Pitchfork (2017)






Pitchfork (2017)

12 kills

I don’t know why it has taken this long for someone to make a slasher film about a killer who has a pitchfork for a hand, but needless to say, this is our kind of movie!

Pitchfork does have three flaws: (1) too much (maybe all?) of the audio was added in post production and feels unnatural, (2) the dialogue is unrealistic at times, and (3) like most modern horror films, it feels too long.

That being said, none of this changes that there are a couple of legitimate scares, and some of the kills are great. You won’t care about any of these characters, which is fine, because they’re all going to get killed anyway. And if you like different types of kills, you won’t find it here. There are a few random farm tools, but it’s mostly the pitchfork, which is what we all really came to see.

Ultimately, this movie looks really good and has an awesome killer. Think about it: Freddy’s finger blades wouldn’t stand a chance against a whole pitchfork hand. This is a must-see for slasher fans.

Pitchfork is now available on demand, through iTunes, and in select theaters. Watch the trailer here:

Do You Dream in Color? (2017)









Note: This is not a horror film.

“Do You Dream in Color?” is a fascinating documentary that tells the stories of four blind teens. Directors Abigail Fuller and Sarah Ivy do a wonderful job of letting the kids be themselves and display their personalities, and the result is great.

The young men and women featured in this film attempt to accomplish goals that would be difficult for any of us: getting gigs for a band, earning a sponsorship from a local skate shop, traveling to study abroad, and sternly advocating for basic rights that have been ignored. The fact that none of them allow their disabilities to slow them down is truly inspiring.

One of the most important scenes in the movie occurs when the filmmakers are asked not to record a meeting at a public school, yet they film it anyway. It becomes clear that, at this school on this day, at least, almost no one is willing to do what needs to be done to help a disabled student meet her graduation requirements.

This is a film that needs to be seen, and I only hope it can reach a proper audience soon. Look for a VOD release on February 10, along with a limited theatrical run. Watch the trailer here:

Best of 2016

Here are some of our favorite things from 2016!

Horror Films







1. Green Room
2. The Invitation
3. Hush
4. The Conjuring 2
5. The Boy
6. Southbound
7. Train to Busan
8. The Neighbor
9. Don’t Breathe
10. Neon Demon

Next 10 (alphabetical): 3 Dead Trick or Treaters, Be My Cat: A Film for Anne, Demon, Fender Bender, The Intruders, Lights Out, Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Purge: Election Year, The Shallows, The Witch

Non-Horror Films







1. Supersonic
2. Eight Days a Week
3. Gleason
4. Everybody Wants Some
5. American Honey
6. Indignation
7. Elle
8. Audrie and Daisy
9. Nocturnal Animals
10. Zootopia

Next 5 (alphabetical): Amanda Knox, Finding Dory, Sully, Tree Man, War Dogs

Horror Shorts







1. Babysitter Murders
2. Girl #2
3. Night of the Slasher
4. Invaders
5. Smiling Man

Note: Most of these were technically released in 2015, but I discovered them this year.

TV/Internet Series








1. Bloodline
2. 11.22.63
3. Banshee
4. Black Mirror
5. The Night Of











1. MTX – King Dork Approximately
2. Nada Surf – You KNow Who You Are
3. Explorers Club – Together
4. Mikey Erg – Tentative Decisions
5. 35 PSI – Sharing Cupcakes

3 Dead Trick or Treaters


A few years ago, we discovered Torin Langen’s great Halloween short “Fondue,” a much darker take on the idea of trick-or-treating. In “3 Dead Trick or Treaters,” Langen has expanded this concept, keeping “Fondue” and adding a few other stories around it. Like “Fondue,” each tale in this anthology relates to Halloween and some its various rituals and traditions. There is still no dialogue, although a great soundtrack is present throughout the film. The thing about Langen is that he is light years ahead of most other independent filmmakers when it comes to cinematography. His work looks amazing, and he obviously gets more from a small budget than most others could. If, like us, you’re waiting patiently for Michael Dougherty’s “Trick ‘r Treat,” you should definitely watch this in the meantime.

Invaders: Thanksgiving Horror Short


Over the last few years, we’ve discussed how there just aren’t enough Thanksgiving horror films out there. So we were really happy to discover Jason Kupfer’s new short, Invaders. Imagine being home with your family on Thanksgiving, sharing a wonderful dinner, when two strangers show up at your door with pilgrim masks and axes. What would you do?

The short features two guys who have been in The Walking Dead (Jordan Woods-Robinson and Ricky Wayne), has screened at more than 150 fests, and is currently a staff pick on Vimeo. Look for an interview with Jason in our next zine!

You can stream Invaders here:

Invaders from Jason Kupfer on Vimeo.

Body Count Podcast – Episode 78 – Places People Hide Their Money



We discussed Krampus, Don’t Breathe, and The Conjuring 2.








Body Count Podcast – Episode 77 – Shark Fighters






We discussed The Shallows, The Purge 3: Election Year, and 31.


Zine Interview: Frank Portman (King Dork Approximately)

kdaThis interview appears in our 8th zine issue. You can order a copy of it here.

Frank Portman (Dr. Frank) is the singer/songwriter for one of our favorite bands, the Mr. T Experience, and his debut novel, King Dork, was published in 2006.

Based on an MTX song, King Dork is narrated by 14-year-old Tom Henderson, an outcast who loves music and movies, and hates anything “normal.” Following his second book, Andromeda Klein (2009), Dr. Frank’s King Dork Approximately was published in 2014, continuing Tom’s story.

To celebrate this month’s paperback release of King Dork Approximately, MTX returned to the studio for the first time since 2004 to record a King Dork soundtrack, featuring songs “written by Tom” throughout the two books. The album is free with the purchase of the book, and both can be ordered at soundsradical.com (or anywhere else books are sold).

Although King Dork is not really a horror series at all, it definitely explores dark themes, and Tom (like Dr. Frank) is a horror fan. But mostly, it’s our zine, and we love Dr. Frank, so we interviewed him! And here it is!


Body Count: On our podcast, we have dedicated a great deal of time to true crime documentaries. In the King Dork books, Tom is essentially trying to solve a murder. Have you seen Making A Murderer, Paradise Lost, The Jinx, and stuff like that? Were these films/cases influences in any way?

Dr. Frank: I have watched all of those, and was very engaged with the West Memphis Three case and story in particular. I’m also a big reader of crime fiction. Like much else in my books, the mysteries and crimes are rather “pseudo” or “meta” — they’re definitely McGuffin-y, there mainly to furnish Tom Henderson’s mental world with things to riff on and parody in the narration. There is, however, a larger arc concerning his father’s death and his past that will develop if subsequent books do wind up getting written and published. I like to retain ambiguity and question marks and a great degree of messiness in this stuff, as I think that is more in line with real life experience (and it’s certainly borne out by the real life crime stories referenced in your question).

Body Count: In King Dork, Tom ranks “the best movies ever made” as: (1) Rosemary’s Baby, (2) The Bad Seed, (3) Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and (4) Carrie. His character could have easily preferred movies like Rock and Roll High School, Spinal Tap, and other music-based films. Why did you make him somewhat of a horror kid?

Dr. Frank: It was partly because a little flirtation with Satan and “the dark side” is a classic (and quite funny) pretense that many rock and roll teens have had over the years — another thing that remains as true now as it ever was. Also I believe it is more fertile ground for references for a guy whose take on the world is basically that it is a conspiracy against him on the part of the entire universe. Plus, I got to make him say, of Carrie, “I love it when a movie has a happy ending.” Worth it just for that.

Body Count: King Dork and KDA are set during the 1999-2000 school year. While cell phones are somewhat present, they aren’t really important to the main plots. We usually think that horror movies work better when they find a way to lose the cell phones, and it seems to work better here as well. Was this a conscious decision? How do you think characters like Tom and Sam would change if they were 2016 teens who texted, skyped, etc?

Dr. Frank: It was absolutely a deliberate decision. You’re right — too much cell phones is something to avoid in any narrative and figuring plausible ways to exclude them is a standard part of the writing process in our world, for better or worse.

I left the date in which the first novel was set ambiguous (though you could figure it out by doing some math by the end). But 1999 was chosen as the last possible year where it wouldn’t necessarily be necessary to explain why Tom and Sam weren’t cell phone people. Then in KDA, when the cat was out of the bag on the date, I tried to address the issue in what I hope was a funny way, making Sam Hellerman an unlikely pioneer in mobile phone tech.

As for whether the characters would change simply because of technology, I tend to thing of that stuff as superficial. And I’ve met enough contemporary Tom-and-Sams since writing the books that I’m pretty sure I’m right about that.

Body Count: Your second book, Andromeda Klein, actually explores the themes of magick and witchcraft. Describe your interests in these topics.

Dr. Frank: It’s been a longstanding interest of mine as a general matter, partly abetted by that rock and roll Devil pretense referred to above. Mostly it was in the form of reading a lot and watching movies. That said, I only realized how little I actually knew about occultism by the time I started to write Andromeda Klein, and the research on it was very intense, and I’d even go so far as to say it actually changed me as a person to some degree, or at least, it broadened my horizons.

Body Count: Was it more difficult to write about teens dealing with these issues in Andromeda Klein, as opposed to the more universal themes found in King Dork (music, relationships, family, etc.)?

Dr. Frank: It wasn’t more difficult per se, but I did find “living with” and inside the head of Andromeda Klein for three years to be a wrenching experience. I acknowledge flaws in the novel (as with everything: you can’t build a house with flaws, as they say on Long Island). However, no fictional character has ever felt as “real” to me. She still haunts me, so to speak.

Body Count: You actually had a promotional appearance at a high school canceled due to the content found in Andromeda Klein. What was that like?

Dr. Frank: It did happen, but it was very low-key, and I never found out the details. From what I gathered, it was because of parental complaints about the occultism? There are people out there who are very frightened of tarot cards per se, and want to keep their kids away from them — I was quite surprised to learn that.

I tried to present myself as a free speech martyr on the basis of that incident, but I guess you need more than that to turn an event cancellation into fame and fortune. The interesting truth about this topic is that this sort of thing really does happen all the time with a great array of books and authors (books removed from libraries or blackballed so they’re not ordered in the first place, events cancelled with no explanation, etc.) and there’s usually no way to find out about it except by accident. A tale as old as time, really, or at least as old as books I’d guess.

Body Count: You said in a recent radio interview: “No one knows how to put out an album today. And no one knows how to put out a book either.” Obviously, you’ve found a way to do both, and hopefully it’s successful. We work with a lot of independent filmmakers, and this is definitely often true for movies as well. One thing we’ve noticed is constant revolving crowdfunding, and although it somehow works more times than I can believe, I can’t see this working consistently for music or books. Have you tried crowdfunding? Do you see it as a viable option? Where do you think we’ll go from here?

Dr. Frank: I know of many cases of using crowdfunding to fund albums, and it seems to work. In our little corner of the world Ben Weasel did it successfully to fund his last record. I can’t see it working as well for a book, as the funding for such a project involves a lot more than studio time. Basically: “I need you guys to pay my living expenses for three years while I write.” I can’t see it.

I think something along those lines may well be in my future for recording, though I really hope not because I would be terrible at it, and I don’t think I would do it well. When that time comes, I will probably try to hire someone with a more engaging hucksterish personality to do it on my behalf. I’m a huckster too, of course, but I do it in a quiet, passive-aggressive, self-pitying way. To make the crowdfunding thing work, you have to be more in-your-face. I wonder if Rev. Norb might be available?

No idea where it goes from here. We have an unfortunate situation now where “content” of all kinds has been drastically de-valued. The ideal of becoming a self-supporting artist, never an easy status to achieve, is increasingly an anachronistic fantasy. Beyond just being re-incarnated as someone with generous rich parents, or marrying a rich guy who will fund Milady’s Boudoir, I don’t see any way out of this predicament.

Body Count: We tend to rip on “horror punk” a lot. We acknowledge that there are some great horror punk tracks, including some of our favorite songs. But as a sub-genre, it’s basically a huge letdown. Right?

Dr. Frank: Yes I basically agree that it can be a let down, though not uniquely so by any means. Music that relies so heavily on costumes and image and genre references often suffers because the most important bit (the songs) can get left behind. I think you have to start with the songs. I think it’s quite easy not to do that.

Body Count: So if you were going to start a horror punk band, what would you call it?

Dr. Frank: Blood on Satan’s Claw.

Body Count: Will we see Tom again at all? Maybe as a 24-year-old who works at a restaurant while waiting for his record deal?

Dr. Frank: As I’ve hinted above, I have a long, long story arc in mind for these characters. It encompasses Andromeda Klein and her family as well eventually. The current conception of it ends with King Dork Superstar, when Tom is 42 (which won’t be till 2027 by my calculations, but there’s lots of time to get there). He meets Andromeda Klein in 2010 when he’s in his mid-twenties and she’s in college (King Dork Undercover). I may never (and probably won’t) get to write it all, however.

Body Count: Will we get to see King Dork the Movie?

Dr. Frank: King Dork has been optioned and in development in various forms ever since it was published ten years ago. It’s currently being developed for TV (probably) by the great director/producer Miguel Arteta. It’s anybody’s guess whether it will actually happen, but I hope it does because he’s the right guy to do it.

Body Count: Assuming you aren’t playing a show, what is a typical Halloween night like for Dr. Frank?

Dr. Frank: Staying home and watching TV. They usually have something spooky on.

Body Count: So then what are your five favorite horror films?

Dr. Frank: (1) Rosemary’s Baby, (2) Night of the Demon, (3) Horror Hotel/City of the Dead, (4) Black Sunday, (5) The Omen.

That’s the kind of list that would be totally different next time I did it, but Rosemary’s Baby is always #1. I must also mention that Blood on Satan’s Claw is the first horror film I ever saw properly (in a theater believe it or not, when I was maybe 8) and I believe is mentioned in KD. The Wicker Man is also a big one and probably belongs on that top five list.

Body Count: And finally, can you give us five songs for a Halloween playlist?

Dr. Frank: (1) Devil Woman – Cliff Richard, (2) KIje’s Ouija – Free Design, (3) Dignitaries of Hell – Coven, (4) Magic – King Diamond, (5) The Devil’s Answer – Atomic Rooster.

Body Count Zine #8 – Now Available


BCZcover08Our 8th zine is now available, and orders will ship at the end of 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 #8:

  • Tommy Faircloth (Family Possessions)
  • Dr. Frank Portman (Mr. T Experience, King Dork Approximately)
  • Guess the Plot!
  • Art by Mike Dyrdahl
  • Reviews
  • A trip to Sleepy Hollow
  • Twin Peaks predictions

Body Count Podcast – Episode 76 – Car Trouble







We discussed HBO’s The Night Of, The Neighbor, and ARQ.

Body Count Podcast – Episode 75 – Friday the 13th Reviews









Five years ago, we reviewed the Friday the 13th films. Splitting up the movies over 12 episodes, we started on Episode 8 in April 2011 and finished on Episode 19 in September 2011. We’ve finally compiled those reviews here to make it a lot easier to hear our thoughts on our favorite slasher franchise.

Body Count Podcast – Episode 74 – We Live To Rock






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


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







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?



Body Count Podcast – Episode 72 – Not Enough Ice



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







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.


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.


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.


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.


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









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







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







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.


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







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.


A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne

Inside Scarlett



Body Count Podcast – Episode 69 – Go!






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







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






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






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!