Body Count Podcast – Episode 74 – We Live To Rock

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We discussed some “classics” from the 80s: Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, Basket Case, and The Stuff.

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Body Count Podcast – Episode 73 – Sensor-Operated Machine Pistols on Tripods

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We discussed Green Room, Murder Party, Eaters, and Congo. We were joined by guest host Joey, our Congo expert. Also discussed: Blue Ruin, First Power, Cell, A Good Marriage, Everybody Wants Some. We also added a new segment: What Sucks?

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Body Count Podcast – Episode 72 – Not Enough Ice

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We discussed the Butterfly Effect trilogy, The Sacrament, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Insidious 3, Backtrack, and Clown.

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Zine Interview: Adrian Tofei (from Body Count Zine #7)

The following interview appears in issue #7 of our indie horror zine. To find information about our zines, visit our order page.

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Adrian Tofei is the writer and director of Be My Cat: A Film For Anne, a Romanian found footage film about a filmmaker (played by Tofei) who attempts to impress actress Anne Hathaway and entice her to make a movie with him. The eerie result is far different from most of the indie films we regularly screen. Below are a few questions with Adrian.

Body Count: Was there something in particular that inspired Be My Cat, or just a combination of things?

Adrian: The first spark happened after a performance of my one-man show, The Monster, at a theatre festival in Romania. The show was about a guy obsessed with an actress. The audiences were blown away, crying and laughing at the same time during the applause at the ending, calling me back again and again multiple times. That’s when I realized that I need to bring this to the entire world to experience, not just some people in a theatre in Romania. The movie was initially supposed to be an adaptation of The Monster, but then things changed on the way and ended up an original story, with just my character still having some psychological traits in common with the character I used to play in that one-man show.

Body Count: You won an award for Best Actor in the Nashville Film Fest’s Graveyard Shift. Did you always plan to play the main role, or did it just work out that way? How does it make you feel to win the award?

Adrian: I am an actor first of all, and that’s how I made the movie. As an actor. I lived in character for about one year, assuming his psychology, ways of living and goals, and then directed the movie while in character. He directed the movie, not me. Since he’s the one wanting to convince Anne of his filmmaking skills, not me. The Special Jury Prize for Best Actor at Nashville Film Festival made me incredibly happy! Because of the found footage concept, my goal was to make the acting invisible. That’s why some people in the industry thought that I’m just playing myself, something that everybody could do. I’m so happy that the jury at Nashville saw and appreciated the huge amount of work and sacrifices behind that performance.

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Body Count: What were some of the challenges in making this film?

Adrian: Having no experience in filmmaking and film production. I used a camera for the first time in Be My Cat. But I knew from the start that it won’t be me using the camera for the first time. It will be the character doing that. He’s buying and using a camera for the first time. Me being more skilled would have made the found footage unrealistic. But that’s just one thing. There were thousands of other things related to filmmaking and film production where I couldn’t afford to be unskilled. I had to learn everything from scratch while doing it. But on the basis of years of researching film history and storytelling and acting, starting from high school, when I was spending all my spare time reading on the internet about the world’s masterpieces and making film lists.

Body Count: You filmed some of this on the street. Did you have any problems with people interrupting or giving you trouble?

Adrian: Yes, we had some problems with a drunk redneck hitting on one of the actresses and complaining that I’m filming his parents’ house. (I was not doing that.)

Body Count: What screenings have you attended for the film, and what were those audience reactions like?

Adrian: I’ve attended the world premiere at Fantasporto International Film Festival in Porto, the Romanian premiere at Transilvania International Film Festival, and the 87 minutes cut premiere at Dracula Film Festival. I saw audiences leaving the theatre in fear during the torture scene, and I’ve heard that the same thing happened at Nashville, which is great for a horror film! That’s how Paranormal Activity got acquired by Paramount Pictures, after a test screening during which audiences walked out of the theatre in fear.

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Body Count: To me, it would be great if an audience screened this film and believed it to be actual found footage. Has anyone questioned its validity?

Adrian: For a long time, when writing “be my cat a film for anne” on Google, it always used to automatically give “be my cat a film for anne real.” There are a lot of people asking on IMDb and the YouTube trailer if it’s real. In fact, I initially had in plan a marketing strategy to release small clips from the movie on YouTube as if they are real footage shot by an obsessed Anne Hathaway fan. But I don’t want to trick people, and I was also afraid that some festivals might not take the movie seriously because of that.

Body Count: What is the plan for distribution? When/how might our audience be able to see this film?

Adrian: I’m currently looking for distributors. I’m into talks with some of them, looking for the best option possible that would guarantee Be My Cat’s success. People can subscribe on the movie’s website at bemycatafilmforanne.com to get release notifications by email.

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Body Count: What’s up next for you? IMDB lists We Put the World to Sleep.

Adrian: Yes, that’s my next feature film, currently in pre-production. The advance is slow now, but once Be My Cat is released, I will go into full production with We Put the World to Sleep. I can only tell you now that it’s an apocalyptic movie about two young idealists embarking on a mission to bring everything to an end.

And I would also love to act in other filmmakers’ movies as soon and often as possible!

Body Count: Are there other films from your country that we may not know about that we should check out?

Adrian: There are currently no other Romanian found footage feature films. I’ve recently learned that a Romanian horror feature film got selected at a top international film festival in Asia, but I haven’t seen the movie because it has just been completed. And there are no other significant Romanian horror movies. But I recommend you a powerful short film: Ramona by Andrei Cretulescu.

Body Count: What are your top five horror films?

Adrian: Peeping Tom (1960), Freaks (1932), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Halloween (1978), Carrie (1976)

Body Count Zine #7 – Now Available

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Our 7th zine is now available, and orders will ship this week. Find our paypal info and more info about our zines at our order page.

Below is a list of what is covered in zine #7:

  • A.J. Briones (The Smiling Man)
  • Shant Hamassian (Night of the Slasher)
  • Adrian Tofei (Be My Cat: A Film for Anne)
  • Maxim Van Scoy (Lake Nowhere)
  • La Terreur: An Untold Tale from the Pages of Guignol
  • Guess the Plot!
  • Art by Mike Dyrdahl
  • Film Fest Coverage
  • Reviews
  • more!

Body Count Podcast – Episode 71 – The Boys

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We discussed The Boy, The Witch, A Lonely Place to Die, Scarred, Bloodline, Elvis, and more. We also briefly discussed our own debut short, a holiday slasher that we are currently writing.

Body Count Podcast – Episode 70 – Body Count’s Got Nards

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We discussed several films from the Nashville Film Fest, along with Hush, The Invitation, 11.22.63, Heir, and the new Monster Squad records.

Reviews: Nashville Film Fest 2016

be-my-catThe Nashville Film Fest’s Graveyard Shift screens horror films during each night of the fest. This year we were able to screen several of the feature films and more than a dozen shorts.

For more information about the fest and its films, check out our upcoming podcast (#70) and our next zine issue, which will be available in May or June.

Below are some quick notes and ratings for some of the Graveyard Shift highlights.

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne (7/10)

Writer and director Adrian Tofei plays a Romanian filmmaker attempting to grab the attention of actress Anne Hathaway and make her want to star in his film. Casting local actresses in “Anne’s role,” he becomes increasingly frustrated when the women can’t perform at Hathaway’s level, and he eventually loses control. Presented as a found footage piece, the movie is definitely effective, and I am hoping that there is an audience out there who will accidentally discover the film and wonder if it might be real. Like Blair Witch, some minor misunderstandings could launch this one to cult status.

Curtain (5/10)

When a woman moves into a new apartment, she soon discovers that her shower curtains are continually sucked into a hole in the wall. The only aspect of this film that can be considered “horror” is a creature that lies on the other side of the hole, and unfortunately, we don’t really get to see it enough. The movie isn’t bad, but it doesn’t feel enough like a horror film to me, which does sometimes happen with the Graveyard Shift.

Inside Scarlett (5/10)

When we previewed this one on our podcast, we mostly thought the premise had to be something of a joke and that the movie would probably focus on something else. But no, it’s true. Scarlett is pregnant, and she thinks her childhood toy, Chicken, is the father. Yes, there is more to it, and Scarlett has legitimate reasons for being such a damaged character; however, there is definitely a puppet toy named Chicken who does play a prominent role in the story. Again, there’s not much “horror” here, but it’s fairly dark and is not nearly as goofy as it very well could have been.

A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff (7/10)

Two struggling actors hope to make a hit movie by kidnapping an actress and using her to make a fake snuff film. Of course, she eventually turns the tables on them and attempts to get revenge. This is more of a horror comedy, but the comedy is good. The film looks great, and the gore effects are awesome. We’ve seen the Butcher Brothers do well on smaller budgets in the past, particularly on The Hamiltons. But I think this is my favorite of theirs so far.

Girl #2 (9/10)

As a killer slaughters everyone inside of a sorority house, two girls try to decide if one of them might survive. This short fits perfectly with the three slashers we screened in Chattanooga: The Babysitter Murders, Night of the Slasher, and Lake Nowhere. This one has more comedy, but it offers a great new take on the slasher film. This was easily my favorite movie at the Nashville fest.

The Chickening (7/10)

A hilarious alternative look at The Shining, this comedy/parody feels more like a trailer. It really just needs to be experienced.

The Smiling Man (8/10)

A little girl wanders around her house alone following a balloon, which of course doesn’t lead to anything good. This one is short and creepy, and you’ll be scared to walk into your kitchen alone after watching it.

It’s Him (8/10)

This was probably the shortest film we screened, clocking in at about two minutes, and there is absolutely no horror here. It shows the effects of two guys who are on drugs and are hallucinating. It’s a lot of fun.

The Ants Go Marching (5/10)

The parents of a bullied kid take matters into their own hands. This is sort of a reversal of the Hugh Jackman film Prisoners (2013), as the mother is essentially pushing the father to get revenge in this short.

Playback (7/10)

A man turns on his television and sees a woman getting murdered by a masked killer, when he realizes he’s watching the hallway outside of his apartment. Another one that is just a few minutes long, this film is shot in one take. It’s a fun idea, and I wish it would’ve been a bit longer.

Guess the Plot! (from Body Count Zine #6)

invitationWe like to take upcoming horror releases and guess the plots of the films based only on the titles. These are our plot guesses from zine #6, along with an actual description from IMDB for each film.

Zine #7 will be available around June 1st and will include another round of plot guesses.

The Invitation

Rusty: A girl named Judy has created invitations to her birthday party for every kid in her class, but — at the urging of her racist friends — the invitation she created for the one black kid in her class is not delivered. After the party, as she is going to sleep, the undelivered invitation begins glowing and starts whispering to her. Unfortunately, this promising film premise is wasted, since the script was not completed due to monetary restraints. Instead, a full 37 minutes of dance sequences from another unfinished film was spliced into the movie in order to fill it out to feature length.

Josh: When Jessica gets an invitation to join a new secret sorority, she jumps at the chance to finally fit in. But it turns out that this sorority is secret for a reason, and that they might have more than a passing connection to the sounds she’s been hearing in her room late at night – and the frequent disappearances on campus. What follows is a blood-drenched journey into madness, and a horror film that’s going to probably do awfully in theaters but will win over fans who love its Argento-like style and Raimi-like excesses. It’s a wild ride, but not for the faint of heart.

Mike: In one of the most frightening films of this decade, Barry is settling down for a nice Sunday afternoon of football, beer, and wings, until his wife informs him that he must bring his daughter to a birthday party instead. “Where am I going?” he asks. “Check the invitation,” his wife replies. “It’s an invitation,” Barry tells himself. “How bad could it be?” But as he approaches the refrigerator, he sees it: Chuck. E. Cheese. Is the invitation really a symbol for eternity in Hell? (This is probably a really short film.) (OK, this isn’t a film, it really happened to me on Sunday.)

IMDB: Will and Eden were once a loving couple. After a tragedy took their son, Eden disappeared. Two years later, out of the blue, she returned with a new husband… and as a different person, eerily changed and eager to reunite with her ex and those she left behind. Over the course of a dinner party in the house that was once his, the haunted Will is gripped by mounting evidence that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious and terrifying agenda. But can we trust Will’s hold on reality? Or will he be the unwitting catalyst of the doom he senses?

Nina Forever

Rusty: A man, whose name happens to be Christopher Columbus, is haunted by a ghost named Santa Clara. After doing some research at the public library, Chris discovers that Clara was better known by her nickname, “La Niña.” As it turns out, this is no regular ghost: it is a ghost ship! A tense, slow buildup that lasts 45 minutes eventually dissolves into a huge mess. You should definitely rent it.

Josh: An unauthorized sequel to Dracula, Nina Forever follows the adventures of Nina Harker as she continues on throughout life in an effort to vanquish all vampires, using her own vampiric talents that were passed on by the Count. (If you’re saying to yourself, “Hey, that sounds like they ripped off Blade but made it about a white girl,” well, you’re right. There are boobs, though, so that’s something.)

Mike: Michael J. Fox and Shaquille O’Neal star in this supernatural thriller about an artist named Gary (Fox), who paints a picture of a child and names the piece “Nina.” When Jojo (O’Neal), his neighbor in the apartment across the hall, laughs at his efforts, Gary burns the piece in a furious rage. However, he begins to see the child from his painting everywhere he goes, and he soon believes that she is after him. Will he paint the picture again, or will Nina haunt him forever?

IMDB: After his girlfriend Nina dies in a car crash, Rob unsuccessfully attempts suicide. As he begins to overcome his grief, he falls in love with a coworker, Holly. Their relationship is complicated when Nina, unable to find rest in the afterlife, comes back to life to sarcastically torment them whenever they have sex.

The Disappointments Room

Rusty: A group of British gentlemen form a tea and supper club that they name The Disappointments Room, after their tendency to air their many perceived failures to each other during their weekly meetings. Eventually a buildup of negative energy in the room accumulates enough mass to break through as a physical manifestation that threatens to destroy them all. Anthony Hopkins stars as himself, with special appearances by Andy Serkis (as the motion-capture monster) and Dame Maggie Smith as the monster’s disapproving mother.

Josh: My teenage bedroom! Get it? Get it? I was very unpopular.

This mockumentary follows Jason Voorhees back to his residence where we see the souvenirs and memories he’s made and kept throughout the years. The titular room is dedicated to the final survivors of each film – the ones that got away, so to speak. Turns out, Jason is pretty well-spoken and thoughtful – it’s just that his mask keeps him from sounding as erudite and intelligent as he is. Not much gore or violence, but Jason does share a great recipe for his special green tea blend that you’ll be dying to try out.

Mike: Memphis police detective Buck Martinez is tracking a serial killer, when he realizes the victims are not randomly selected and that each is chosen for a reason. They are all failures. Jerry Underwood couldn’t keep a job, Lisa Curry owed all of her friends money, and Keith Rogers hadn’t paid child support in months. Like in most movies, Buck hangs all of the evidence on the walls of his small office, which his co-workers jokingly call the “disappointments room.” Will Buck discover who is killing these deadbeats in time to prevent another murder? And if he fails, is he then a disappointment himself? He knows he must act soon, before his own picture is added to the wall.

IMDB: A mother and her young son release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home.

Backtrack

Rusty: A lowly editor for a TV news show notices, by accident, that when the audio of a popular local politician’s speeches is played backward, his message is one of evil. Namely: if elected, the country you love will be taken over by everything that you fear. It is difficult to say whether the film is a satire or not.

Josh: Basically ripping off Memento and adding a slasher, Backtrack is a slasher that begins at the end, slowly ticking backward through each death and stalking until we see where it all begins. It’s an interesting gimmick, but one that never quite works or has much point; does anyone really watch slashers for their complex storylines? Still, there’s some good kills, and the movie has some fun misleading you and using your assumptions against you along the way.

Mike: Hard rock band Backtrack escapes to a cabin in the woods with some friends to record their new album, “Up Here, Down There.” Things run smoothly, and the group is encouraged when the track “Stabbing Stones” is quickly finished during their first night. But when keyboardist Clark steps out for a smoke and is stabbed to death in the darkness, the group realizes that someone is out there, killing them based on the titles of their songs. Should they pack up and head home, giving up on years of hard work and dreams? Or should they power through the session and hope for the best? And what happens when they get to tracks like “Machine Gun Heartbeat,” “Raise Her Razor,” or “Light Me on Fire, Burn Me Like Toast”?

IMDB: Psychologist Peter Bower’s life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers that the patients he has been seeing are ghosts. Risking his own sanity, Peter delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right. Backtrack is a spine-chilling story from the acclaimed writer-director, Michael Petroni.

The Girl in the Photographs

Rusty: You know how, in some horror movies, the characters don’t notice something very noticeable about their photographs (like how one character’s face is always blurred or a child’s shoes are always on the wrong feet or there’s always a hovering devil in the background) until the climax of the film? This is one of those.

Josh: Don’t get fooled by this one. The trailer promises a Hardcore/8mm-style film about a man who immerses himself into the porn industry after he becomes obsessed with a girl he sees in a photo gallery online. As you’d imagine, he gets exposed to the seedy underbelly of the industry real quick, and finds his way to “snuff films” way more easily than you’d think. (Small spoiler: does Google really list them in their own category? That seems unlikely… but I ain’t googling that.) But the fact that this one turns out to be secret Christian anti-porn propaganda and ends with a literal ten-minute sermon is likely to anger any serious gorehound, even if the fact that the movie uses a literal deus ex machina to wrap up its story is pretty hilarious, as is the choice of actor as Jesus (it rhymes with Smirk Smameron).

Mike: Burt flips through his Instagram photos one night, and he starts to notice something: there is a random stranger, a girl, in the background of every picture. Is she real, or is she a ghost? It’s up to Burt to find out, and he quickly discovers that the girl in the photographs may not be exactly who she seems. Look for a bonus feature on this straight-to-DVD release that shows how director Jimmy Anthony painstakingly photo-shopped each of the pictures used in the film. (I mean, unless you have anything else better to do. It’s 2016. Even my mom can edit photos.)

IMDB: A bored young woman in a sleepy community called Spearfish starts receiving photographs of brutally murdered young women. Are they real or staged? The culprit is either a serial killer or some creep with a sick sense of humor.

The Hoarder

Rusty: “You don’t understand. I might need this one day.” These are the words of Dax Denning’s demented grandfather, who will never let his grandson throw anything in his cramped house away. With heavy sighs, Dax lives in the cluttered house, taking care of his grandfather’s every need. Until one day, an alien or ghost or something attacks the house and Dax’s grandfather, with complete lucidity, uses every single item in the house to defeat the ghost or monster or whatever it is. There is heavy-handed Christian imagery on the screen as the grandfather dies, having completed his task. Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Josh: Not for the claustrophobic, The Hoarder takes place entirely within a single apartment filled to the brim with magazines, posters, and other detritus. Think of it like an updated Wait Until Dark, but using the stacks of garbage everywhere to provide shadows, hiding places, and more. The film uses its single location pretty well, and there’s a twist halfway through that involves the realization that the house doesn’t have just one occupant, but two – and that second one is handy with a machete – that keeps it moving. A neat low-budget gem.

Mike: Harrison is a hoarder. Of bodies. They’re all over his house, the garage, the shed, and even the back yard. Still, the multiple angles and obvious voiceover work on this “found footage” film slightly hinder its authenticity. You can catch horror vet Ken Foree (credited here as Koree Fen, for some reason) as Bathroom Body #5.

IMDB: When Ella discovers her Wall Street banker boyfriend is renting a secret storage unit, she suspects he’s using it to hide an affair. Enlisting the help of her best friend Molly, she breaks into the facility, only to discover something more terrifying instead. Now trapped in a darkened building with a group of neurotic strangers who start disappearing one by one, Ella soon uncovers even worse horror in the dank depths. Her life or death battle to escape eternal enslavement is about to begin.

Lights Out

Rusty: An experimental horror film only available on streaming services, the entire film consists of a voice saying — over and over, on a black screen — “Turn out the lights. Turn out the lights. Turn out the lights.” The movie is already famous for the YouTube videos posted of teenagers watching the film in the dark until one of them freaks out, the cell phone they’re recording with getting all shaky and stupid.

Josh: Ever watched a slasher film and thought, “Gosh, that was fun, but I wish I didn’t have to see so many kills and so much pointless, gratuitous 80’s nudity!” Well, is Lights Out the movie for you! Think of every bad, low-budget slasher you’ve ever seen, but this time, the killer only works when the lights are out and it’s pitch black. Every kill takes place on a black screen, meaning that all we see is bodies left behind, or sometimes not even that. Good idea for a suspense film, but bad idea for a slasher. The fact that the movie tries to get around by having characters narrate their fates makes it hilarious (“OH NO! NOW HE’S GOT A CHAINSAW! AND HE’S CUTTING ME WITH IT! NOW MY INTESTINES ARE CAUGHT IN THE CHAIN! NOW HE’S SEPARATING MY BONES! OH, THAT HURTS SO MUCH!”), but not in a good way. Avoid.

Mike: A group of middle school girls at a sleepover decide to play “Lights Out,” a new game that everyone at school is talking about. To play the game, the girls pair up, turn out the lights, and chant the game’s song: “Lights out, lights out, 1-2-3/I kill you, or you kill me/Turn the lights out, count to three/Who gets killed? I guess we’ll see.” But unlike Bloody Mary and other similar games, where nothing good ever happens, this is an absolute bloodbath, and the girls really do kill each other! Who will still be alive when the lights come back on?

IMDB: A woman is haunted by a creature that only appears when the lights go out. A feature adaptation of the 2013 short film “Lights Out” by David Sandberg.

Nashville Film Fest: April 14-23

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The 2016 Nashville Film Fest kicks off today and runs through April 23. Although we’ll be screening lots of films (like the Fat Wreck Chords documentary), our focus here will mainly be on the fest’s Graveyard Shift films.

We’ll have reviews here on the blog, and our next podcast episode and zine issue will include coverage.

Here are trailers for some of the films we’re looking forward to seeing.

Curtain

A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne

Inside Scarlett

Nasty

Playback

Body Count Podcast – Episode 69 – Go!

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We discussed #Horror, The Forest, Baskin, Southbound, and the 2016 Chattanooga Film Fest.

Reviews: Chattanooga Film Fest 2016

When Josh from the Library Police told me about the Chattanooga Film Fest a couple of weeks ago, it sounded great, but I didn’t think I’d be able to get all the way over there on such short notice. However, I ended up being able to make it for one of the four days and found that Josh was totally right. This event is so much fun. It is run as well as any fest I’ve attended (music, film, or other), and I can’t wait to spend more time there in 2017.

For more information about the fest and its films, check out our upcoming podcast this weekend and our next zine issue, which will be available in May or June, and will include Josh’s coverage of the whole weekend.

Below are quick notes and ratings for some of the films that screened on Friday, the only day I was there.

Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (8/10)

This is not a horror movie, but it is renegade filmmaking at its best. Although Jafar Panahi has officially been banned from making films in Iran, he continues to do so, and his award winning “This Is Not a Film” (2011) was exported by hiding a jump drive in a cake. In “Taxi,” Panahi equips a vehicle with cameras and proceeds to drive around while making his movie. He highlights many of his country’s social issues, having the actors enter and exit the car as the various stories unfold. It is extremely creative and powerful.

Men & Chicken (8/10)

This one is not a horror film either, but it features Mads Mikkelsen, who we have discussed a bunch on our podcast as the star of NBC’s “Hannibal.” Overall, this movie is not like anything I’ve seen, in a good way, and the discovery at the end is definitely relevant to our genre. In the movie, two brothers travel to find their father and meet their other siblings. They attempt to fit in with a group of guys who settle disputes by hitting each other in the head with various objects and fight over certain plates at dinner. In the end, the brothers discover a major family secret that explains so much. Ultimately, though, they really just want girls.

Demon (5/10)

I am already on record here as not generally being a huge fan of possession films; however, as with any horror subgenre, I can always appreciate when a film is done well. I looked forward to “Demon” because of its unique plot/setting: a groom becomes possessed during his own wedding. The acting here is fine, and the wedding setting supplies all the drama, tension, and emotion needed. There is even a fair amount of humor, as many of the wedding guests’ characters are pretty well developed. Still, overall, there just isn’t enough here for “Demon” to feel truly effective to me. There is one scene that I believe could rival my favorite possession films, but that’s about it. To me, the wedding scenes are better than the possession scenes, which shouldn’t be the case. So it isn’t a bad movie. It just isn’t enough of a horror movie.

Night of the Slasher (8.5/10)

This short film consists of one seven-minute shot, featuring a girl who must commit horror movie sins in order to lure a slasher into her home. She dances in her underwear, drinks beer (very quickly!), does drugs, and has sex, before finally meeting her masked villain and attempting to take him down. If you love slashers like we do, this is a must see. It looks great and represents our favorite subgenre perfectly. (Look for an interview with director Shant Hamassian in the next zine.)

The Babysitter Murders (9.5/10)

Not to take anything away from “Night of the Slasher,” but “The Babysitter Murders” was my favorite film of the day. It’s a longer short, running just over 20 minutes, and is just another great slasher story. It starts like so many movies we’ve seen before, as a teenager is watching a horror movie when she sees a news report saying a mental patient has escaped from the local asylum. Of course, the deranged person has in fact ended up at this house, and the babysitter must battle the killer in order to protect a little boy. Like the previous short, this film looks wonderful, and with no obvious use of modern technology, its time period is wide open, allowing it to blend seamlessly with the 80s-style slasher playing on the television throughout the night.

Lake Nowhere (7.5/10)

The main feature in the slasher trilogy that included the two shorts, “Lake Nowhere” contains a running time of only 51 minutes, which honestly seems like the ideal length for a modern low budget slasher. Shot to look like a lost VHS tape, it looks better than just about any of the other recent “grindhouse” films, although thankfully that word is never used by the filmmakers as a selling point. After a few quick commercials, inlcuding one for the beer that the chacters drink in the feature, “Lake Nowhere” gets right down to business. We meet seven or eight young people who arrive at a cabin by a lake, and after some quick drinks and drugs, they begin to get killed. There is a masked killer stalking them, but there is also something in the lake as well. The pace is quick, and the kills are great. “Lake Nowhere” and the two shorts alone would’ve made the drive from Nashville more than worth it.

Note: After discovering the next two films were available via VOD, I opted to not drive home through the mountains after midnight and instead screened these two films at home on my television, leaving the theater experience out of my reviews.

Baskin (4/10)

On our last podcast we discussed the fact that we personally were probably headed for a disappointment with this film. It’s getting a lot of buzz, and I’m totally fine with any indie horror projects gaining attention, but our recent takes on films like “The Babadook” and “It Follows” have shown us that we’re currently not quite on the same page as today’s horror fans. I realize that we don’t get much horror from Turkey, and I appreciate that it is definitely a solid effort. The setup is good, as we meet five cops who are obviously flawed individuals, but the result is that they are essentially dragged through hell and tortured. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, even if it is done fairly well here. More importantly, though, I didn’t feel much at all. I wasn’t scared or sympathetic, and I mostly lost interest after a while. The end is actually fun, though. It’s not a terrible film at all, and most of you will likely enjoy it.

Southbound (7/10)

Shown at the same time as Baskin in Chattanooga on Friday night, I think Southbound is the much better movie, and it’s definitely more fun. It’s created by some of the people behind the “V/H/S” films, and although I haven’t really liked those, I think they get it right here. There are five stories, and each takes place on or around the same highway. The tales link together, and as one ends, the next one picks up, usually with a character providing the transition. In the end, it all loops back around, giving us some idea about what is really happening in the bigger picture. Each story is told effectively within 15 minutes or so, and while a couple are weaker than the others, I was never bored at any point. I loved how the stories all blended together, similar to recent anthologies like “Tales of Halloween” and “A Christmas Horror Story.” In fact, I think I’ll need to watch it again now to truly see all the connections throughout the film.

Overall, this film fest was an amazing experience. While it’s perfect for horror and genre fans, there are lots of documentaries, comedies, and others screened throughout the weekend as well. I highly recommend this event for anyone looking for a good film fest in the Southeast.

Next up, the Nashville Film Fest kicks off on April 13th!

Body Count Podcast – Episode 68 – Body Count Sells Out

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We discussed Cabin Fever (2016), The Intruders, and The Hallow, in addition to upcoming film fests, our favorite podcasts, crowdfunding, Costco, the Chiller network’s Slasher, and more.

Chattanooga Film Fest: March 31 – April 3

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Next weekend, we’ll be attending the Chattanooga Film Fest! There are some great films for horror fans, and here are trailers for five that we’re excited to check out:

Lake Nowhere

 

Demon

 

Southbound

 

The Babysitter Murders

 

Night of the Slasher

 

Other horror titles include Baskin, Don’t Panic, February, Bad Blood, and more. Check out the fest’s After Hours list for more info.

If you’ll be at the fest and you need a copy of our zine, be sure to let us know!

Body Count Podcast – Episode 67 – A Grin and a Kick

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We discussed Bound to Vengeance, Last Shift, and Berkshire County. This episode also includes the latest episode of our sports show, Beers and Baseball Cards.

Body Count Zine #6 – Now Available

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Our 6th zine issue is now available. You can order your copy now for $3 (includes shipping). Find our paypal info and more info about our zines at our order page.

Below is a list of what is covered in zine #6:

  • Bill Oberst Jr. (Circus of the Dead, Stressed to Kill, Criminal Minds)
  • Elizabeth Mears (Dollface, Family Possessions)
  • Leah Wiseman (Dismembering Christmas, Dollface, Family Possessions)
  • Wyatt Funderburk (Second Saturday, Explorers Club, The Loblaws)
  • Catching Up With Billy Pon (Circus of the Dead, Doll Boy)
  • The Library Police Podcast
  • “The Twin” (original short story by Michael Saltenberger)
  • Guess the Plot! (Lights Out, Nina Forever, The Hoarder, etc.)
  • Art by Mike Dyrdahl
  • 11.22.63: Change the Past
  • more!

Guess the Plot! (from Body Count Zine #5)

ladWe like to take upcoming horror releases and guess the plots of the films based only on the titles. These are our plot guesses from zine #5, along with an actual description from IMDB for each film. We have reviewed several of these on the podcast since attempting to guess the plots!

Zine #6 will be available at the end of this month and will include another round of plot guesses.

Lost After Dark

Rusty: “Let’s get lost!” That’s the anthem of a teen club called Lost After Dark who purposefully lose themselves in woods, back alleys, and other dangerous areas at night. Without the aid of cell phones or even a canteen! But when a grotesque and pathetic monster who lurks in the shadows befriends one of the members of the club, the limits of social acceptability are put to the test.

Josh: This loose remake of The Blair Witch Project delivers all of the thrills of being lost in the woods, but forgets about the supernatural events that made Blair Witch successful. In other words, if you were the one guy who wanted more arguing over the map and why it got thrown in the river? You’re in luck. Everyone else can safely avoid it, even though the bizarre twist ending that breaks the fourth wall is almost worth watching for.

Mike: Driving to college for the first time, new freshman Louise has life all figured out — until she drops her phone in a toilet in a Cracker Barrel restroom. She asks for directions, but without her trusty GPS, she soon gets lost. When the sun goes down, the killer hiding in her back seat waits for his chance to strike.

IMDB: In this clever homage to 80’s slasher films, a group of teenagers looking to party get stranded when their ride breaks down, and end up being stalked by a cannibalistic killer.

i-Lived

Rusty: A man discovers (in a way that is entirely unlike The Matrix) that he lives within a computer program. A mysterious figure (who is entirely unlike Morpheus from The Matrix) lets this man know that the only way to live in the real world is to murder every single person (or “program”) within the i-Niverse. Since he is just killing AI, he has a bit of fun with it. But what happens when he finds himself in the real world and it turns out to be a desolate and horrible hellscape? (The answer is that the credits roll.)

Josh: A new app is making its way around a high school. Everyone has it, no one is quite sure what it does, and it doesn’t seem to be something that can be deleted. But then people start getting notifications about deaths…before they happen. Now, as a group of friends keep losing members, a few of them start trying to investigate the app to save their own lives.

Mike: Upon the release of the iPhone 12, Apple decides to switch things up, sending only one phone to each store. Customers line up outside like always; however, this time only one fortunate consumer will be able to purchase a phone. When the doors open, the customers are ushered into an immediate death match, where they must kill or be killed. One phone, one survivor. Who will live?

IMDB: Josh Fosse is a 20something guy whose life is going nowhere. His girl left, his rent is late, and he lacks a real job. He is trying to make it as an app reviewer online and decides to review a self help app called i-Lived for fun. He’s signs on and immediately his life turns around. He meets the girl of his dreams and he gets a job offer he can’t refuse. Convinced it’s him and not the app, he signs out… and loses everything. He signs on again but this time the terms are different, the app is asking him to do things that are out of his moral comfort zone… but essential to becoming the success the app tells him he can be.

Final Girl

Rusty: Every sixteen-year-old in the USA wants to be the “final girl” in the new Sid Dastard film of the same name. One of the girls at the audition seems to be going out of her way, however, to make sure she gets the part. Will the local authorities, a plucky newscaster, and the school principal be able to figure out which girl is the murderer before the film ends, or will it just turn out to be one of the girls’ moms or something?

Josh: A self-aware horror film in the vein of Scream, Final Girl takes on the old horror film trope of the “final girl” who always manages to survive the slaughter and madness. A mysterious organization has collected a slew of these girls (each being an homage to a classic film from Texas Chain Saw to Halloween and beyond) and put them in a tournament to see who the ultimate survivor really is. There’s no rules, lots of weapons, and the last survivor wins. Oh, and some of their old friends may have been invited to keep the action moving along…

Mike: Things become deadly when students at Rowland Office High School begin using the new phone app “Who’s the Worst?” Each day, guys at the school use the app to vote for a girl who is popular (and not the worst), eliminating her from the contest. As Lisa Sporacio remains in the contest each day, realizing that she is coming closer and closer to being named the worst, she begins to plot her revenge, vowing to brutally eliminate each and every guy who did not vote for her. Will Lisa be the final girl? (I mean, honestly, she should be. She kind of is the worst.)

IMDB: A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. Later she is approached by a group of sadistic teens who kill blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.

Lumberjack Man

Rusty: He just wants to live a solitary life in the woods with his trees and his axes. Why won’t these tiny, violent gremlin-like creatures leave him alone? Furthermore, why do early test audiences insist that the entire movie is a metaphor for repressed homosexuality and the homophobic society that causes it? It’s just a horror movie! I know there is a scene where the Lumberback Man is hiding in a literal closet, and I realize that the ending of the film features our hero walking slowly toward a rainbow, but I promise that was just a coincidence.

Josh: In this bizarre film, a woman becomes fascinated with the burly figure on her Bounty paper towels, gradually falling in love with him – much to the chagrin of her husband and her children, who are struggling with her weird obsession. But all that is way better than what happens next, when the figure disappears from the paper towel roll without warning. And then people start getting chopped up by axes…

Mike: When five teens head to a cabin in the woods to celebrate Halloween, they are hoping to have a nice peaceful getaway. Unfortunately they don’t realize that their cabin was once the scene of a grisly murder in 1986, when Burt Miller’s entire family was killed by an escaped mental patient as Burt chopped wood for a fire. Each year at Halloween, Burt returns to the cabin, dressed in flannel and yielding an axe, seeking to kill anyone occupying the space where he last saw his wife and kids. He’s the Lumberjack Man, and he wants to axe you a question.

IMDB: As the staff of Good Friends Church Camp prepares for a spring break filled with “Fun Under the Son,” a demon logger rises from his sap boiler to wreak his vengeance and feast on flapjacks soaked in the blood of his victims.

Bone Tomahawk

Rusty: Native Americans are not like you. They are “one” with nature while you work in a rectangular building and communicate by pushing your fingers on pieces of plastic connected by a wire to a microchip. Have you ever called a tree your “brother”? Have you ever studied a broken twig on the ground and known that there would be a three-month-long drought? I didn’t think so. Then why did you go and dig up that bone tomahawk from the sacred Algonquian burial site? I mean, do you even think before you do these things? I’m very disappointed in you, Gerald.

Josh: A waste of an amazing title. You might expect some sort of Native American brutal revenge film; instead, Bone Tomahawk turns out to be the name of the finishing move of an undead professional wrestler who’s wreaking havoc on an underground hardcore wrestling tournament. Yes, it’s nice to see Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Jake “The Snake,” and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in an uncredited cameo, but it’s not worth sitting through this otherwise awful film.

Mike: When the Mayflower pilgrims arrived in 1620, one of the first things they did was steal corn that had been buried by the Nauset Indians. In present day, as Nick and a group of his college friends retreat to his family’s vacation home in Cape Cod for Thanksgiving break, they become the target of an evil Native spirit. The ghost is still looking for his family’s corn, and his choice of weapon, a tomahawk, is made of bones — the bones of his family, who died of starvation that winter in 1620. For Nick and his friends, this Thanksgiving will be filled with food, football… and death.

IMDB: Four men set out in the Wild West to rescue a group of captives from cannibalistic cave dwellers.

Bloody Knuckles

Rusty: If you bang your fists very hard on a the asphalt multiple times, you might get a case of the bloody knuckles. Sally Brunson found this out the hard way after chanting the phrase “bloody knuckles” three times while squatting in the middle of a pentagram she drew in the middle of her cul-de-sac with a purple piece of sidewalk chalk. Her friends didn’t believe that an inhabiting spirit caused her to slam her fists uncontrollably until they tried it themselves. Watch for an hour and a half as this violent action happens over and over for at least six different girls and one little brother.

Josh: A weirdly violent slasher film (I know, but you’ll see what I mean), Bloody Knuckles makes a name for itself by giving its villain a weapon I haven’t seen much: only his bare hands. The villain here is a brutal pit fighter who stalks his victims and then beats them to death in graphic detail. It’s surprisingly upsetting, even if you’ve got a strong stomach, and feels far worse than you might expect from something like that. That being said, the fact that the story seems to be building up to the pit fighter tracking down Justin Beiber kept me watching, and made the ending seriously worthwhile.

Mike: Rupert Tomlinson is driving across the country to finally connect with a girl he met online. When he breaks down in the middle of nowhere, his phone is dead, he is tired, and he just needs a place to rest until morning. He stumbles off of the interstate and finds a hotel, where the clerk tells him he has only one room left. And it’s haunted. Rupert takes the room, and as he soon as he lies in the bed, he begins to hear an eerie voice coming from the closet, chanting, “I have bloody knuckles… I have bloody knuckles…” Will Rupert discover the mystery of the bloody knuckles and unlock the secret that has haunted the hotel for years?

IMDB: Travis is an underground comic book artist with a penchant for the obscene. When one of his comics insults a Chinatown crime boss, the gangster punishes Travis by removing his drawing hand. A daunted Travis retreats into a life of alcoholic misery. That is, until his hand returns from the grave…

Wind Walkers

Rusty: An evil, modern-day wizard invents a device that allows him to wind people up and control them like walking dolls when he sticks the object in their backs. He causes them to do all sorts of things they wouldn’t normally do: get him a glass of water, deposit that check at the bank for him, and — oh yes… MURDER! (Please note that the title of this film is pronounced “WHINED Walkers,” not “WINNED Walkers.”)

Josh: Three words: murderous, man-eating kites. Okay, one more word: awesome.

Mike: Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano reunite in this creepy thriller that explores what happens when the dead still want to speak. Stacy (Milano) begins to receive phone calls from her deceased relatives. Scared to answer the phone when she sees the numbers, she continuously allows the calls to go to voicemail, but the messages only consist of the sounds of wind blowing and feet walking. Who are these spirits, and where are they going? Convinced they are coming for her, she takes her phone to Father O’Connolly (Danza), who agrees to help her discover if the calls are truly coming from loved ones or if an evil demon has her number.

IMDB: With one of their own missing, a group of friends travel to the remote Florida everglades where they discover that an ancient, malevolent curse is tracking them.

Body Count Podcast – Episode 66 – Knock Knock

 

 

 

 

We discussed Kristy, Preservation, and Hellions.

Body Count Podcast – Episode 65 – Holiday Horror Stories

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After a three-month break, we discussed Tales of Halloween, A Christmas Horror Story, Christmas music, and more.

Five Songs for Your Halloween Playlist: Angie from The Cat Beast Party

cover05Our latest zine features five-song Halloween playlists submitted by a bunch of our friends.

Here is a top five from Angie, who hosts the Cat Beast Party, which can be heard on Radio Free Nashville and other stations throughout the country. To hear more of her picks, check out the archive of her awesome Halloween show from last week, and be sure to order our zine to get all of our friends’ playlists.

Thanks, Angie!

—–

 

5. B52’s – The Devil’s In My Car

4. Supergrass – Mary

3. The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You

2. The Blob

1. Swingin’ Neckbreakers – No Costume, No Candy

 

HH

Five Songs for Your Halloween Playlist: Wayne from Ice Cream Man Power Pop

cover05Our latest zine features five-song Halloween playlists submitted by a bunch of our friends. We’ll be posting some of the playlists here on our page throughout October.

Here is a top five from Wayne, who runs the Ice Cream Man Power Pop and More blog. Check out his site, and be sure to order our zine to get all of the playlists.

Thanks, Wayne!

———-

Halloween is a pretty new thing for us to celebrate across the pond. It has always been about, obviously, but more of the American traditions are coming over here. Nowadays, the kids expect a pumpkin pie and all the decorations. So my top 5 Halloween songs might not be “traditional,” but here they are:

5. Donovan – Season Of The Witch.

Just because it mentions witches really, and it is a pretty cool song.

4. Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear The Reaper.

Kind of obvious choice really, but the guitar is pretty haunting as is the reprise. And in recent years, that cowbell has become a bit horrific too!

3. Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt Kickers – Monster Mash.

This has been around every halloween and is a main stay for music at the kids’ parties.

2. The Specials – Ghost Town.

Obviously this was about politics, but it has one of the best haunting melodies ever, and the banshee type vocals of course.

1. The Stranglers – Waltz in Black.

The+StranglersIf scary clowns are going to come and murder us all, this will be their theme tune. The organ, the laughing. If I heard this song anywhere out of context, say walking down a dark street or in a graveyard, it would scare the hell outta me.

 

Zine #5 – Now Available

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Celebrate Halloween with us by picking up a copy of our latest zine. You can order your copy now for $3 (includes shipping). Find our paypal info and more info about the zines at our order page.

Issue #5 is definitely our most fun zine yet, and it’s filled with Halloween content to celebrate the season. Below is a list of what is covered:

  • Marcus Dunstan (Halloween Returns, The Collector, Saw sequels)
  • Patrick Rea (Nailbiter, The Invoking 2)
  • Brett Schwaner (Guignol – A Tale of Escalating Horror)
  • Alex Talbot of PEARS the band (Fat Wreck Chords)
  • The Dark Hours Horror Podcast
  • Wes Craven tribute
  • Halloween playlists
  • Drive-in theaters
  • Guess the Plot!
  • Art work by Mike Dyrdahl and AbductedSteve
  • more!

Five Songs for Your Halloween Playlist: Mick from Just Some Punk Songs

cover05Our upcoming zine (printing on October 1st) will feature five-song Halloween playlists submitted by a bunch of our friends. We’ll post some of the playlists on our page throughout October.

To celebrate the arrival of fall, here is a top five from Mick, who runs the awesome Just Some Punk Songs blog. Check out his site, and be sure to pre-order our zine to get all of the playlists.

Thanks, Mick!

5. The Riverdales – Crawling Eye

4. The Lillingtons – Murder on My Mind

3. Peter & the Test Tube Babies – Zombie Creeping Flesh

2. Groovie Ghoulies – (She’s My) Vampire Girl

1. Kill That Girl – Zombie

Body Count Podcast – Episode 64 – Do It Again

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A super slasher episode, as we discussed Eyes of a Stranger, Night School, Mortuary, Dismembering Christmas, and Lost After Dark, along with i-Lived and Final Girl.

Body Count Zine #5 – pre-order now available

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Our 5th zine issue will print on October 1st. We will have a table at Nashville’s Handmade & Bound on October 3rd and will begin shipping zines on October 5th. You can pre-order your copy now for $3 (includes shipping). Find our paypal info and more info about the zines at our order page.

Issue #5 is definitely our most fun zine yet, and it’s filled with Halloween content to celebrate the season. Below is a list of what is covered:

  • Marcus Dunstan (Halloween Returns, The Collector, Saw sequels)
  • Patrick Rea (Nailbiter, The Invoking 2)
  • Brett Schwaner (Guignol – A Tale of Escalating Horror)
  • Alex Talbot of PEARS (Fat Wreck Chords)
  • The Dark Hours Horror Podcast
  • Wes Craven tribute
  • Halloween playlists
  • Drive-in theaters
  • Guess the Plot!
  • reviews
  • more!