Horror Boom’s Holiday Gift Guide Countdown – Part 1 of 5, The Babadook Pop-Up Book!

We here at Horror Boom usually just have to ask for horror-themed gifts (unless it’s a sealed Blu-ray that doesn’t have bloody cover art) from each other. Just try asking your father or mother-in-law for ANY of the Crossed TPBs. All they would have to do is open it to pretty much any page and have nightmares for a week (or more, depending on whether it was one of the really nasty splash-pages) and wonder what horrible thing you saw as a kid that you repressed and never told them about. Last year Mrs. Horror Boom here dodged a bullet– sort of, because we’d all had a lot of wine and I grabbed it way almost in time– when I had asked my father (or maybe my sister, we were unwrapping gifts together Christmas Eve) for the Edward Lee novel Ghast and gotten it. The cover is fine; unfortunately, this is one of those small-press Ed Lee novels where he goes out of his way to scare off anyone easily offended in the first sentence of the book. It’s too nasty and violent to repeat here… unless someone asks me, then I’ll post it.

Anyway, here are some wonderful gifts you can give or ask for as a horror lover this year; they might even still be around on your birthday! We would do more than five, but the holidays REALLY snuck up on us this year (oh, we have plenty of… less than ten days, WHAT THE HELL?!) and if we list ten items in ten days, you won’t be able to get most of them in time for Christmas, or any other holiday you choose to celebrate. Let’s kick the door open on this series by telling you about…

1.  The Babadook Actual Pop-Up Book

 

If you’ve seen the Aussie horror gem The Babadook (now on VOD), or the trailers caught your eye, you’ll know why this is such a cool product. Things are (relatively) fine in the movie until the main character makes the mistake of reading this pop-up book to her already-high strung young son at bedtime. She’s pretty sure she didn’t buy the book, and it’s one of those horror movie objects with bad vibes that a character keeps trying to throw away (even burning it at one point) but then keeps returning.

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Anyway, if you are brave enough (I’m not, at least right now when it’s dark out and even the holiday lights are turned off) to purchase it,  it seems that this project (the book, not the movie, though that already took Jennifer Kent a while) started as a crowd-funding campaign. They offered up a limited edition of 2000 books, signed by Jennifer Kent, and the goal of the project is getting the pop-up book published for everyone everywhere. The money came in pretty fast (hey, we would have bought it, if we had the extra money, but we’re on a low budget too) – there are thirty or so days more to go and they have sold over 3.000 copies! They are still for sale.

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You can find all the details here,including the fact that this is not just the pop-up book we see in the feature film. Nope, there’s plenty more; this tale is actually a stand-alone story with a narrative, starring –who else–  Mr. Babadook The link above is the original crowd-funding page and even though they have reached their goal, you can still get a copy that is. again, signed by the director and writer of The Babadook, Jennifer Kent herself) The site contains loads of info, including a clip of the movie showing the book being read by the mother to her son.

 

Just remember, after you buy it and especially after you read it, you won’t be able to get rid of “Mister Babadook”!

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31 Horror Movies In 31 Days – Check Out What We Saw, Including Best and Worst! (Part One of Three)

This is going to have to be split up into three posts, since we already needed to take a month to watch the movies and don’t want to take another month writing this.

Even with the number of horror movies ole Mrs. Horror Boom sees being more in a month that the average movie-goer sees in a year, you’d think finding 31 I hadn’t seen yet would be a cinch, right? Wrong! Fortunately, there was a huge number of new releases for the month of October 2014. I actually saw more than 31, but some were so shitty I don’t even want to add them to the list. A couple of them literally put me to sleep, and there were a couple of others that were so bad I blew a mental fuse just sitting through and trying to tolerate the goddamned things, and either picked up my iPad for some task/game that required most of my attention, or just said the hell with it and turned it off, then re-watched something I knew was a sure thing and would not disappoint me (thus, the few re-watches on the list).

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However, let’s just start with the list. I could put them in the order I saw them, but then I would have to look at a detail of our Amazon Instant Video and the VOD cable bill, which I am too nervous to look at and see how fast the charges added up (I’ve seen enough scary movies, I don’t need scary real-life).  Let’s try alphabetical order. An asterisk means that the movie was a fairly new release, say available on VOD less than six weeks.

Oh, and if there is an R-Rated and an Unrated version available for a flick, assume I watched the Unrated (such as the very torture porn-y Carver.  Also if they ever tried to make an R-Rated version of The ABCs of Death 2,* it would probably cut the running time by a good 10 minutes, depending how much of a prude the ratings board members were for that project. For PG-13, there would be about 200 words that you cannot say in a PG-13 movie cut out, and some of the shorts (they usually average 3-4 minutes) would last maybe 30 seconds and you would not definitely know what the fuck was going on with most of them. So thank you, Magnet Releasing!

I also added links to the IMDB pages (or pieces Horror Boom did on the fright flick in question previously), and stuck in a few of the better trailers to keep things interesting. Turns out roughly a third of the horror movies on the list are found footage, and while at least a couple will end up on the “worst” list, there were some nice surprises (including the “mockumentary” The Gerber Syndrome).

The list, and links:

*The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)

(Here’s the gory Red Band trailer, NSFW–enjoy!)

Alyce Kills (2011)

American Mary (re-watch, 2012)

Any Minute Now (2013)

Antisocial (2013)

Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012)

 Black Death (re-watch, 2010)

Here’s the Black Death HD trailer (and yeah, it’s as grim and bleak as it looks)

*Cabin Fever – Patient Zero (2014)

*The Canal (2014)

Carver (2008)

Chasing The Devil (2014)

*Chemical Peel (2014)

Dark Mountain (2013)

*Dead Snow 2 – Red VS Dead (2014)

*Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Evil Things (2009)

*Found (completed in 2012, but not released on VOD till Fall 2014). Trailer is below, and it earned every blurb and award)

The Gerber Syndrome (2011)

*Horns (2013, but only released recently)

*Housebound (2014)

*The Houses October Built (2014)

Here’s a clip for you from the above movie (yep, more found footage).

*Inner Demons (2014)

The Monkey’s Paw (2013) (quit laughing! I was scraping the bottom of the barrel by this point, I believe Day 29.)

Open Grave (2013)

The Possession of Michael King (2014)

Here’s the trailer for the latter:

*See No Evil 2 (2014)

Sleepy Hollow (1999, re-watch…on Halloween, Day 31)

*The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014 – sale rental on Amazon, free on Netflix streaming)

*V/H/S Viral (2014)

Witching and Bitching (2013)

*Wrong Turn Six- The Last Resort (2014)

Up next? The ten worst films on the list; after that we’ll get to the ten best.

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* We will have a review of ABCs of Death 2 coming up where we name the top ten entries. This will actually take some work, because the shorts were so much better it’d be faster just to name the few stupid or lazy ones. In the first ABCs of Death, I couldn’t even get a list of the top ten together; after “X is for XXL”, “L is for Libido”, “T is For Toilet”, “Young Buck”, and “Dog Fight”,  picking five more would be a stretch.  A list of the ten worst for the same movie, however, would pretty much write itself. I was happy to discover after the sequel roared to a finish that I could barely list the five worst. But I digress…

Variety’s Rave Review For Kiwi Horror-Comedy ‘Housebound’: “Near Flawless” and “Marvelously Entertaining”

 

In a hilarious opening sequence, the dislodged head of a sledgehammer spectacularly curtails an ATM smash-and-grab robbery attempt by petty criminal Kylie Bucknell (O’Reilly) and an anonymous male accomplice. A snarling ball of venom with a lengthy rap sheet, twentysomething Kylie is spared prison by a lenient judge who says home detention and regular sessions with a psychologist, Dennis (Cameron Rhodes), will provide the stable environment she needs to turn her wayward life around.

With those words still lingering, audiences will chuckle when Kylie arrives at the creepy-looking house of her childhood to begin an eight-month stretch. The dwelling is home to her stepfather, Graeme (Ross Harper), an oddball who’s seen but rarely heard, and her mother, Miriam (Rima Te Wiata), an endearing chatterbox who believes the house is haunted. Kylie’s petulant behavior and eye-rolling mockery of Miriam’s claim establishes a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship that will eventually outgrow its comical roots and bring real heart to the story. The slow change starts when Kylie begins seeing things that make her believe “something” is indeed lurking in the basement and within the walls. Several spine-tingling incidents later, Kylie seeks help from Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), the security company guy hired to monitor her electronic ankle bracelet. Cleverly introduced as a fairly bland and functional character, Amos leaps wonderfully to life at the first mention of supernatural activity. Armed with old-school equipment, including a Polaroid camera and a microcassette recorder, this sweet-natured nerd with a passion for all things paranormal forms a splendidly eccentric detective partnership with the tough but mellowing Kylie.

-from the Variety review by Richard Kuipers

So apparently, Housebound (whose official site can be found here) played at SXSW this year and went over so well with the crowd (and critics) that it was not only picking up a buzz as ‘a comeback for New Zealand horror-comedy’, but the world sales rights were also acquired within weeks by Paris-based Films Distribution.  Right now Housebound–the feature debut of Gerard Johnstone– is still making the genre circuit, but don’t worry about having to wait years to see it; XLrator Media has acquired U.S. sales rights and plans a theatrical and day-and-date VOD release [Source: Variety.com].  That ‘day-and-date’ will be October 17th, when the film will be released on VOD, iTunes, and select theaters. Here’s the trailer:

Check out the complete review below (to read the entire Variety review, click on “View original” in the lower left. This one is definitely going on our must-watch list!

 

See the Spooky-Ass Short Film That Inspired Jennifer Kent’s Upcoming “The Babadook” – “Monster” (2005)

So,  as you may know, The Babadook, the debut feature from talented Aussie film-maker Jennifer Kent, is one of the most highly anticipated upcoming horror releases of the year. When it was screened at Sundance, audiences and critics alike knew they’d just seen something unique, special …and pretty goddamned frightening.

Monster, the short film that was basically the seed of The Babadook, won several awards –the full list is here— at short film festivals. We’ve heard that the tone and theme of Monster are very similar to the upcoming feature-length film, and though we haven’t seen Babadook, we have seen enough clips and trailers to be able to confirm that. It has a very spooky, gothic, fairy-tale tone (kind of in the same way the deeply frightening 2013 film Mama did, though we’re pretty sure–no offense, Mr. Babadook– Mama is the one that will forever haunt our nightmares), and to us, the visuals evoke early Tim Burton a little.

So if you’re as amped-up about Babadook as we are–it’s on our list of Ten Most Anticipated Horror Films for the last half of 2014*– turn out the lights, put on your headphones, and take a gander at Jennifer Ken’s “Monster” below. The only version on You Tube has Russian subtitles, but since there is very little dialogue, it shouldn’t distract you. If you MUST see it without subtitles, you can; here’s a link to the short film on Vimeo.

Monster was screened at over 40 festivals worldwide, including Telluride Film Festival, Montreal, Slamdance, SXSW, Aspen Shortsfest, Palm Springs, Karlovy Vary and Sydney Film Festival.  We have yet to see a bad review of it (or Babadook, for that matter). The short film was also included in the Kickstarter campaign;  of The Babadook’s modest budget, $30,071 was raised via Kickstarter. Most of the funds raised from Kickstarter were channelled toward the art department (source: IMDB).

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While we’re at it, here’s the latest, full-length trailer for The Babadook. It’s clear they’re keeping the atmosphere –and the scares– from the short you just saw.

The movie will have its UK debut in the upcoming Film4 FrightFest in London, and this is the official description:

REPULSION meets ‘The Gruffalo’ in writer/director Jennifer Kent’s Sundance acclaimed début feature as the unresolved traumas of a conflicted mother and disturbed son manifest as a malevolent entity threatening to consume them both. Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son, Sam (Daniel Henshall), have had a raw deal in life. Her husband Oskar died six years prior while driving her to the hospital pregnant with Sam, and his birthday is a particularly painful reminder. But now things worsen dramatically. Samuel’s been having nightmares, and when a mysterious pop-up children’s book appears on his shelf titled ‘Mister Babadook’, he is finally able to put a name to the terror.
No official US release date yet, though we hear vague rumors of Fall 2014. IFC Midnight will be releasing it, last we heard.
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*We split that article up into two parts; part 2 is still pending and Babadook will be on that upcoming half.

‘Patrick: Evil Awakens’ Gets Excellent Review From Variety.com – We’ll Be There!

March 18th on VOD? After reading this, we wish we could watch it TONIGHT. Mark Hartley’s “Not Quite Hollywood,” which I can’t recommend enough to any film fan, especially if you’re into old-school, low-budget exploitation films (unless you’re easily offended) reminded us about the original Patrick (1978) and showed the gore that was cut from most releases (unless I’m really missing something; the version that I saw when I was maybe 12 seemed pretty tame, and it’s not like I was some jaded 12-year old, even though I was into horror that early).  With buzz like this, we’d see “Patrick: Evil Awakens”  even if Mark Hartley wasn’t directing, but puts it on our VOD list of movies we start searching the menu for at 12:01 AM Monday (OK, technically Tuesday, but you get the idea) and get an adrenaline burst when we see it fresh on the menu for the first time.  Check out the attached Variety review by click on ‘View original’ down in the lower left).

Variety Review: ‘The Babadook’ (If It’s In A Word, Or In A Look…)

Yet, even before anyone cracks “Mr. Babadook’s” cover, “The Babadook” has the elaborately fabricated look of a giant pop-up movie, sporting the kind of intricately detailed and resolutely analog visual design one associates with the early films of Terry Gilliam or the recent ones of Wes Anderson. The characters inhabit a world that seems drained of color, with everything from clothes to walls to furniture painted in shades of gray and black, as if they, too, were in a perpetual state of mourning. That creates just the right feel of subjective reality for a movie about monsters that spring not from some far-flung demonic realm but rather from the darkness of our own subconscious. Indeed, Mr. Babadook’s closest predecessor in the canon of big screen boogeymen may be the murderous, “psychoplasmic” offspring of the mentally disturbed mother in Cronenberg’s “The Brood.” (Unsurprisingly, when the “monster” makes his first full-bodied appearance, it’s as a terrific piece of stop-motion animation.)


-From the attached Variety review by Scott Foundas (click on ‘View Original’)

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Ooooh we cannot freaking WAIT to see this; it’s on our “Most Anticipated Horror Of 2014” list, and was the second we saw the spellbinding trailer. We’ve seen the short, and are glad we chose not to watch it alone in the dark. Terry Gilliam fan? Fan of Tim Burton’s non-big budget movies? Check out the trailer immediately, don’t wait for us to post it (which we will, along with the original frightening B&W short The Babadook is based on, “Monster”)!

Venice Film Review: ‘Wolf Creek 2’

Another excerpt from Guy Lodge’s Variety review of Wolf Creek 2:

Production values are uniformly top-notch, reaping the benefits of what appears to be a considerably expanded budget: McLean can now afford 18-wheeler trucks barreling down hillsides in his chase sequences, and isn’t afraid to use them. Toby Oliver’s slick widescreen lensing delights in the warm coloring of Outback brushwood and human entrails alike, while Johnny Klimek’s sparsely thrumming score sits in stark contrast to music supervisor Gary Seeger’s gleefully cheesy soundtrack choices: Even the first “Wolf Creek” wouldn’t have dared unite killer and victim in an impromptu sing along of Rolf Harris’s “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.”

Read the Venice Film Festival review and find out what Mick’s motivation for all the rape, torture, and killing is–not what you’d think. Good to know, huh? Not big on torture-porn or dead wallabies at the moment, so we’re still on the fence about this one.

Review: 100 Bloody Acres is a blood soaked blast

THEY FIND YA… THEY GRIND YA! “A Blood soaked blast”! With that tagline, that review headline, and the title 100 Bloody Acres– we are SOLD! We wish we could offer opinions on the horror-comedy (or, hey, we dunno, our own review) but since we haven’t been able to find the flick to watch it(all our research showed it was available on VOD/iTunes, but no dice as of this writing), here’s a great review by Ryan from Rhino’s Horror. Check out the attached trailer, and for once, go ahead and click on the ‘pop-ups’ (the ones you probably usually disable automatically when you watch anything on You Tube) that flash up during the trailer and say to check out their ‘products’ for some fun viral marketing.

Written and directed by Cameron and Colin Cairnes, 100 Bloody Acres is a blood splattered blast that seamlessly blends comedy into the horror genre. This marks their first feature film together and it follows two brothers, Reg and Lindsay Morgan, who are struggling to keep their organic blood and bone fertilizer business in motion. Their secret “recipe” for success was a huge boom to business, but lately supply has been gravely low. When Reg stumbles upon 3 travelers stranded on the side of the road, he comes up with a ridiculous solution to their problem, and a way of finally gaining the respect of his big brother.

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Watch: Official Trailer For Tasty New Zealand Horror Comedy FRESH MEAT! (HD)

Click the big red link below for the HD trailer for the Kiwi cannibal/comedy/horror flick Fresh Meat, which recently screened at Tribeca.

Official Trailer For A Tasty Horror Comedy, FRESH MEAT!

 

aaaaand, since Fresh Meat now has plenty of reviews from the Tribeca Film Festival, here’s Dread Central’s review (2.5 out of 5.0) if you’d like to check it out! Here’s another (“Fresh Meat is a Silly, Tasty Treat”) from Indiewire.com (they gave it a B).

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Wheeeeee!

Sick Horror Short “T is for Talk” Packs a HELL of a Wallop (From “The ABCs of Death” Contest)!

The stand-outs so far (according to several sources) were Xavier Gens (who made the brutal Frontier/s  and The Divide;  his name always gets dropped, and rightly so, when people mention ‘New French Extremist Horror’) and his segment called “X to XXL”, where a woman, “takes the ultimate action to reduce her body size”.

“T is for Talk” (2011), directed and co-written by Peter Haynes, was a top vote-getter in the “26th Director” ABCs of Death  contest. Of course, that was back when the voting window for the contest was still open, which I managed to totally miss, thus this series to share the best other shorts with a wider audience. I’m pretty sure you’ll see why; it packs a hell of a wallop into four minutes.  This is definitely one of the most intense entries, and isn’t something you should watch if you’re NOT in the mood for something dark, nasty…and very original. Oh, and if you have a pounding headache, I recommend waiting until your head’s back to normal (you’ll see why pretty fast).  Check out the very NSFW, intense “T is for Talk”, from New Zealand, below!

Damn!   A prequel to that short could be interesting in the right hands. Anyway, that’s eighteen down, seven to go (I think. I’ll do the math later). You can go back and read the first three posts, each with five picks either embedded or linked–some were only on Vimeo or the official voting contest page via the ‘related’ links below, or you can watch the first five entries (plus the introduction) here, the second batch of entries here, and the third bunch of five entries—which has one of the sickest entries in the series– here. I also went and posted a link (I couldn’t embed it) to one that I meant to post, but missed, a couple of weeks ago back in September, which you can check out here. Enjoy, and expect the last eight entries by the time of the full-length movie’s release, which should give me plenty of time since the release date got bumped way the fuck back to January 31st for VOD, and motherfucking March for a limited theatrical run (sigh). I read three reviews from sources I trust, and they said it was kind of a mixed bag; some were more toilet humor/gross-out* than scary or gory (or worth four minutes of your time).

Anyway, now that reviews are coming in, the reviewers said there were some great segments that made The ABCs of Death  worth sitting through. The stand-outs so far (according to several sources) were Xavier Gens (who made the brutal Frontier/s  and The Divide;  his name always gets dropped, and rightly so, when people mention ‘New French Extremist Horror’) and his segment called “X to XXL”, where a woman, “takes the ultimate action to reduce her body size”. My guess it she does a little whittling down at home, taking matters into her own hands by using a sharp blade.**  Another standout is supposed to be “L is for Libido,” dealing with (I am not making this up) a psychotic masturbation contest (worse than a biscuit party, I assume) –gee, how could THAT go horribly wrong in an unrated horror movie?–that ‘ends with sick and deadly results.’  I’m not proud of admitting this, but …SOLD!

Right now, I really  want to see what Banjong Pisathanakun (half the team from Shutter  and  Alone ) does with his four minutes …and with what letter of the alphabet and title. N is for Natre? S is for Siamese Twin

Well, that’s seventeen down and eight to go! More to come, definitely before the holidays (and probably sooner).

NO REPEATING

*I wonder if any of them had to (or needed to for the purpose of rating them, no-one held a gun to my head making me watch all of them, it was just too late in my project to back-pedal by then) sit through “T is for Testosterone Replacement Therapy”, “T is for Tentacle Rape“, or “T is for Tampon”? Those weren’t anywhere near scary, they didn’t have a plot, two out of the three were so misogynistic I felt like punching whoever was responsible for them in the teeth, and they didn’t even try to be entertaining –on any level. I got the feeling they only made the films because they had some serious issues and/or really filthy sexual fetishes to work through. Through the years, I’ve picked up on the fact that self-indulgence usually doesn’t make for an end product entertaining for anyone but the artist. Consider yourself warned if you’re somehow still compelled to watch them …especially if you’re eating at the time.

**For a while now, I actually have been fleshing out (no pun intended, I should get of my tired ass and take a stab  at grabbing the thesaurus before half my comments sound like The Cryptkeeper introducing a story, boils and ghouls ) an outline for a short horror story, where a woman with some serious issues hates her body  –and doesn’t have the money to go pay for lipo or another medical procedure. At the end, she really goes over the edge and tries the do-it-yourself approach with craving knives and maybe a vacuüm cleaner or other suction device. The scariest part? I’m afraid if I Googled or otherwise researched this, there will turn out to be not one but a ton of cases of people who already tried to do it. Self-surgery, not writing a short story about it, I mean. There’s no way that’s going to end well…