When you look at the genre today, you see movies like "Scream" and say to yourself, "finally horror is being  revitalized". But don't be fooled my friends, the future of horror doesn't rest in "Scream" , "Scream 2", or "Halloween H2O". No the future of horror might very rest in independent arena of films.

When I talk about "independent horror" I am talking about a grassroots movement whose only motivation is in trying to make a good movie. Unlike Hollywood where everything is either a sequel or a remake, these filmmakers push the envelope of freshness, originality, and good old-fashion fright. These films are being made by no named studios on shoe-string budgets. Their lack of monetary support is fueled by their creativeness to scary us.

The following are a few movies that I have found that are not only very entertaining, but show the originality that is so lacking in Hollywood today. Maybe this bunch of filmmakers can be the next Romero, Carpenter, or Raimi. Someone who can go to Hollywood and make the movies that fans want to see and not those that studios just want to make a fast buck on. Any suggestions, email me.

 

 

The Convent

St. Francis Boarding School for Girls has a dark past that still haunts its' abandon  structure.  This once tranquil setting was the scene of a horrific crime.  It seems that forty years earlier, a young girl (Christine....Oakley Stevenson) suffering what many would call a momentary lapse of insanity went on a killing spree in its' chapel.  Afterward the only things left were the charred bodies of the resident Priest and his convent of Nuns or so they thought....

Today, the building is boarded-up, condemned, and unsafe for entry, but the legacy of its' past still lingers in the mind of the townsfolk. Unable to be reborn out of the ashes of this tragedy, the Convent now serves as a focal point for teenage mischief.  Six college students, in what has become a homecoming tradition, decide to raise some hell and head up to discreet the bell tower with their fraternity letters.  Just as their party is about to get started, campus security shows up to shoe them away, while Mo (Megahn Perry), the Goth chick, stays inside hoping to avoid trouble.  When the coast is finally clear, she turns to leave only to have everything go black.

In the safety of a local diner, the remaining five debate Mo's fate.  Her friend , Clarissa (Joanna Canton) tries to convince them to go back for her, but only when Biff (Jim Golden) reveals that he had to drop his slash do the others agree.  While back at the Convent, Mo has been taken captive by a group of wanna-be Satanists who are hoping to sacrifice her virginal soul to their dark Lord.  As they plunge a dagger into her unchaste heart they cannot be prepared for the evil that they have awakened.   One by one, the remaining cultists and the students begin to succumb to the evil that has returned and only Clarissa , with the help of a now grown Christine (Adrienne Barbeau), can hope to save her brother from becoming the ultimate sacrifice.  

 

The Convent

 

2000

 

 How can you go wrong with a tagline that reads: "Nuns, Guns, and Gasoline" ???  Well, if it was being made by Hollywood, I am sure they could find a way to fuck it up, but since the film was made without those constraints, "The Convent" succeeds in living up to its' promises.  This film was directed by Mike Mendez from a script by the ever-sexy Chaton Anderson (Sapphira) and plays out like a trippie mix of  "Evil Dead 2" meets "Night of the Demon".  It has a  high-paced action packed story that delivers on all cylinders especially on the gore scale. Unfortunately for us here in the States, "The Convent" has not been given a proper release, theatrically or on video, which is a travesty in itself, because this is easily one of the best horror films in the last five years. Make sure to visit their website for updated news on a pending release.

 

 

Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein

Music agent Bernie Stein (Barry Feterman) has just about had it and, in his mind, he's been screwed for the last time by the sludge he represents.  So he decides to enlist the help of his nephew Frankie, an aspiring mad scientist, in hopes of making the perfect rock star.  It seems little Frankie (Jayson Spence) has a knack for re-animating dead body parts, a skill he mastered why working at the county coroner’s office, and Bernie has an idea to bring his creation to fruition. 

With the help of Iggy, a long haired drug-induced Igor (Hiram Jacob Segarra), and his band of misfits, the remains of legendary rock stars are beginning to disappear around the world.   From Jimmy Hendrix's hand, to Sid Vicious’ ass, to Keith Moon's leg, to Elvis' brain and trademark sideburns, all these parts are being assembled to build the ultimate rocker. Just as Frank is about to give his creation life, Bernie realizes that his newest star is missing the most important component and he quickly dispenses the gang to secure it.  The perpetual klutz Iggy accidental destroys Jim Morrison's love tool and in a rush quickly grabs the closest celebrity pecker he can get his hands on, unfortunately it turns out to be Liberace’s.

The true test comes for Frankie and his creature as the final pieces are put into place. With his new life, the 'King' (Graig Guggenheim) struggles with an overabundance of talent, the demands of the business, as well as some unnatural urges. This all leads to a weird pseudo-psycho battle between the big head (Elvis) and the little head (Liberace) in which no one is safe.  As his star power and sex appeal continues to skyrocket, so does his craving for dingleberries. All this confusion leaves him with only one option, having his ‘fruity member’ removed, but, alas, this proves too dangerous.  Will the ‘King’ be able to come to grips with who and what he is??? 

 

Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein

1999

 

About 95% of the films I receive from aspiring filmmakers turn out to be 100% pure crap.  Most tend to fall into the trap of recycling themes from their favorite films, rather than exploit their freedom of expression.  Originality, even on the indie circuit, can be a rarity, and taking real chances, beyond buckets of blood and cheesy SFX, happens even less frequently.  As not only a fan of horror, but film in general, I am always looking for films that push the envelope, whether in story, dialog, theme, etc., and challenge the viewer on every level.  One film that does all this and a whole lot more is the outrageously funny and highly controversial "Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein."  From reading the synopsis above you can surmise that  "Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein" is a bizarre and stimulating mix between "Rocky Horror" and "Young Frankenstein".  It takes the Frankenstein mythos, modernizes it, slaps firmly on its ass (literally), and brings life to a once-tired franchise. Director Brian O’Hara’s well-crafted homage to bad taste reaches a new level of exquisite execution which is very rare these days, and it throws away all political correctness in the name of entertainment.  I highly recommend this film to all the visitors of the House of Horrors.

 

 

The Dividing Hour

Four would-be bank robbers decide to make a quick withdraw and head for the border, but little do they know that the decisions they make will forever change their lives. As they speed down an abandon stretch of highway, Josh (Mike Prosser), the getaway driver, seems haunted by a nightmare or is it an omen of the future???  He drifts in and out of consciousness with these visions and than suddenly, a jerk of the wheel leaves these four car-less. 

Hoping to find a help, they begin to make their way back down road. Josh brings up the rear as he helps his younger brother Zack (Brian Prosser) who is nursing a nasty knee injury from their accident. Along the way, they are able to hitch a ride with a local (Jay Horenstein) who promises to take them to a phone. He drops them off at an old house out in the middle of woods, where they are greeted by Dawn Gates (Jillian Hodges) and her cationic father Lewis (Max Yoakum). Unfortunately, the Gates' phone isn't working at the moment.

As time goes by, Josh continues to battle his nightmares and decides to head out looking for help. All the while back at the house, Peter (Brad Goodman), the gun-toting psycho of the group, begins to assert his will, while taking whatever and whomever he wants.  Pushing on, Josh happens back upon their crash site where he makes a gruesome discovery.  Confused, he quickly returns to the house as the "dividing hour" approaches. 

 

The Dividing Hour 

1998

 

It is really amazing to think that this little gem was made for about $7000. Mike Prosser (Writer/Director/Lead/etc) along with David Walker, Jeff Yarnell, and Greg James crafted a very entertaining and well-made film. The special effects are well above what this nominal budget would normally constrain. Again, the independent arena is proving that a multi-million dollar budget isn't necessary to make a superior film. This film is highly recommended and exceptional for a shot-on-video feature. Buy it NOW!!!!!   



The Dead Hate The Living

A group of  low budget filmmakers have set up shop in an abandon hospital with hopes of making a zombie flick.  Lifelong fans, director David Poe (Eric Clawson) and his bumbling special effects sidekick Paul (Brett Beardslee) are living the dream of a lifetime when they stumble upon a real dead body.  Although a bit spooked at first, the crew decides that their newest addition would be perfect for the film.  Little do they know that filmmakers shouldn't play with dead things.

When they accidentally resurrect the corpse (Matt Stephen), they unexpectedly  open the doorway to death.  Spewing out from the darkness,  Eibon unleashes his army of the dead on the land of the living.  The blood flows freely as the cast and crew  falls prey to this undead legion and no one is spared from Eibon's thirst for revenge.  The few remaining survivors realize that they must close this gate, before it is too late.
   

It has been a longtime since Full Moon Pictures has made a decent film. Over the last few  years, the quality of their product has fallen immensely.  I  remember doing a review  of "The Puppet Master" a little over a year ago just as Full Moon was final gearing up for a big year of horror film making.  I was kind of psyched because I have always been a fan of Full Moon's (i.e. "Subspieces", "Trancers", and "The Puppet Master"), but as the year progressed it seems like they had lost their touch.  Well, that may have all finally changed  with "The Dead Hate The Living" directed by longtime fan and first time feature director, Dave Parker.  The story, effects, soundtrack, and style are all reminiscent of Fulci's vision.  Hardcore fans will just eat up all the references to their favorite horror  films and director and with zombie flicks few and far between, this is definitely one of the better in recent memory.  Even a bullet to the head couldn't stop this rip-roaring zombie-fest. Rent this film immediately !!!!!!

 

 

 



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