

Interestingly though, it’s only those that feed off the creative types and promote their material in order to meet their own ends, are the ones that get popped off one by one. Some, in glorious fashion.

The artists themselves are deeply affected by Dease’s paintings but instead of utter destruction, it only empowers them to go and create again. As if to explore their own passions and free their souls to be reborn, or thrive once more. 

The only other exception is Coco (everyone’s assistant) who is basically everyone’s pawn and unfortunately is the discoverer of most of the victims.

So far so bloody fabulous. Gilroy does a stellar job at tapping into the heart of the savagery embedded in the Art world, and there are hints of Altmanesque style of direction, as he weaves a multi-layered character narrative.

Ultimately though, where Gilroy succeeded with Nightstalker with its transcendence into hell, with Velvet Buzzsaw, he seems to get lost in the vortex of disillusionment. The more Gilroy subjects his characters to the turmoil within their own psyche, the more fantastical and hyper realistic their world becomes, alienating the audience as a result.

The Diagnosis:

Velvet Buzzsaw like most works of art is subjective to the perception of its viewer or audience. Some may find it a stroke of genius that embodies the ugly psyche of the human mind; others will declare it a façade. When you lift the veil on the mania and manufactured lifestyle that the characters lead, all that’s left is circles in the sand… but then again, maybe that was Gilroy’s point.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie review: Bird Box

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It’s been a couple of months now that Sandra Bullock’s Netflix vehicle was released and was strong enough among the Surgeons team to elevate it into the Top 5 horror movies of 2018, but not all of us had such a positive attraction to the film.

Until recently, Bird Box had remained on my Must Watch list and embarrassingly kept being pushed back when I found time to delve into a film. So, why did I keep doing this? What was propelling me away or not enticing me into the post-apocalyptic world where supernatural entities lead people to commit suicide?

Truth be told, I just found the concept uninteresting and perhaps too dark or deep. So every time I came to watch the film, I shied away to watch something else more upbeat or stimulating.

It doesn’t bode well to have these thoughts before watching a movie, but I still wanted to clear my mind and come into this fresh, but I was enticed by the fact that it was directed by Susanne Bier, who was behind the awesome The Night Manager.

Our first introduction to Bullock’s character, Malorie Hayes is a stern and strict one as she gives two children specific instructions of a troubled journey that lay ahead. It’s an interesting choice, as it doesn’t allow you to warm to her straight away. It does allow you to warm to her as you realize that our first window into her soul is a truly human one. As stark as it maybe it propels you through the narrative with her and Bullock’s performance on screen is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.

In fact all the performances are significantly on point with all support acts given their chance to have “their moment” on screen, but particular nods should go out to Trevante Rhodes (The Predator), Sara Paulson (American Horror Story), John Malkovich who hams it up in a fantastically melancholic role, and Tom Hollander (Taboo).

Bird Box is also beautifully shot with cinematographer Salvatore Tottino exploiting ever inch of the canvas to project his vision.

Throw in a cracking score from the brilliant mind of Trent Reznor and you can fast see why my fellow Surgeons were chomping at the bit, especially with the split timeline narrative to provide the lead-up to the ordeal that Malorie faces in her blindfolded attempt to navigate the river to find sanctuary in a treacherous land that has been torn apart.

The narrative has to hang together on Bullock’s character and her performance, which it does… just. She weaves together a tumultuous tale of survival and eking out every possible emotion along the way, but ultimately the narrative does plod along and despite everyone’s best efforts feels strained and a fairly predictable outcome despite its best efforts to challenge your thoughts and opinions.

The Diagnosis:

Bird Box has all the ingredients to make an incredibly powerful movie with strong performances all round, especially with Bullock leading the charge. It boasts a director at her pique with a cinematographer who can tweak out the most stunning images, but like the creatures that invoke the fear, it is all fluff and no substance. Whilst the ride is enjoyable, it doesn’t leave you with any strong connection to the movie.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie review: Escape Room

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One of the more recent entertainment trends has seen people seeking a higher thrill or adventure in order to stoke the fires of curiosity and challenge their intellects through ‘escape rooms’ designed to fulfil these needs.
Often used as a means of office or work related events to boost morale and establish solid foundation for teamwork.
For any British readers out there, it’s hard to shake the image of these adventure seekers within The Crystal Maze shouting out, “I’ve got the crystal! I’ve got the crystal!”
But I digress.
It seems inevitable then that the movie industry would latch onto this craze and string a dark narrative behind them to lure in the cinema-going public.
Essentially what is in offer is a film that has similar traits to Saw or more appropriately Cube following a group of six strangers who in this instance sign up for one of these Escape Rooms only to realise that the stakes are high and very real.
And so we see them face challenge after challenge in a fight for survival and where humanity is put in the line and deeply questioned.

Initially enticed to the event by a strange looking cube which had this writer instantly thinking of the puzzle box from Hellraiser. Now that would have been interesting to see a group of people in search of the ultimate thrill by luring out the coenobites in a battle of ecstasy that would tear open their souls in order to reach their satisfaction… if only.

Instead, we’re presented with a series of events that feel all too familiar and despite the threat being all too real, never puts the audience on edge.
There are moments where we are taken on the ride and witness the characters plight, but it’s hard to emote any sense of empathy towards them as the focus is more on the danger presented in each room rather than on any depth in personality and any attempt to do so is incredibly formulaic.

The one standout set piece was in the drug infused room that leaves its occupants intoxicated with a highly venomous poison that disorientates and fucks with the mind. This scene does a lot to heighten the loss of control that the characters face and the panic that ensues.It was a pleasure to see True Blood’s Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) on screen again and the lead protagonist (Taylor Russell) holds her own in a rewarding performance too.

The Diagnosis:

Escape Room could easily serve as a companion to Blumhouse’s The Belko Experiment as it equally pits a group of people in a fight for survival.
Whilst it offers a few thrills along the way, it never lifts the danger component to an extreme level and as such bobs along without much fanfare.
It’s an enjoyable movie but never really challenged my senses enough to connect with the characters plight.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie review: An Hour To Kill

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You’d be forgiven for thinking than Aaron K. Carter’s sophomore outing behind the camera; An Hour To Kill is just another low budget, off-the-wall movie, with actors who appear to be running off their lines without any connection to the audience and cinematography that just about scraps the viewing experience over the line.

But if you look past the cracks and crevices that are blatant for a movie of its kind, something begins to happen that lures you in… namely the screenplay. Carter wisely breaks up the narrative of the film into various sections that are either flashbacks or stories told by our leads. This change allows the script to shift gears with each section and push the audience forward, whilst never feeling stagnant or spend too long on the sparseness of the captured footage. This is definitely a testament to Carter’s writing and direction to be able to transport the viewer into the world and not be too distracted by its obvious flaws.

Whilst the opening scene is obviously influenced by Tarantino, using a blend of peppered dialogue and crime, especially with rookie hit man, Frankie played remarkably convincingly by Frankie Pozos. It could be easy to dismiss Frankie’s performance at first, but as the story unfolds the audience finds themselves integrated into his character and his interaction with veteran hit man, Gio (Aaron Guerrero). Guerrero also teamed up with director Carter in his debut feature, Dead Kansas and also seems quite relaxed in his character on-screen.

The crux of the story is centred on an ongoing conflict between crime lord Mr. Kinski (Mel Novak – Game of Death) and Arash. When the former suspects Frankie as a mole, he charges Gio with the task of bumping him off. Gio asks that he be given the opportunity to do it his way. Kinski agrees but gives him the ultimatum to enact his deed within the hour. So with an Hour To Kill, Gio and Frankie exchange stories to pass the time.

Each story that is presented goes from the bizarre to the downright deranged and sucks you in deeper into the insanity. The first story, Valkyrie’s Bunker, a typical slasher style short story, presents a group of girls who drive to a Nazi bunker for a group project only to find out they are not alone.

The second story actually suits the style that the movie has been shot in, resulting in numerous pieces to camera monologues. Assacre focuses on an eating contest that has 5 entrees competing to eat a fairly substantial burrito. When the reigning champion is defeated, he teams up with fellow loser to seek revenge and produce a powerful pepper. The results are more than anticipated and one of the best and hilarious death scenes in recent times.

The last segment, Hog Hunters is the most crazed of all when a bowling team goes in search of some entertainment only to get more than they bargained for. Words cannot do this segment justice, just sit back and let the wild times unfold.

The Diagnosis:

Yes it’s low budget and it doesn’t hide the flaws, but Carter creates grindhouse-style deliverance in his direction that highlights his writing abilities and the acting credibility of the lead hit men. If you simply allow the story in An Hour To Kill to wash over you, you’ll be pleasantly entertained.

  • Saul Muerte

Retrospective: The Blair Witch Project

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Transport yourself back twenty years and cast yourself in an auditorium draped with red velvet curtains and matching carpet where the unwanted popcorn had stuck to the floor and would crunch beneath your feet.

This is where I found myself ahead of this massively hyped movie that had allegedly had audiences throwing up in the aisles.

Was this a reaction to the events in the movie or from the hand-held cinematography that the filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez were looking to achieve in order to capture the old documentary style filming you often saw in news reports etc.? What ever it was, Myrick and Sanchez had a lightning in the bottle moment that sent the Internet ablaze while it was still in its infancy, (no other film at this stage had created such a multimedia sensation) and in the process reawakened the found footage genre.

The twenty-year-old version of myself was determined not to buy into the insanity, but as I sat as the lights went down anticipating an awakening of my own. To be scared, thrilled, and gripped in fear at the events that would flow before me. This twenty-year-old was also incredibly stubborn. I beckoned, nay, willed the filmmakers to push my senses to the limit. Yes, I was disorientated, but not nearly to the degree that I had been led to believe, and I found my excitement transported to fury at these whining Americans that were lost in the woods.

To say that I was underwhelmed was a gross understatement.

And yet, something kept niggling away at me beneath the surface.

I was aware of the impact that this little movie had had on the horror industry, an industry that I loved so much. And numerous friends of mine would often talk about the impact that it had on them over the years. Was I wrong to have scoffed at the film so readily? Was there more to this movie than just your average run-of-the-mill found-footage horror?

Films of similar ilk like Paranormal Activity, or Cloverfield would come and go and not resonate as deeply, with the exception of Jaume Balagueró’s [Rec]. It was safe to say that I wasn’t a fan of this sub-genre.

It was only upon a few years back in preparation ahead of Adam Wingard’s sequel Blair Witch that I gathered the team together for a podcast on the franchise. It was during this time that I began to appreciate the making of this movie.

Listen to The Surgeons of Horror podcast:

The Blair Witch franchise


As The Blair Witch Project celebrates its 20th Anniversary, I’ve come to realize that it is a cracking example of experimental horror at its finest. The techniques that Myrick and Sanchez use in both production and marketing were exemplary, and should be applauded.

Whilst some could argue that it feels like a student film in places, (which let’s face it, it was) the direction would mark a new approach in film-making moving forward and open the door for similar stylized films.

With a 32-page screenplay and a trio of as-yet undiscovered actors (Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard) in their crew, (some having to double-up as camera crew) they ventured out into the wooded terrain in Maryland to carry out their vision.

The aim was to guide the actors through pre-decided marks throughout the woods, where they would improvise around the screenplay, whilst adapting to each action as it was given to them. The effect was a naturalistic piece of drama, which made the plight of our trio all the more gritty and realistic.

It essentially became a test of endurance on the three actors, as they were deprived of food and disorientated by lack of sleep.

Throw in the shock ending, which was initially asked to be reshot by Artisan Entertainment for its confusion, only to end up in the final cut. It’s a good job too, as the ending is both startling and unsettling leaving the viewer hollow inside. Any movie that can garner such a reaction from its audience will always be held highly in these writers’ eyes.

The final mark of brilliance though comes in the marketing. With so much back-story written, it became an online producer’s playing field to create and sell the ‘history’ and cement the believability further. In an age where the scope of the internets online marketing capability had yet to be explored, and the mythology behind the Blair Witch was catapulted into the mainstream, coupled with the mockumentary, Curse of the Blair Witch, and the book, The Blair Witch Project: A Dossier.

There’s plenty of good reason that The Blair Witch Project should and still be deemed a horror movie classic, and twenty years on, it is a testament to clever filmmaking, marketing, and that special lightning in bottle magic, that only comes around every so often.

Listen to The Surgeons of Horror podcast:

Director Eduardo Sanchez interview

  • Saul Muerte

Press Release: MidWest WeirdFest Announces First Programming Wave for 2019

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Eau Claire, Wisconsin, January 16, 2019 – MidWest WeirdFest announces its first programming wave for 2019 today. The third annual festival – a cinematic celebration of all things fantastic, frightening, offbeat, and just plain weird – takes place March 8-10, 2019 at the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

“This year’s fest line-up is set to delight fans of cutting edge horror, sci-fi, underground, and documentary cinema”, says festival founder and programming director Dean Bertram. “We’ve put together a heady and eclectic mix of speculative genre offerings, underground strangeness, and paranormal revelations: From a psychedelic Manson Family reimagining and a post-apocalyptic dance-off epic, through tales about a reanimated electrokinetic teenager, haunted stoners, and inept buddy superheroes, to a bonkers lake monster adventure and the most in-depth Bigfoot documentary ever produced. And that’s just from MidWest WeirdFest’s first programming wave of 2019!” 

Discounted festival passes are now on sale at: www.midwestweirdfest.com. Individual tickets to each film will go on sale closer to the festival; both on the fest’s website, and directly from the Micon Downtown Cinema in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

Full program details and filmmaker guests will be revealed in February. 

The first seven feature films announced follow: 

FP 2: BEATS OF RAGE (director: Jason Trost)

Despite hanging up his boots following the events of the cult classic “THE FP”,  JTRO must return to the blood sport of Beat-Beat Revelation one last time.  JTRO and KCDC – his mystical hype man – will quest deep into The Wastes, a land decimated by the Beat Wars, to compete in the ancient Beat-Beat tournament, called “Beats of Rage”, face AK-47, and, hopefully, save the world.  Imagine a MAD MAX style future, where battles to the death are fought via the video game Dance Dance Revolution, and you might have an inkling of the crazy and hilarious post-apocalyptic world of THE FP.

THE INVISIBLE MOTHER (directors: Matthew Diebler and Jacob Gillman)

When lesbian stoner Marcy returns to her grandparents’ home to help care for her mentally declining grandmother, she discovers they are being terrorized by a malevolent force from a Victorian post-mortem photograph. THE INVISBLE MOTHER is a giallo-styled, terrifying descent into supernatural terror.

LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER (director: Ryland Tews)

The eccentric Captain Seafield hires a crew of specialists to help him plot revenge against the creature that killed his father. After several failed attempts, Seafield is forced to take matters into his own drunken hands. What began as a simple case of man verses beast, soon turns into a rabbit hole of mysterious unknowns and Lovecraftian hijinks. LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER — banned in four lakes! 

THE LAST OF THE MANSON GIRLS (director: Lonnie Martin)

Convinced there’s more to the Manson murders than meets the public eye, counterculture journalist Paul Krassner embarks on an LSD tinged investigation of the last of Manson’s disciples: Brenda McCann, Sandra Good, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. What he finds could change how the world sees the 60s… if he lives long enough to tell the story. A riveting, speculative, and psychedelic journey into one of the darkest byways of 1960s Americana.

ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT (director: Seth Breedlove)

From Small Town Monsters, and MidWest WeirdFest alumni filmmaker Seth Breedlove (THE MOTHAN OF POINT PLEASANT, THE BRAY ROAD BEAST), comes this enthralling documentary examining the history of the Bigfoot phenomenon. ON THE TRAIL OF BIGFOOT was filmed coast to coast during 2018 and features witnesses and investigators of the elusive creature.  Prepare to go deeper into the Bigfoot subject than you’ve ever gone before.

REBORN (director: Julian Richards)

A stillborn baby girl is brought back to life by a morgue attendant using electrokinetic power. On her sixteenth birthday she escapes her captor and sets out to find her birth mother leaving a trail of destruction behind her. Don’t miss this stunning modern twist on 70s and 80s horror classics like CARRIE, FIRESTARTER, and THE FURY. Stars genre legends Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR, BEYOND THE GATES) and Michael Parle (STREETS OF FIRE, THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT).

ZEROES (director: Charles Smith)

After leaving a Halloween party dressed as ninjas, Kenneth and Ray – two drunken roommates – thwart a robbery and their heroics go viral. No litterer or public urinator is safe until an actual serial killer begins to ravage the city. Our inept crime-fighting duo, with the help of the enigmatic and insanely wealthy Gary, must catch the killer before Kenneth’s crush Kate becomes the next target. Hilarity abounds in this superhero spoof.

For more details visit the festival’s website: www.midwestweirdfest.com