Archive for gore

Return To Nuke ‘Em High Vol 1 (review)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2014 by splatterpictures



What’s going on at Nuke Em High? Jesus Christ, that’s what I’d like to know…




It’s beeReturn-to-Nuke-Em-High-Postern awhile. I left to chase the comic book dragon for a couple of years and at least for now I have an immense burning desire to return to celebrating horror. (Technically reviewing them) Since I’ve been away there have been a lot of comings and goings in the horror movie industry but, considering that this is a return for me I want to talk a little about Return to Nuke Em High Vol 1. Like me, it’s an instalment to a franchise that hasn’t seen life in about twenty years. Well I haven’t been away that long but it sure feels like it. Let’s go!




Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol 1 is as the name suggests. It’s not only a return to the Troma franchise Class of Nuke Em High from 1986 it’s also the first part of a two part movie. Apparently Quentin Tarantino told Director and co-founder of Troma, Lloyd Kaufman to split up the film in to two parts like Kill Bill. The Film Stars Asta Paredes and Catherin Corcoran.



The film opens with narration (provided by Stan Lee) that breezes us past the last three movies general plot which is; a high school in Tromaville that’s built next to a nuclear power plant. We’re then told that Nuclear activism is passé so instead the plant is demolished and replaced by Tromorganic Foodstuffs Conglomerate. They are evil and power hungry. So much so that they end up feeding toxic Taco’s to the student body. The foodstuffs still contain the very same toxins from the nuclear plant and well…they mutate the kids in to Cretins. Cretins are essentially evil 80’s punk-rockers.

"We thought we were in that other "return" movie"

“We thought we were in that other “return” Movie”


Troma films have their own brand of humour, violence and sensibility that make them wholly unique as a company’s brand but not on an individual level. What I mean by that is that this film will feel very familiar to Troma fans. Viewers unfamiliar with the company will be taken aback by the amount of nudity and violence in it. It goes for it in a big way. Duck-Rape, melting bodies, giant mutated dicks the works.


Casual people may dismiss it as crass and cheap entertainment but there are moments where this movie’s humour is brilliant. By calling attention to absurd plot points or the narrative structure it generates genuine laughs that won’t make you feel too immature for going along with. I liked all of the casting in this movie. From the leads to the minor characters, everyone seemed very game with the material. Also, the amount of cameos in this thing is ridiculous, most of them friends of Lloyds and independent films who took one afternoon out to do minor scenes. Christ, some of them could have been filmed at any time.


The weaker moments in the film are honestly hard to really pin-point. The frantic script is something of a patchwork. For all of the diologue that’s fast, slick and genuinely funny there are just as many moments that are dumb and cliché. Three official hands passed over it; Travis Campbell, Derek Dressler and Aaron Hamel. If that wasn’t enough there was added material by Lloyd Kaufmen and Casey Clapp.



Kaufman’s hand in direction and “added material” are very apparent. He’s a man who does a lot of interviews so if you follow him as many fans do you can tell he let’s his opinions and humour speak through many of his characters. I Honestly believe I can pick out any line he wrote himself. Mainly jokes involving Obama care, Justin Beiber and Miley Cirus. These Jokes come off as lazy and will do nothing but serve to lock the film within the timeframe it was made. They also poke fun at kids obsession with cell phones and instagram. In a word. Snore. It seems very much like the franchise that started in 1986 was still trying to exist there with a few pop cultural jokes to make it current but oddly comes off as anachronistic Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but they were eye rolling as oppose to laugh inducing. There are ways to do that kind of humour beyond the joke itself being saying that Justin Bieber exists.


The special effects are fantastic which I’ve come to expect from this company. People die in gooey gruesome and outrageous fashion. Myself being a fan of Japanese Grindhouse, the giant mutated dicks and breast milk didn’t phase me but the uninitiated might be shocked. The apathy of the characters towards the copious amounts of sex and violence in the movie is oddly charming.


“It’s exactly what it looks like”


The biggest problem this film has is the ending. While, I realize it’s meant to be cut up in to two pieces I think it could have been cut up better. I’ve taken some time to consider the plot and have come to realize that the reason I disliked the ending is because it doesn’t have one. If we take, for example, Kill Bill which was also one movie cut in two, both parts still adhere to a basic three act structure. This film however, doesn’t really have a climax. Nor does it really have a cliff-hanger. It just sort of ends. Considering this film has a very sparse eighty minute run time I think they could have goosed up the material and maybe brought this film to a satisfying conclusion or even just set it up so you’re excited for the next one. People on the fence with this movie will not be compelled to seek out the next one at a shame because there is some great stuff here.


Return to Nuke’em High is a really fun movie and comes within striking distance of being as good as the original but I honestly believe breaking it up in to two movies was a huge mistake. We’ll have to see how Vol 2 plays out but until it does I don’t recommend bothering with Vol 1 until you can view both films together.

History of the Zombie Genre (Part 6: The Video Dead)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2011 by splatterpictures

Holy shit, if there is one thing I love, it’s doing these horror showcases. If there is one thing I hate, it’s getting a horrible virus because of them. It seems that while searching for images for the latest (and final) entry into the History of the Zombie Genre, I came across the fucking apocalypse of viruses and my old computer is down for the count. Fear not loyal readers, I have returned with the help some friends and am ready to re-write our final stop of this magical journey!

I’d like to take a minute and talk about the 80’s. What a weird and wonderful time. Business was booming and, as such, a lot more risks were being taken. Not to mention the fact that studios like New Line Cinema and things of that ilk basically built their companies off the backs of horror movies. The 80’s in horror saw the slasher boom and everybody was trying to create a mascot akin to Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees. Some where pretty good… most were pretty bad. A very rare few are so bad it becomes good.

Horror movies of this era saw a lot of distribution through minor labels of much larger film studios that existed to provide low risk, low cost, and decent reward to the studios. Universal, MGM and the suddenly-relevant New Line Cinema were all pretty big on this practice and released all kinds of stuff direct to VHS. Yeah, that’s right, VHS! Some rare studios managed to remain independent for the most part, but a lot of them were swallowed up in the 80’s by big business. On the other hand, there are select studios that flourished because of this new fangled direct to video market.

The 80’s saw a lot of great stuff for the Zombie Genre too. My original plan was to review the 1980’s classic Return of the Living Dead seeing as there are few films that encompass the decade in the genre so perfectly. It has everything; the music, the comedy, the origin of the Zombie battle cry “Braaaains”. It really is great example. That being said, I feel like we can do better. I think that it’s time to dig deep, and I mean –really- deep and talk about something that isn’t so “classic”. I’m talking about a film that, to this date, has never been released officially on DVD. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about The Video Dead.

The Video Dead was released in 1987 and distributed through Embassy Home Entertainment, which was the direct to video portion of Embassy Pictures. Don’t worry if you never heard of it. Basically, it was an independent studio that was eaten alive by larger studios in the late 80’s. If memory serves me (and even if it doesn’t we live in the information age), it was taken over by MGM, or New Line Entertainment. Embassy Pictures had a decent run, but eventually went the way of a lot of studios from the old days of movie making.

It was written, directed, and produced by Robert Scott. You know this sort of hat trick happens a lot in films, especially from new directors. When a director really goes all in, they have nothing really to fall back on when things go bad. Without a doubt, and despite –anything- Robert Scott could ever say, the Video Dead was his baby. I’m sure once that baby came out of the delivery room, Scott was tugging at his shirt collar wondering just what the fuck happened.

So what’s it about? Well let’s see here. Basically, the film starts out with this writer who mysteriously gets delivered a television. He’s cranky and wants to be left alone, but he reluctantly takes the TV and goes back to his writing. Things get weird when the TV magically turns on by itself and it only seems to play one thing: A zombie movie called “Zombie Blood Nightmare”. Unknown to him, the zombies actually are aware that they are in a TV and know the way out. He goes to bed and is none the wiser that a dazzling array of 80’s blue lighting effects enable the Zombies to escape and march upstairs.

The next day the deliverymen return and discover the writer’s body. Here’s the weird part: He’s sitting in a chair when the door opens with his throat slit and wearing a party hat. I remember seeing that and saying “okay weird. Why did the zombies dress him up festively?” They didn’t eat him clearly, but they slit his throat? I was pretty confused. Here’s the deal: The zombies aren’t really the zombies people are familiar with. In keeping with the spirit of the 80’s they basically say “Fuck you” to all the typical rules.

Most films had used the basic idea that if you destroy the brain you kill the zombie. I don’t know if it was because everyone in the 80’s had a desire to move forward, that this became a trend in film. For the most part if you ask someone how to kill a zombie they’ll say “Shoot em in the head!” Well that won’t really work with these, and here’s why. Some loose narrative in the story tells us that these zombies want to be alive and hate to be reminded that they are dead. A big symptom of this is a fear of mirrors. So if you want them to leave you alone, show them a reflection of themselves. Also, forget head shots. That won’t work unless you can somehow convince them that –they- are dead which you do by inflicting enough damage to their bodies. Perhaps the most ridiculous method is if you trap them in a place where they can’t possible get out, they’ll eat themselves. Lastly I’ll mention that if you show even the slightest fear, they’ll attack you. In other words, if you are nice to them and treat them as if they are alive, they’ll like you.

There you have it, the weirdest rules I’ve ever heard. Not only are they weird, they also don’t work. After the writer is killed, a brother and sister move in and start preparing the house for their parents who are away on business. They find out too late that the television that was left behind is haunted and there are still zombies out there. An old Texan comes along who knows all about the TV and the zombies. He tells them these rules and then takes the boy to go hunting for them. Well… I just don’t even know what to say. None of the rules even work and it makes me wonder what the point was in bringing them up at all.

Oh, and I normally don’t give spoilers about the ending but (SPOILER ALERT) do you want to know how to trap them from a place where no escape is possible? Just take a minute and think about a place like that. Bottom of the ocean? Stuck in a cave with a huge boulder at the entrance? How about shoving them in a bank vault? All pretty good ways, right? Well you don’t need that, just lock em in the basement for five minutes. That’s right, the basement. Nothing special about it; just a wooden door with a lock and it works.

One scene that I found pretty funny was when these two random people get killed, this old lady goes to check on her laundry and one of the undead somehow got into her washing machine. Next thing you know the old woman’s legs are just sticking out of the washer while it does a spin cycle. Good stuff.

The acting in this movie is hilarious and the writing is pretty bad. The special effects are decent enough but I can’t help and wonder just what all of the actors were thinking. Actually forget the actors. What was the director/writer/producer thinking?

This movie is a straight up horror comedy but the parts that made me laugh weren’t any of the gags but more so the silly plot and ridiculously bad acting. I recommend it to anybody who has a sense of humour about horror films in general. Like I said before, it’s never been released on DVD but for some reason Netflix has it. Check it out.

Well that finally does it for our little look back through the history of the Zombie sub-genre of horror. Also, I know you’re thinking “But what about the 90’s or the 2,000’s? Well you have a valid point, there were a lot of them in that 20 year span. Those two decades saw the birth of the “Fast Zombie” as well as a boom in the zombie culture in general. Especially the last ten years, thanks in no small part to some great authors. Not only that but it saw a few remakes of Romero’s work as well. Right now the word Zombie has a lot of marketability again which is both good and bad for fans. It’s good because it means a lot more content coming from different sources. It’s bad because a lot of that content is god awful.

I’ve decided to cut it off at the 80’s to allow myself some breathing room because, frankly, a lot has happened in those years and I’m a little zombied-out. Don’t worry too much; this topic will be resurrected again very shortly. Until next time, happy hunting!


Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2011 by splatterpictures

Well no sense in straying too far from the mark; we’re going to tackle another Tokyo Shock production. This time we’re looking at the very first Shock picture I ever saw, and boy was I spoiled. I used to check out this site, Veoh, and one day I happened upon a little Thumbnail that said “Versus,” and I had no idea what was in store for me.

A lot of both action and horror movies come out of Japan, and Versus is really one of those special combinations that shouldn’t be passed up.

The film was released in 2000 and was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. Originally Kitamura intended to do a sequel to his film, Down to Hell, but somewhere down the line there was a disagreement regarding whether or not a Japanese action film could compare with an American one. The result was that Kitamura found a lot of inspiration from classic 80’s genre films such as Mad Max and Evil Dead. He felt traditional special effects were missing from modern action/horror and felt that traditional effects could bring impact and power to the screen without being overly expensive to produce. He also felt that filming with one or two cameras would make things a lot cheaper and allow more continuous shots with less cuts (in the style of older Asian cinema).

One thing that I found strange was that he claimed not to like a lot of Japanese animation or things of the sort. I find this odd because when I first saw it, I honestly felt like I was watching a live action anime or videogame.

Kitamura also has a reputation for disliking the film industry. He chose his cast based on their looks or if he had worked with them before rather than their skill. He works with story boards but never follows them completely and, furthermore, he’ll completely change an actor’s role in the film if he likes them and they are doing a good job.

He said he wanted to make a movie that was really simple, which might be why none of the characters really have names. There is not a lot of character detail or full explanations about why certain characters are even there. He felt that action and horror films from the 80’s had it right, that they were there to entertain and not try to be something they aren’t.

Okay, so the idea behind that film is that there is a forest known as the forest of resurrection. It’s essentially a gateway from this world and the “other world,” so I would assume they mean the afterlife. It starts off with two prisoners escaping into the woods to meet up with a bunch of gangsters. Things get tense quickly and people start dying, and then coming back to life. It seems that because they are in the forest of resurrection at this specific time, the dead will rise. The gangsters also have a girl in their possession for no reason other than their “boss” desired it. Prisoner KSC2-303 (Tak Sakaguchi) takes off with the girl after his partner is killed and they head into the woods… time to let the no-holds-barred action begin!

They fight off seemingly endless zombies with amazing gunplay and martial arts. All the gangsters are pretty badass because you think that the zombies would pose a challenge, but they just destroy them. My personal favourite is the Yakuza Leader (Kenji Matsuda) because he is just completely insane. His movements are wild and crazy but somehow get the job done.

The way he delivers his lines are great, too. Matsuda said that he wasn’t much of an action star, so he relied more on his acting to make it good. Two other great characters are the cops chasing them. They really have no roles other than comic relief and it’s great. The one cop with the Barrett just randomly spouts off lines about how he’s the best at everything such as being the ultimate martial artist (which leads to a hilarious scene). The other cop has his hand cut off at the start of the film and just walks around like he doesn’t even care!

The film takes an even more bizarre turn when the boss finally shows up. Everything starts to fall into place and we soon realize that it’s a film that is really about reincarnation. Also, just when you thought zombies were bad, they now have “Hyper-Zombies”. What are hyper-zombies? Well hyper zombies are like regular zombies but they know kung-fu. Honestly, you have to see this to believe it. This movie also has a great twist ending that I won’t spoil.

The special effects really shine in this one. These guys really seem to rip the undead apart with flashy sword and gun play and, I know I’ve said this before, but everyone could learn from this film. Traditional special effects are always going to just look great if done right and you don’t always need to do everything on a computer.

The actors and crew on this film had a lot of passion for their work and it shows in the film. They even all got together four years after the film was completed to film new scenes and expand upon others that they couldn’t because of cost or time.

Tak Sakaguchi did all of his own stunts and he ended up breaking three ribs and losing a tooth in the process. Another amusing note is that a lot of the actors pulled double or even triple duty cooking meals or doing behind the scenes work. It really goes to show that, although unconventional, Kitamura has some method to his madness. I highly recommend you all check this one out.

Found Footage Horror (Cannibal Holocaust)

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by splatterpictures

A recent comment I read about the “Found Footage” Horror Genre by one of my facebook chums has inspired me, probably to the detriment of most my audience, the origins of the genre.

Many people most closely associate this particular genre with The Blair Witch Project, the little independent film that came out in 1999, and it makes sense for them to think that. Before the Blair Witch, however, there were a number of “found footage” films which were small, independent ventures. The first I remember ever watching was “The McPherson Tape” which I might get to reviewing one day. Right now, though, I would like to take this time to talk about the grandfather of all Found Footage horror movies which, I might add, is the very first one: Cannibal Holocaust.

Cannibal Holocaust was released in 1980 by Italian director Ruggero Deodato it was written by Gianfranco Clerici. The two would collaborate on a number of films but this one, as you’ll find out, is easily one of the most controversial horror movies of all time.

Before I even get into what this film is about, I will explain what was controversial about it. The clearest way to understand this is that, at the time, no movie had been released under the premise of “found footage.” It was a high concept for film-goers at the time, seeing as they had never experienced anything quite like it. When it was released in Italy it took ten days before Deodato, Clerici, and the rest of the production staff were arrested for obscenity, and then going so far as to Charge Deodato with murder. Here’s why:

The film depicts the actual killing of several animals for the purpose of filmmaking. As such, the film was banned in several countries for animal cruelty and, while some have lifted the ban, it is still in place for many countries.

Deodato was charged with murder because authorities believed that the depictions of death were actually authentic and that Cannibal Holocaust was an actual snuff film. It didn’t help that Deodato had all of the actors on a public appearance ban for one year in order to make the illusion seem real. After an extensive search, all actors were found and the charges of murder dropped. Sooo what’s this movie even about anyways?

Well I will do my best to give a synopsis that doesn’t give too much away.

The film starts off with a documentary about a missing American film crew who went to shoot a documentary about cannibalistic tribes in the Amazon. The team that goes to find them are another film crew and an Anthropologist named Harold Monroe. What they find is a tribe that is very hostile towards them, but after some convincing they are finally led to a shrine of bones which are soon revealed to be the bones of the original film crew that went missing. Hanging from the bones are film reels that the natives allow them to take. Monroe and his team take it back America to see the raw footage and present it as a documentary.

The reels are reviewed and thus the “found footage” portion of the film begins. The rest of the movie shows the film crew trekking through the jungle, killing animals for food and, again, this is where the actual animal cruelty comes in. Eventually their guide is bitten by a snake and they are forced to continue on their own. The tribes people are tortured and humiliated in various ways for the sake of the film crew’s movie, and it becomes very clear to the audience that they are essentially the villains of the story who have no regard for the natives, the jungle or, ultimately, even each other. I will spare you the gory details, but rest assured there is plenty of death, blood and cannibalism to justify the name of the movie. In some unedited versions, there is even a montage at the end that takes real news footage of executions and puts them in for even more realism.

So, is it good? I would say it’s an interesting piece of film history and, whether or not you agree with it, the choice to actually kill animals and then putting the news footage at the end tricks the audience into thinking that maybe the film crew and some natives were really killed. It certainly worked on Italian authorities.

The film’s merit relies on the somewhat heavy-handed message that perhaps it’s the modern world and the media who are the real monsters, or cannibals in this case. A somewhat cliché argument if you ask me. For horror fans and film buffs, this is something you shouldn’t pass up. That being said, I do not recommend this movie to anyone squeamish in the “general population.” Stick with the latest from Pixar or something.

ANYWAY that’s it for now.