We return with another edition of the Indie Spotlight, highlighting recent independent horror news sent our way. Today’s feature includes DVD release details for Chastity Bites, trailers for Alter Ego and Founders Day, The Walking Dead Hawaii poster, reviews for The Halloween Experience: Volume One, Open Grave, and Still: The Web Series, and much more:
Chastity Bites DVD Release Details: “Grand Entertainment Group (GEG) wants YOU to celebrate “Women in Horror” month this February with the DVD release of CHASTITY BITES on February 11. The horror-comedy, which has been slaying festival audiences and has been praised by media, is created by a team of strong and vibrant women including writer/producer Lotti Pharriss Knowles, co-producer Wendi Mirabella and executive producer/lead actress Allison Scagliotti (Syfy’s “Warehouse 13”).
Directed by John V. Knowles (SHADOW.NET), the film stars Francia Raisa (ABC Family’s “Secret Life of the American Teenager”); Louise Griffiths (“The Revenant”); Amy Okuda (“The Guild”); Sarah Stouffer (“Bloomington”); Lindsey Morgan (ABC’s “General Hospital”); Laura Niemi (FX’s “Justified”); Eddy Rioseco (ABC’s “Parenthood”); Jennifer Gimenez (Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”); Greer Grammer (MTV’s “Awkward.”); and Stuart Gordon (“Re-Animator”).
The film tells of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who in the 1600’s, slaughtered more than 600 young women, believing if she bathed in the blood of virgins that she would stay young and beautiful forever. Still alive today, she’s found a perfect hunting ground for her “Botox” as an abstinence educator at a high school in red state America. But will a brave, young feminist blogger and journalist for the school paper finally put an end to the Blood Countess’s reign of terror and save her best friend from being the next victim?”
For more information on Chastity Bites, visit: http://www.weirdsmobile.net
Alter Ego Trailer and Release Details: “Set in an urban Japanese city, three young aspiring models are on their very first fashion shoot at an abandoned and neglected school one hot summer day. Without warning strange events begin occurring around the set that causes the models and photo crew to question their very sanity as one by one they begin dying an agonizing and painful death. Deaths seemingly caused by none other than themselves.
Eagle One Media is proud to announce it will distribute Takashi Shimizu’s undiscovered Japanese film Alter Ego to worldwide audiences for the first time. Takashi Shimizu, the famed director behind The Grudge and Ju-on horror franchises, was intimately involved as Supervising Director on Alter Ego and the feature film has never before been released outside of Japan. North America DVD release is set for February 18 with the film immediately available on digital platforms iTunes and Amazon Instant. Produced by King Records the film features the involvement of some of the masters of today’s Japanese horror scene including Issei Shibata (The Locker, The Chasing World); Yukihiko Yamaguchi (Meatball Machine, Kai-Ki: Tales of Terror from Tokyo) along with actors Hideo Sakaki (The Grudge, Versus), Taro Suwa (The Grudge, Ring 2), Kanji Tsuda (The Grudge, Tokyo Sonata), Nobuko Sakuma, Chieko Kawabe (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon), and Sena. Alter Ego can be pre-ordered at major on-line retailers such as Amazon.”
For more information on this film, go to: http://www.eagleonemedia.com
The Walking Dead Hawaii Poster Contest Details: “The award-winning podcast, The Walkingdead Cast, has teamed up with independent comic book sensation, Z-Girl and the 4 Tigers, to celebrate the return of The Walking Dead on Sunday and the upcoming 2015 Walking Dead spinoff series by bringing you a special Walking Dead Poster contest.
All you have to do is come up with the coolest idea for the Walking Dead Spinoff! Five lucky winners will get a Walking Dead: Hawaii poster Illustrated by Z Girl and the 4 Tigers artist, Kirk Manley. Grand Prize winner also gets a hardcopy set of issues 1-4 of Z-Girl and the 4 Tigers. The other four winners get PDFs of the first four issues.”
For more details on how to enter the contest, and what you can win can be found at: http://www.walkingdeadcast.com/contests
New Episode of Chronicles of the Dead: “Set in the near future, the ever dominating Harlan Corporation offers loans to qualifying citizens who have hit rock bottom in exchange to be sent out to the zombie wastelands to recover left behind footage depicting the collapse of North America.”
Directed by Brian Hernandez and written by Younger Robbins and Brian Hernandez, Loan Outstars Erin Cathcart, Lynn Adrianna, Edward Kasper, and Shirly Brener.
Hellions Video Contest “The contest is open to everyone, and we’re looking for scary videos up to 2 minutes long. The theme: Red. Your submission can take any form – a fake trailer, a scene from a horror script you’ve been working on, a short film all of its own – as long as it somehow connects to Red. Red like blood, red like hellfire, red like blind passion, red like the Blood Moon at Halloween… use your wildest imagination.
You have until February 28, 2014 to get your film to us. The winning entry will be shown within the context of the feature film Hellions and the director will be invited to the premiere. The short will appear on a television in a scene of Hellions, with the potential to also screen theatrically, in its entirety, along with the feature film; and to be included as a special feature on the DVD/BluRay release of Hellions. It’s your opportunity to be seen and talked about!
Here’s the best part: the contest will be initially judged by (dramatic pause): You. You, your friends, family, relatives, neighbours, as well as horror fans around the world. It’s your chance to make something cool, then have it voted one of the Audience Favourites, from which the judges will select a winner. In the final round the following judges will pick a winner from the Audience Favourites and their favourites shortlist:
-Bruce McDonald, the director of Hellions, the psychological zombie-thriller Pontypool, the internationally celebrated Hard Core Logo and a bunch more super cool indie movies;
-Director Rodrigo Gudiño, the twisted mind behind the acclaimed The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, who is also the founder and publisher of the Rue Morgue genre brand and all its media properties; and
-Jason Eisener, the director of the cult exploitation action flick Hobo with a Shotgun, as well as segments in horror anthologies The ABCs of Death and V/H/S/2.”
Lot254: “A collector repairs a vintage cine camera unlocking the hidden terror of Lot254.”
First Details on Honeyspider: “It’s Halloween day in 1989 and college student Jackie Blue wants to enjoy a quiet birthday in the midst of a chaotic semester at school. Her friend Amber has other ideas and persuades Jackie to come to the annual Halloween party on campus after her shift at the local movie theater. As the night unfolds, it becomes apparent that Jackie will get more excitement than she bargained for on her birthday this year. The murder that plays out on the silver screen becomes an ominous parallel to reality, as Jackie falls under a strange spell while everyone around her is turning up dead. All the while, a mysterious stranger watches over Jackie’s every move as she succumbs to hallucinations and slowly unravels. Jackie finds herself helplessly trapped like prey in a spider’s web, and all she can do is try to survive the night!
Honeyspider is an upcoming horror feature film from indie filmmakers Josh Hasty and Kenny Caperton. The film takes place in 1989 on Halloween day and follows college student Jackie Blue (Mariah Brown) as she slowly unravels, all while a mysterious stranger watches over her.
Honeyspider is a cult throwback that pays homage to the classics, but also introduces original ideas to the genre. The film is written and produced by Kenny Caperton (owner of the infamous Myers House NC) and directed by Josh Hasty (‘A Mannequin in Static’) of Black House Capital. The film stars Frank Aard (‘April Fool’s Day’ remake), Joan Schuermeyer (‘Zombieland’ and RZ’s ‘Halloween 2’), Rachel Jeffreys, Samantha Mills (‘Bombshell Bloodbath’) and newcomer Mariah Brown.
The film is currently in post-production and is scheduled to hit the festival circuit in search of distribution this Fall.”
Crimson Screen Horror Claymation Details: “This claymation was created for the Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival. It will be taking place on April 19-20th in Charleston, SC. Get off the couch and come out or you might be next. Claymations created by Trent Shy and Liz.”
Pittsburgh 68 Gameplay Details: “Thrills and chills await in Pittsburgh 68, a frenzied card-n-dice game that plays like a creepy old zombie survival movie! With each and every turn, a central dealt hand of cards reveals horrible events, and players do their best to stay one step ahead of the zombie shuffle.
As tensions mount, players will fall – but they don’t stop playing. They just shuffle back into the game as zombies in classic living dead style. As the players turn on each other, the action of the game is driven to its horrid end in a frenzied cinematic style. A cooperative game until it’s not, Pittsburgh 68 pays homage to a time when slow moving zombies ruled!”
To learn more, visit: http://www.gamewick.com/pittsburgh68
Founders Day Trailer Released: “MainFrame Pictures is proud to announce the release of the official concept trailer for their forthcoming feature film Founders Day. Principal photography on the trailer took place entirely in the state of Connecticut from August 14-18, 2013. Production included 18 actors, 20 crew members, and dozens of extras from across the northeast.
In Founders Day, the quaint, suburban town of Fairfield is shaken by the shocking murder of high school student, Melissa Thompson. The prime suspect is jailed, and the residents look to the town’s bicentennial celebration to provide a sense of strength and normalcy. When more bodies turn up, however, the citizens of Fairfield grow increasingly suspicious of one another. With no clear motive, everyone is a suspect.
Founders Day is written, directed and produced by Erik C. Bloomquist, a Connecticut-based actor and filmmaker. His recent film Midnight Brew, starring Kyle Edward Cranston and Greta Quezada, recently played the Trinity Film Festival and took home the Screener’s Choice Award. Another project, Laundry Night, will soon enter its third year on international television on ShortsHD TV.
Bloomquist and his team expect to shoot Founders Day in Connecticut in Autumn 2014 and release the film in Autumn 2015.”
Dead on Appraisal DVD Release Details: “Real estate agent John Dante is stuck with a house he can’t sell. Despite his best efforts, he can’t seem to overcome the house’s macabre past.
This haunting anthology’s first tale is The Morning After. Following the party of a lifetime, a group of friends wake to find a nightmare in the form of a killer bug invasion.
John is horrified to hear the story of Robbie, a young veteran who returns home to live with his father. In Father Land Robbie’s dark secret slowly bubbles to the surface.
Then there’s Freddie Cooper and his band. Freddie and the Goblins is a tale of how Freddie’s band mates try to ditch him only to be caught up in the singer’s growing psychosis.
In a last ditch effort John’s girlfriend plans a party to help raise interest in the property, but with disastrous consequences. Will they survive the terrors that lie within its walls, or will they become just another of the house’s many sordid tales?
Brain Damage Films will soon be listing Dead on Appraisal on the horror market starting with a major VOD release on March 1st, followed by an April 8th DVD release! The DVD will feature behind-the-scenes featurettes, unseen trailers, and more.”
To learn more, go to: https://www.facebook.com/deadonappraisal
First Details on Crimson Highway: “Three months into a worldwide zombie/vampire apocalypse, summer reaches its boiling point. A terrain of unspeakable dangers ranges from coast to coast. Every dead body, whether bitten or not, becomes one of them. Mindless, feral, and viciously fast, these vampire/zombie mutations are unpredictable beasts of pure instinct.
In order to escape the undead, survivors are forced to scurry like rats in the day and hide throughout the night. Cut off from all communications within the first hour, no one knows how or why it started. The dark ages have been resurrected in under 90 days.
Brian, a 20 something everyman, has been surviving in Detroit’s inner city since the beginning. Driven to nervous collapse and realizing his chance for survival is scant, he embarks on a deathwish fantasy – to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a beach bum in sunny California. Armed to the teeth and blazing a motorcycle, the only thing standing between Brian and his dream are millions of vampire/zombie hybrids, as well as the dangerous remnants of humanity.
Brian sets out on sprawling road trip of scorched Americana on his way to the Pacific coast. Forced to seek refuge night after night, the protagonist makes his way through a fallen society turned labyrinth of carnage while battling enemy survivors, relentless vampire hordes, and his own perpetual bad luck.
Finally reaching Colorado, Brian rescues a 5 year old named Danny. Hiding in the ventilation ducts of an elementary school for months, the scavenging child soon displays his skills for expert marksmanship. The duo cautiously trek through the Rocky Mountains and combine forces with a tough-as-nails female survivor named Jen. Brian and she quickly become romantically inclined.
But when Jen’s hide out is compromised by a savage vampire attack, the trio are left with no choice but to make a desperate, high-octane push for the Pacific Coast. Brian, Danny and Jen must brave one final mission – roaring their way through mountainous Northern California on motorcycle.
The three proceed on their probable suicide mission – hacking, slashing, and blasting their way through legions of vampires, biker gangs, redneck cannibals, AWOL soldiers, and warring factions of survivors.
Writer and musician Ryan Bartek wrote Crimson Highway. For more information on this or its author, Mr. Bartek, go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/192674701/Crimson-Highway-a-Horror-Film-by-Ryan-Bartek-Screenplay
Thaniel Issue 1 and 2 Release Details: “Surrounded by death his entire life, Thaniel is a high-school dropout with a very troubled path that only gets more complex when he discovers that his father is the Grim Reaper himself, Death. Written and created by Omar Spahi (Xenoglyphs) with art by Terry Huddleston, Thaniel launches in April with its first two issues of a four issue mini-series. Both issues will be available at your local comic shop and online April 9th (issue 1) and April 23rd (issue 2).
A cross between “Boys N The Hood” and “Dead Like Me,” Thaniel blends together different genres that don’t often crossover. Having grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, Thaniel has been surrounded by loss. He’s lost close friends and family, particularly his own mother, who was taken far before her time. After her passing, Thaniel comes face to face with his destiny as energy begins to manifest within him. Discovering that this energy is cosmically linked to death, Thaniel tries to aim his new power at evil people in his city, trying to bring some good to the world. These acts of his bring the attention of another being tied to the cosmos, Death, the Grim Reaper, who claims to be Thaniel’s father, with a very dark plan for his son.”
For more information on this comic, and its release, visit: http://www.ossmcomics.com
Indie Spotlight Review: The Halloween Experience: Volume One
by Heather Wixson
For Phil Crain’s The Halloween Experience: Volume One, fear is the name of the game. Over the course of a lean and mean 41 minutes, he takes us through the bloodied halls and ghoul-filled mazes of six of the US’s best haunted attractions, including Sinister Pointe, Chambers of the Mausoleum, The Haunted Hotel, Reign of Terror, The Backwoods Maze and Fears Gate.
Each segment in The Halloween Experience is introduced by host Bloody Jenny (Jenny Jones) and we spend about six or so minutes roaming around each respective attraction, shot POV style, with the footage being accompanied by creepy music as well as spooky sound effects and voice-overs. It’s definitely a unique approach that allows us to get up close and personal inside each maze but, after the fifth segment wrapped up, I was kind of ready for something a bit different so the format definitely won’t be for everyone.
Crain’s love for haunts is apparent here and that affection displays nicely on the screen- my only real wish for The Halloween Experience was a bit more substance to go with the great visuals, like interviewing the talent behind the haunt and running that as voice-over during various moments. There’s undoubtedly a good level of talent at work in The Halloween Experience, whether it’s Crain himself or the attractions he’s focused on- I would have just liked to have heard a bit more from the creative behind the mazes on the themes they chose and their approach on trying to scare the bejeezus out of people each and every Halloween season. Maybe it’s something that could be considered for Volume Two.
As a whole, I enjoyed The Halloween Experience: Volume One and while I may be totally in love with the visuals-only approach, it’s definitely a unique watch if you’re a haunted attraction enthusiast (like me!) and I think Crain did a very nice job with his presentation.
Indie Spotlight Review: Open Grave
by Kristian Hanson
Open Grave is a film released by Tribeca and stars one of my favorite actors of the past five years, Sharlto Copley (District 9, A-Team). The film revolves around a character who wakes up in a pit filled with dead bodies and does not remember who he is. Once he escapes the pit, he goes to a house where other survivors are and there is obviously a history there, but he cannot remember anything.
Throughout the movie, you try to decipher if this is a zombie film, or a film that is a lot like 28 days later, where a virus is eminent and causing individuals to become insane murderers. There are some great special FX inside of the film, and the tensions that build are believable as you try to understand what exactly has happened and why certain individuals seem insane.
The aspect I truly enjoyed was the fact the questions I kept asking myself were not answered until later in the film. Not knowing if the people were indeed zombies or something completely different kept me intrigued and wondering what was going on. Overall, this was a slow burn-type film that was a fun take on a popular sub-genre with a great cast of characters.
Indie Spotlight Review: Still: The Web Series
by Tamika Jones
Still: The Web Series tells the story of what happens when “an unknown infection takes over a small Northwest town, Sloughtown, while a group of citizens attempt to escape to sanctuary.” In the first episode, two employees of a printing store are conversing when a loud, screeching noise is overheard coming from the sky.
The pacing is quite slow starting out, but after about three or four episodes the story and action really pick up. Once the show really gets going, and the survivors are on the run, all you want to do is see what happens next. The acting and the writing on this web series is very solid and the characters are believable. However, I would have liked more of a back story on the survivors. I didn’t feel very connected to any one person, but luckily did still feel invested in their survival.
There is little blood in this series most likely due to how the “zombies” are created. When the survivors encounter a “zombie,” they do kill it, but it isn’t often shown on screen. Fans of horror that are looking for violence and gore may be disappointed, but the show’s pacing keeps both the story line and the characters interesting.
Still: The Web Series has a lot of promise. It is a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse told in 8 to 9 minute bursts that keep the narrative interesting and intriguing. The characters are fun to watch and seem realistic, but there is little known about them, so it may be difficult to care whether or not they survive. At this time, there are only eight episodes, but if there is more to come in this story, I am definitely going to watch.