Category: Horror

KILLADELPHIA Deluxe Edition, Book One by Rodney Barnes & Jason Shawn Alexander is Coming!

Killadelphia took the comic world by storm.  If you know, you know.  If you don’t know, here’s a summary…

Finally, the acclaimed horror title which was nominated for an Eisner Award for “best new series” is collected in a stunning hardcover featuring the first 12 issues and more!

From RODNEY BARNES, the breakout star comics scribe and television writer behind HBO’s Winning Time, and the show-stopping artist who redefined SPAWN for a new generation, JASON SHAWN ALEXANDER.

When a small-town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father, revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr., he stumbles into a mystery that will lead him down a path of horrors and shake his beliefs to their core. The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality…and vampires.

Now, it’s up to Jimmy and an unexpected companion to stop long-thought-dead President of the United States John Adams from building an undead army and staging a bloody new American revolution.

There’s a reason they say you can’t go home again. Welcome to Killadelphia.

Collects KILLADELPHIA #1-12 and chapters 1-5 of the terrifying werewolf tie-in story ELYSIUM GARDENS

I’m glad that Killadelphia is getting the deluxe hardcover treatment.  I’m looking forward to mine.  Pre-orders are available now.

“Zone of the Dead” aka  “Apocalypse of the Dead” (2009) Starring Ken Foree / Z-View

Zone of the Dead aka  Apocalypse of the Dead (2009)

Director:  Milan Konjevic, Milan Todorovic

Screenplay by:  Milan Konjevic from a story by Vukota Brajovic, Milan Todorovic

Starring: Ken Foree and Kristina Klebe

Tagline:  This City Is a Living Hell

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Agents Mortimer Reyes (Foree) and Mina Milius (Klebe) are transporting a dangerous criminal when a zombie apocalypse breaks out.  The agents and criminal join forces in an effort to fight their way to safety.  Think Assault on Precinct 13 meets Night of the Living Dead (but not nearly as good as either).

Zone of the Dead isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re in the right frame of mind and enjoy zombie films, you could do worse.

Zone of the Dead aka  Apocalypse of the Dead earns 2 of 5 stars.

“Hunter Hunter” (2020) / Z-View

Hunter Hunter (2020)

Director: Shawn Linden

Screenplay by: Shawn Linden

Starring: Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Howell, Devon Sawa and Nick Stahl

Tagline:

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Joseph Mersault (Sawa) lives in a remote wilderness log cabin with his wife Anne (Sullivan) and daughter Renée (Howell).  Joseph is a modern day mountain man, living off the land, hunting and trading animal skins for goods.  They’re just barely getting by.  Anne doesn’t enjoy the life, but tolerates it.  Renée loves hunting with her dad and living in the wilderness.

When a huge, rogue wolf returns to the area, Joseph decides he will hunt and kill it.  When Joseph doesn’t return after a couple of days, Anne fears the worst.  But the worst is yet to come…

I liked a lot of Hunter Hunter.  For me it went off the rails when characters started doing really dumb things.  I could accept Joseph going to hunt the wolf.  But when he finds something totally unexpected and doesn’t go back to get his family away to safety and he doesn’t go to the police… well, that’s just dumb.  When Joseph doesn’t return after a couple of days, and Anne and her daughter have had a run-in with a wolf and Anne still decides to wait it out in the cabin… that just dumb.  When… well, you get the idea.

I had the feeling at the start of the film that we may be dealing with a werewolf.  The lingering shots of the full moon also added to that feeling.  Was the director just setting us up?  The thing that really brought down my rating of this film was the final act.  It seemed out of character for Anne, and the gore was over-the-top.  Then for the police to allow her to simply walk away?  C’mon, man.

Hunter Hunter earns 2 of 5 stars.

“The Day” (2011) / Z-View

The Day (2011)

Director: Douglas Aarniokoski

Screenplay by: Luke Passmore

Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Brianna Barnes and Dominic Monaghan

Tagline:  Fight. Or die.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

The Day has an interesting premise that is perfect for a low-budget film.  A group of five weary survivors living in a post-apocalypse, come upon a remote farm house.  In addition to shelter they find a basement stocked with canned goods.  Or so they think.  What they’ve really stumbled into is a trap set by a cannibalistic tribe!

I wish that The Day lived up to its premise.  I like the idea of cannibals, but once the fighting starts it’s just kill after kill. There was no real suspense and truthfully, I didn’t care one way or the other about which characters lived or died.

The Day earns 2 of 5 stars.

“The Killer Shrews” (1959) / Z-View

The Killer Shrews (1959)

Director: Ray Kellogg

Screenplay by:  Jay Simms

Starring: James Best, Ingrid Goude and Ken Curtis

Tagline: Ravaging beasts feed on human flesh!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Thorne Sherman (Best) and his partner dock their boat loaded with supplies at a remote island research base.  Despite an approaching hurricane, Dr. Marlowe Craigis wants Sherman to leave the island immediately and to take his grown daughter, Ann (Goude) as well.  Sherman  says that they need to hunker down and he’ll take her after the storm passes.

Sherman soon learns that Dr. Marlowe’s experiments have created a breed of killer shrews that must eat twice their body weight daily in order to survive.  The shrews’ food supply has dwindled and now the shrews have their eyes on the humans!  With teeth strong enough to eat through walls it is just a question of time until they get into the house… and then…

The Killer Shrews is a low-budget horror film that makes the most of the small cast.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the special effects.  It’s very obvious that the shrews are sometimes puppets and other times dogs wearing wigs.  There is a romance subplot that is low budget as well.  A pre-Gunsmoke, Festus (Curtis)  co-stars and produced.

The Killer Shrews is watchable in the Saturday night movie presented by a Horror Host kind of way.  In fact I remember first seeing The Killer Shrews on an episode of Sammy Terry’s Nightmare Theater back in the 60s.  I was in third or fourth grade. I loved the movie and couldn’t wait to tell the old lady crossing guard all about it on Monday.  I recently re-watched The Killer Shrews (this time hosted by Svengoolie).  It brought back great memories and I’m sure I’d have liked it better if I was still in elementary school.

The Killer Shrews earns 2 of 5 stars.

“Project Legion” Starring Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for Project Legion check all the boxes that get me to want to watch.  I even like that the star is Donald Cowboy Cerrone, one of the toughest UFC fighters in the world!  Fingers crossed for a great “drive-in” movie!

Against all odds, a former marine tries to escape his apartment after waking up to a city in chaos surrounded by creatures who prey on humans in the action/thriller PROJECT LEGION starring UFC superstar Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

“Blood Vessel” (2019) / Z-View

Blood Vessel (2019)

Director: Justin Dix

Screenplay by: Justin Dix, Jordan Prosser

Starring: Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland, Robert Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Alex Cooke, Mark Diaco, John Lloyd Fillingham, Troy Larkin and Vivienne Perry

Tagline:  None

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

1945.  World War II.  A life raft with five survivors of a hospital ship torpedoed by a Nazi U-boat has been adrift in the ocean for days.  With supplies and hope for rescue running low, the survivors spot a ship.  Although it is a German vessel, with nothing to lose, they board it.  The German sailors are all dead, their bodies horribly mutilated.  They find a young girl and two chained boxes…

I love the Blood Vessel poster (above) and the film exceeded my expectations.  I’m a fan of movies where a diverse group of people are thrown together and forced into life or death situations.  Blood Vessel checks all the boxes.  Early in the movie we’re shown that you cannot be sure who will live or die.  I loved that the vampire didn’t look human.  It was also a cool idea to use the time period when Germany was sure to lose the war and were Nazi officials were exploring occult options as a last resort.  Blood Vessel is a movie that I’m going to enjoy re-watching and would make a great double feature with Overlord!

Blood Vessel earns 4 of 5 stars.

Sputnik (2020): “The Only Survivor Did Not Come Back Alone” / Z-View

Sputnik (2020)

Director: Egor Abramenko

Screenplay by:  Oleg Malovichko, Andrey Zolotarev

Starring: Oksana Akinshina, Fedor Bondarchuk and Pyotr Fyodorov

Tagline:  The only survivor did not come back alone.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Tatyana Klimova (Akinshina), a  psychiatrist with a high success rate and unusual methods, is brought to a remote military facility.  Colonel Semiradov (Bondarchuk) has recruited Tatyana to work with Konstantin (Fyodorov),  the lone surviving cosmonaut of a recent space mission.

Initially Tatyana is told that Konstantin is in isolation and under military guard due to quarantine protocols.  She soon learns the real reason.  An alien life form is alive in Konstantin.  The creature feeds off nutrients in Konstantin’s food and in turn keeps him alive.  Colonel Semiradov is looking for a way to weaponize or kill the creature – no matter if the process kills Konstantin.  Tatyana wants to save Konstantin, even if it kills the creature.

Sputnik is a Russian film helmed by first time director, Egor Abramenko.  It could have easily turned into an Alien rip-off, but instead we’re given a film that is more psychological in nature.  The creature is unlike most outer-space monsters and is as creepy as it is scary.  There’s a nice twist at the end (but again, not like you’d expect in most horror films).  I enjoyed Sputnik.  It was different than I thought it’d be, but in a good way.

Sputnik earns 4 of 5 stars.

“The Plague” (2014) / Z-View

The Plague (2014)

Director: Nick Kozakis, Kosta Ouzas

Screenplay by:  Kosta Ouzas

Starring: Don Bridges, Tegan Crowley, Scott Marcus and Steven Jianai

Tagline:  Pray you don’t survive.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

After a zombie outbreak, a small group of survivors have taken refuge in a barn.  Arguments about what do next tear the group apart and lead to murder.  Everyone but Evie (Crowley) is ready to move on.  Evie wants to wait for her boyfriend, John (Marcus) to return.  He finally does, but only Evie waited.

Neither Evie are John are well-suited for survival in this new world.  When Charlie (Jianai) arrives at the barn, they gain renewed hope.  Charlie is an outdoorsman, a marksman and just wants their companionship.  Charlies says in return he will feed and protect them.  What could go wrong with that?

John and Evie should know that sometimes the humans are the most dangerous part of a zombie apocalypse.

The Plague has an interesting idea, but falls short in the execution.  It’s not a bad film, especially for a low budget production.

The Plague earns 2 of 5 stars.

“It Stains the Sands Red” (2016) / Z-View

It Stains the Sands Red (2016)

Director: Colin Minihan

Screenplay by:  Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz

Starring: Brittany Allen, Juan Riedinger and Merwin Mondesir

Tagline:  It NEVER rests. It NEVER sleeps. It NEVER stops.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

A zombie apocalypse has just started.  Molly (Allen) and her boyfriend, Nick (Mondesir) have left Vegas and are driving to a remote desert airfield where friends are meeting to fly to a safe location.  When their car becomes disabled and a zombie kills her boyfriend, Molly has no choice but to attempt to walk across the desert to the airfield still miles away… with the zombie in slow pursuit!

It Stains the Sands Red takes an interesting premise and through dumb / illogical choices of Molly (and the screenwriters), the film becomes less scary and more irritating.  The idea of a zombie chasing you through an area where there are few places to hide, little in the way of weapons and a climate that will wear you down, while the zombie never tires, never sleeps and has no need for food or water is a good one.

Still it would be hard to sustain a feature film where a zombie follows a person for 90 minutes.  To their credit, Minihan and Ortiz add things/people to the mix.  Where the film goes south (for me) is when Molly begins to talk to the zombie and it responds.  C’mon folks!  Zombies are mindless eating machines.  They don’t think, they don’t listen and they don’t respond to commands.

It Stains the Sands Red earns 2 of 5 stars.

“The Land Unknown” (1957) / Z-View

The Land Unknown (1957)

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

Screenplay by:  László Görög based on a story by Charles Palmer, William N. Robson

Starring: Jock Mahoney, Shirley Patterson, William Reynolds, Phil Harvey and Henry Brandon 

Tagline:  Lost and Terrorized in Prehistoric Time.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Commander Alan Roberts (Mahoney), Lt. Jack Carmen (Reynolds), mechanic Steve Miller (Harvey) and reporter Margaret Hathaway (Patterson) take a helicopter to explore an area of warm water in  Antarctica!  When they run into an unexpected storm, low fuel causes them to sit down.  The helicopter is damaged in the landing.  When the fog clears they realize that they are out of radio contact and in a world unchanged since prehistoric times!  Man-eating plants, dinosaurs and something that they never expected to find put their lives in danger.  Will they get the helicopter fixed in time to save them?

The Land Unknown was originally conceived as a big-budget extravaganza.  Prior to filming the budget was drastically cut.  Although filmed in Cinemascope, color was too expensive and all scenes were shot on a back lot.  Children and those old enough to fondly remember low-budget horror films will find enough fun in The Land Unknown.  Viewers not in those categories will see Barney and puppets attacking a toy helicopter.  So be advised your mileage may vary.  For me…

The Land Unknown earns 2 of 5 stars.

TRAIN 8 – The Zombie Express / Z-View

TRAIN 8 – The Zombie Express

Created and written by David Stephan and Marysol Levant
Additional writing and dialogue by Brian Phillipson
Art by Alex Cormack
Colors by Ashley Cormack and Alex Cormack
Letters and book design by Alex Murillo

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Train 8 is a high speed train traveling from Seattle to Chicago a few days before Thanksgiving.  The train is barreling along when a passenger infected with a virus dies and reanimates as a zombie.  Soon the train is out of control as passengers fight an ever-increasing number of the undead.  Surviving the zombies may not be enough, since the government has plans to destroy everyone and everything on the train!

Train 8 was originally written as a film script.  It probably would have made a cool movie.  As it turns out it’s not bad as a graphic novel.  Although the writing is a bit redundant/clunky in places, the story moves.  Some scenes are a little too dark, but that’s too be expected when the lights go out.  ; )    Props for the ending which is foreshadowed but is still a surprise and sets up a potential sequel.

Overall, I enjoyed Train 8.  If you’re a zombie fan, you should give it a look.

TRAIN 8 – The Zombie Express earns 3 of 5 stars.

Prey (2022) / Z-View

Prey (2022)

Director:  Dan Trachtenberg

Screenplay by:  Patrick Aison, Dan Trachtenberg based on characters created by Jim Thomas, John Thomas

Starring:  Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers and Dane DiLiegro

Tagline:  None

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

The year is 1719.  When a Comanche warrior is attacked by a mountain lion, Taabe (Beaver) leads a group of braves to attempt rescue. Naru (Midthunder), Taabe’s sister is allowed to join the men since she has been trained in healing herbs.  They find the wounded warrior along with tracks of a unknown beast.  The prints are  big as a bear’s but different.

When the others return to their village, Naru stays behind to track the beast.  She soon discovers that something new is in the forest.  It is a Predator!  Naru sees it kill a bear.  The Predator is a hunter and humans are now the prey!

Prey is an excellent and worthy addition to the Predator franchise.  The screenplay by Patrick Aison and Dan Trachtenberg avoids being preachy while at the same time is respectful of the Comanche culture with a female lead.

Dan Trachtenberg’s last film was 10 Cloverfield Lane, a sequel different from the original, yet fit perfectly into the franchise.  Trachtenberg has captured lighting in a bottle, by again creating a sequel different from the original, yet a perfect franchise fit.  I can see Prey serving as a springboard for future Predator movies set in different time periods.  Imagine a Predator/samurai film, or a Predator/gladiator movie, or… well, you get the idea.  I hope we don’t have to wait as long for Trachtenberg’s next feature.

Amber Midthunder excels in her role as Naru.  She is able to effectively portray the range of emotions required as well as the athletic exploits of an action star.  I look forward to seeing what Midthunder does next.

Prey is exciting and lives up to it’s potential.  There were quite a few folks writing the film off even before the first scene was shot.  I love that Prey turned out to be surprisingly good.  Some even think it better than the original with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  While I’m not in that camp, I did really like Prey and figure I may like it even more on subsequent viewings.  For now…

Prey earns 4 of 5 stars.