Friday, January 31, 2014

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends the 1st Annual Day of the Scream Queens at Dark Delicacies-January 19, 2014

Once again I traveled back down so sunny Southern California to attend another amazing event (I seriously need to think about moving down there). On Sunday, my friend Mo Whelan and I attended the First Annual Day of the Scream Queens event, which was held at the ultra cool Dark Delicacies bookstore over in Burbank. Over a dozen of legendary and modern scream queens were there signing autographs and taking pictures, and yours truly was there in the thick of it all!

The man responsible for making all this happen is David DeCoteau, who's directed some of the best horror, B-movies, and cult classics of all time such as NIGHTMARE SISTERS, SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA, 1313: COUGAR CULT, PUPPETMASTER III: TOULON'S REVENGE, CREEPOZOIDS, MURDER WEAPON, IMMORTAL KISS: QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, and DR. ALIEN. DeCoteau has worked with several with these actresses, many have appeared in more than one of his films.

Those actresses in attendance for this extraordinary event were as follows: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Lynn Lowry, Donna Wilkes, Deanna Lund, Darcy DeMoss, Kristine DeBell, Eileen Dietz, Laurene Landon, Helene Udy, Jessica Morris, Lisa London, Trina Parks, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, and Jean Louise O'Sullivan.

Also attending the event were many celebrities within the genre such as Charles Band from Full Moon Features, director Ted Newsom, screenwriter Kenneth J. Hall, and FRIDAY THE 13th music composer Harry Manfredini.

Outside the Dark Delicacies bookstore.
Window signs advertising the event.
Check out their amazing DVD selection!
Michelle Bauer, myself, Brinke Stevens, & Linnea Quigley.
Myself with Full Moon Features founder Charles Band.
Jason Voorhees, Darcy DeMoss, and myself.
FRIDAY THE 13th composer Harry Manfredini and myself.
Jean Louise O'Sullivan, myself, and Jessica Morris.
Dark Delicacies owner Del Howison and my friend Mo Whelan.
Myself and the one and only David DeCoteau.
"Now everybody SCREAM!!"
Overall the whole event was a massive success! I would like to congratulate David DeCoteau on making this all happen! And big thanks to Del Howison and everybody over at Dark Delicacies! And last, but not least, my good friend Mo Whelan for allowing me to stay at her place that weekend! I had a blast and I cannot wait to come back down to Hollywood! After all, this is the place where dreams come true!

To learn more about David DeCoteau and his films, please visit his company Rapid Heart Pictures's official website at www.rapidheart.com. To learn more upcoming events at Dark Delicacies, business hours, and product, visit their website at www.darkdel.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil sees I, FRANKENSTEIN at the TCL Chinese Theatre- January 18, 2014

You'd think by now I'd have already moved to Hollywood because I'm down here so much! Well I'm back here again to attend another excellent movie event, but first I thought it would be fun to check out a movie! So, along with my good friend and filmmaker Mo Whelan, we decided to go see the new action/horror/fantasy film I, FRANKENSTEIN at the legendary TCL Chinese Theater in IMAX 3D on Hollywood Blvd!

The film's official synopsis: 200 years after his shocking creation, Dr. Frankenstein's creature, Adam (Aaron Eckhart), still walks the earth. Making his way to a dark, gothic metropolis, he finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans that could destroy humankind and to which he holds the key.

Based on his Darkstorm Studios graphic novel of the same name, creator and screenwriter Kevin Grevioux sold his script to Lakeshore Entertainment way back in 2010. The company  (mostly famous for producing the UNDERWORLD series) hired filmmaker Stuart Beattie (TOMORROW, WHEN THE WAR BEGAN) to bring the film to the big screen. Beattie is more well known for his screenplays, writing for the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN series, G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, AUSTRALIA, and 30 DAYS OF NIGHT.

In my humble opinion, Beattie should stick to writing screenplays.

Yeah, this film was a complete waste of my time. The best way to describe it is like this: Mary Shelly meets UNDERWORLD. And that's exactly what we get. But, did we really want this?

Sure, Aaron Eckhart is a fantastic actor, and he's demonstrated this in films like THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, THE DARK KNIGHT, RABBIT HOLE, and THE RUM DIARY. But this film reminds me of his less than stellar projects like BATTLE LOS ANGELES, OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, and NO RESERVATIONS. Eckhart is a talented actor and I just wish he made another film instead of this turd.

So the story was unoriginal (a classic horror character is thrown into the future. Gee, how many times have we seen that?), acting was mediocre, directing seemed all over the place, the characters were about as deep as a paper cup, and relied on too much CGI. Oh, did I mention it also sucked?

Now I must say it was very cool to see it on the IMAX 3D screen at the Chinese Theatre. However, I wish the theatre screened a GOOD IMAX 3D movie!

Overall I, FRANKENSTEIN did absolutely nothing for me expect wasting an hour and a half of life, that I will never get back. If you want to piss away your hard earned cash to see it, then please, be my guest. But I would save it and see something more entertaining. Or just wait till it comes out on Redbox. Or just skip it all together. and just read the graphic novel. It's probably better than the movie. 2 out of 5 stars! Total dud!


I, FRANKENSTEIN is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including theTCL Chinese Theatre here in Hollywood. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.tclchinesetheatres.com. For those in the Bay Area, visit the Camera Cinema's website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Phil remembers Mike Vraney, Founder of Something Weird Video-January 30, 2014

On January 2, 2014, while I was attending The Hollywood Show, I read a very shocking headline. Mike Vraney, the founder of Seattle's Something Weird Video, the home to the very best in exploitation cinema, had passed away at the age of 56 due to his long battle with lung cancer. To fans like myself, this was such a heavy blow to take. Fans of exploitation love SWS and Mike's passion to unearth these "sinematic" treasures for all of humanity to enjoy.

I was just completely shocked by this news. Still am actually. I owe an enormous debt to Mike and his company for exposing me to these great films for these past two decades. Nothing I can say can express just how terrible I feel about this. However, his wife, artist Lisa Petrucci, released the following statement on the day of Mike's passing. It is repeated here in its entirely:

In Memorium
MIKE VRANEY
Founder of Something Weird
December 29, 1957 to January 2, 2014

We regret to tell you that Something Weird’s founder, Mike Vraney, passed away on January 2, 2014 after a long heroic battle with lung cancer. He was 56 years old, way too young to leave this planet. There was still so much Mike wanted to do in his life, so many films to be found, and adventures to be embarked upon.

This sad news may come as a shock to most of you. Mike was a very private person and didn’t want anyone, except his closest friends, family and colleagues, to know about his illness. He went through aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments for over a year, but sadly the cancer spread and cruelly took him from us.

Mike had a larger-than-life personality and a genuine enthusiasm for movies. Something Weird was his heart and soul, he was obsessive in his pursuit of tracking down the weirdest, wildest movies out there. And it wasn’t enough to find a few forgotten films, he was always in search of the movie motherload. (Making 370 two-hour volumes of Nudie Cuties loops is a good example of this. Who does that?! Mike Vraney!) Even as a child, Mike loved movies. During his teenage years, he worked at the Bel-Kirk Drive-In, and then later as a projectionist at the Green Parrot and Apple Theaters in Seattle. Then around 1990, Mike went in search of as many old, unusual, obscure, and lost low budget exploitation movies as he could, and preserved them for prosperity. Mike amassed thousands of these rare movies and had them transferred to video so that people could relive the good old days of going to the drive-in or grindhouse theater, in their very own home. We have him to thank for introducing fandom to the wonderful world of sexploitation sinema, rescuing it from the dark recesses of forgotten film vaults and defunct movie theatres.

Some of you may know that prior to Something Weird, Mike was involved in the early Seattle punk rock music scene. He was a partner in Modern Productions, the group who started Seattle’s seminal rock venue, The Showbox, in 1979. Mike then went on to manage such well-known bands as The Dead Kennedys, TSOL, and Seattle’s own The Accused. Mike always seemed to be at the forefront of whatever was happening and cool.

Mike’s second greatest passion in life was collecting old comics, vintage toys, movie memorabilia, and pop cultural ephemera. He enjoyed going to the swap meet and always had a magical ability for finding great stuff. But when he wasn’t working, collecting, or telling great stories, Mike spent quality time with his beloved family. Mike adored his wife and business partner, Lisa, and two (now young adult) children, Mark and Danielle. These three were the center of his universe, and his reason for getting up each and every morning.

The folks at Something Weird fully intend to honor Mike’s incredible legacy. Mike may be gone, but his remarkable achievements will live on. One of the happiest days of Mike’s life was when legendary David F. Friedman and Dan Sonney called him “the forty-first thief,” which to him was the ultimate compliment and recognition for his work. We’d like to think that Mike’s now hanging out with his old pals Dave and Dan, reminiscing and talking shop with Dwain Esper, Kroger Babb, Barry Mahon, Joe Sarno, Doris Wishman, Bob Cresse, Dale Berry, Michael Findlay and all the other exploiteers and smut peddlers who’ve gone to the great grindhouse in the sky.

We will miss Mike with all our hearts. Goodbye dear friend, husband, father, and fearless leader…
– Lisa Petrucci, Tim Lewis, Kendall Bechtel, Mark Vraney, Danielle Vraney of Something Weird Video

Fans of Mike and of Something Weird Video are encouraged to visit the official Mike Vraney Memorial Tribute page on Facebook as well as to help make a donation to the Lung Cancer Alliance on his behalf. To Lisa Petrucci, Mark and Danielle Vraney, Kendall Bechtel, the Something Weird Video staff, and to the rest of his family and friends my deepest sympathies.


If your a hardcore fan of horror, exploitation, sexploitation, underground films, cult classics, nudie cuties, roadshow flims, burlesque features, loops, crazy cartoons, etc, please visit the Something Weird Video website at www.somethingweird.com.

Thanks for reading, and rest in peace Mike!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Phil Goes Hollywood: Phil attends The Hollywood Show at the Loews Hollywood Hotel-January 3-5, 2014

Greetings from Hollywood!! Yup, I'm back in Tinseltown to attend an entirely different film event! It's called THE HOLLYWOOD SHOW and it is "the best known autograph show in the Hollywood area. It is held four times a year at The Westin LAX, with actors, writers, performers, collectors and celebrities coming together to meet fans and autograph pictures and merchandise."

I attended its first show of the year, which was held at the beautiful Loews Hollywood Hotel, which is located in the Hollywood & Highland Center, smacked dabbed in the middle of Hollywood! Just in case you didn't noticed, I was knee deep in Hollywood!

The convention itself was incredible! In the main room, there were excellent merchandise from all over Hollywood's past: posters, lobby cards, 8x10 glossies, rare collectibles, and so forth. Plus it was where the all the famous celebrities were. I got to meet the cast of THE KARATE KID and the cast of PORKY'S, Clint Howard, Joey Lauren Adams from CHASING AMY and DAZED AND CONFUSED, Tim Conway, Playmate of the Year Sara Underwood, John Schneider from The Dukes of Hazard, Ed Asner & Gavin Macleod from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins from THE PIRATE MOVIE, video vixen Bobbie Brown from Warrant's "Chery Pie" video (check out her new book Dirty Rocker Boys), just to name a few!

But the main reason I wanted to attend this show was that for the first time the producers were holding a Legends of Erotica section. Here they gathered some of the most famous actors and actresses from the golden age of adult cinema! Here I got to meet Kay Parker, Amber Lynn, Nina Hartley, Seka, Richard Pacheco, Veronica Hart, my old friend Ginger Lynn, and of course Ron Jeremy! I also got to meet two of the biggest icons in the adult industry: Jenna Jameson and Tera Patrick!!

Also appearing the Legends room was Robert "Cropsy" Rhine, editor and founder of the excellent magazine Girls and Corpses! I also had the pleasure of meeting up and coming author Wendy Richards, whose debut book Swing N2 My World is a real joy to read!
The Loews Hollywood Hotel.
The amazing view from my hotel room.
The Hollywood & Highland Center.
The Hollywood Show opens the doors to the public.
Legendary actor Ed Asner from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Pixar film UP!
Me and Joey Lauren Adams from DAZED AND CONFUSED and Kevin Smith's films MALLRATS and CHASING AMY. She's also appeared in BIG DADDY, THE BREAK-UP, and SHE LOVES ME NOT.
Myself and Clint Howard, who's appeared in films like EAT MY DUST, GRAND THEFT AUTO, ROCK'N'ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, TICKS, THE ICE CREAM MAN, and Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN remake. And in case you were wondering, yes he is the younger brother of Ron Howard.
The sexy Bobbie Brown and I. She is best remembered for being in Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video. She just released her first book "Dirty Rocker Boys" and is on the reality show Ex Wives of Rock.
Me and the amazing Wendy Richards, who's first book Swing N2 My World is out now. Go Check it out!
Me and the incredible Veronica Hart. She's appeared in such adult classics like AMANDA BY NIGHT, WANDA WHIPS WALL STREET, and ROOMMATES. She's also a multiple AVN award winning director as well.
It doesn't get any classier than Nina Hartley. She's a legend in the adult film world. She's appeared in numerous adult films like EDUCATING NINA, TABOO IV:THE OBSESSION, and DOLL FACE as well as mainstream films like BOOGIE NIGHTS. She's also an AVN Hall of Famer, a sex educator, feminist, and author. And she's also drop dead sexy!
While at the event I ran into another adult legend who was just an attendee. Eric Edwards was the first man to do scenes with the lovely Linda Lovelace. He went on to star in such classics as THE PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN, JOY, BABYLON PINK, and DEBBIE DOES DALLAS. He is also in the AVN Hall of Fame.
Me and Ron Jeremy. 'Nuff said.
Me with the statuesque Tera Patrick. Her adult credits include CROSSROADS, FORBIDDEN TALES, ISLAND FEVER 2, and COLLISION COURSE. She has also written a biography entitled Sinner Takes All.
Me and the sexy Alana Evans. Her adult film credits include CONFESSIONS OF A CALL GIRL, RAVISHED, THE HOUSE SITTER, and the recent porn parodies like the NOT THE BRADYS XXX series and ET XXX. Along with doing adult films, she is an avid gamer and has a cool website called pwnedbygirls.com.
Me with my good friend Ginger Lynn. I had the privilage of meeting her at last years' Monsterpalooza. Her adult credits include classics like TRASHY LADY, NEW WAVE HOOKERS, TABOO IV: THE YOUNGER GENERATION, GINGER ON THE ROCKS, and her late 90's films TORN, WHITE LIGHTENING, NEW WAVE HOOKERS 6, and SUNSET STRIPPED. She's also appeared in mainstream films like VICE ACADEMY 1-3, YOUNG GUNS 2, EVIL BREED, and Rob Zombie's THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. She is also about to launch her new radio show so keep your ears out for that soon!
Here I am with another adult legend Kelly Nichols. Her films include ROOMMATES, CORRUPTION, NASTY GIRLS, SLIP INTO SILK, and my personal favorite GREAT SEXPECTATIONS. These days she is now a sought after make-up artist.
Amber Lynn is long, tall, and sexy! Find her in these adult classics: TALK DIRTY TO ME III, THE GIRL WITH THE HUNGRY EYES, A TASTE OF PINK, THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES 3: A NEW BEGINNING, and TABOO V. She also has her own radio show called Rock 'N' Sexxxy Uncencored! Make sure you tune in to her show!
Ginger Lynn embracing her old friend Kay Parker, the original MILF in the adult industry. She's stared in adult features like TABOO 1-3, THE DANCERS, SEX WORLD, and HOT BLOODED. She is currently a Metaphysical Counselor and Lecturer.
Kitten Natividad won the Miss Nude Universe twice in a row in 1970 and 1971. She went on to appear in Russ Myer's films UP! and BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA VIXENS. She appeared in dozens of adult films and had bit parts in mainstream films like the AIRPLANE films and low budget films like THE DOUBLE-D AVENGER and SUGAR BOXX.
Out in front of the H&H Center on Hollywood Blvd was a rock duo called Love Like Suicide, which BTW is an awesome band name! These ladies were simply amazing and had a huge crowd watching them. I was so impressed with them, I bought their CD and I've been listening to it ever since!
The Hollywood & Highland Center at night.
And folks, there you have it! My very first Hollywood trip of 2014! And what a way to kick off the New Year!! I'm planning to attend many more Hollywood adventures this year and I can't wait to share them all with you! In the meantime if you'd like to attend the next Hollywood Show, you're in luck! The next one will be held on April 13-15, 2014 at The Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. If you'd like to know more about the show, which celebrities are attending, and to book your room, visit their official website at www.hollywoodshow.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Phil sees THE WOLF OF WALL STREET at the Camera 7 Pruneyard-January 1, 2014

Happy New Years everybody!! While the majority of the world was hungover, I stepped out to the Camera 7 in the Pruneyard Shopping Center over in Campbell to see the newest film from the American auteur director Martin Scorsese. Now Mr. Scorsese has directed some of the greatest films of the last part of the 20th Century: MEAN STREETS, TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, THE LAST WALTZ, THE COLOR OF MONEY, GOODFELLAS, and CASINO. In this millennium, he continued his amazing streak with GANGS OF NEW YORK, THE DEPARTED (the film that finally won him his first Oscar), SHUTTER ISLAND, and the amazing and wonderful family film HUGO. Now he returns to the silver screen with many have said to be his best film ever. And THE WOLF OF WALL STREET truly lives up to all the hype and the acclaim!

The film's synopsis: Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world; from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

First off, all I can say is WOW!! This was one funny, insane, crazy, sexy, provocative, dramatic films that I have ever seen!! But then again, this is a Scorsese film, so what did I expect? You know you're gonna see something different and unique. But this...this is an entirely different beast!

Now as you know, the movie is based on the real life exploits of Belfort, and the movie captures all of the good, the bad, and the ugly as well at the wild, the crazy, and the overindulgence! It's a miracle that this man not only survived it all, but that he remembers it all!! I mean all the events that we see in the film took place in the 80's and early 90's. That was more than twenty years ago people! I barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning!! I mean, keep this in mind when you're watching this film: this man can handle a lot of drugs!!

Bringing Belfort to life is none other then Leonardo DiCaprio, who once again shows us just how insanely talented he is. And let's face it; than man was outstanding in the movie! He just turn it on and he cracks it all the way up to 11. And he has to because to portray Belfort, he had to really go for it. Leaving the comfort zone way behind, DiCaprio depicts him as an egotistical, greedy, misogynistic, drug addict that you love to hate. But here's the catch: you don't really hate him! Rather, you are in awe of this crazy man! Look at him and one sees the American dream come to life. In real life Belfort went from having nothing to having everything then having nothing again. It's almost like a Greek tragedy, expect nobody dies and he gets to have lots of money and power, do massive amounts of cocaine and Quaaludes, live in a humongous mansion, have an hot trophy wife (Margot Robbie as his wife Naomi Lapaglia), and have control over Wall Street!

Oh, and i just want to say that I would do anything if I could have Margot Robbie as my wife! Good lawd she is so damn hot and sexy and gorgeous and sexy and sassy and sexy and beautiful sexy in the film! Did I mention she was sexy? Ok good, I was trying to make a point there.

Also, just a friendly FYI, if you are offended of the word "Fuck" then this isn't the movie for you. In fact, I recently read somewhere that the movie has the word "Fuck" more times than any other movie in film history! It has more cursing in its three hours running time than the entire series of The Sopranos!! Seriously, that is a lot of swearing!!

Now the film has received its fair share of backlash, mostly from critics and select groups that say it's very misogynistic towards women and showcases them as just sex objects and glorifies drug use. OK, let me just state the obvious: THE FILM IS TOLD FROM JORDON BELFORT'S POINT OF VIEW! THIS WAS HIS LIFE AND THIS IS WHAT HE DID AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED!! Period! Now if it was based on a story that was a collabration with those who were there, then this would be an entirely different movie. But alas, it is not. So therefore, it is all based on Belfort's experiences and his alone. This is how he lived. This is what happened. And this is how it's shown here.

Overall THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is an all-out, balls-to-the-wall, funny, sexy, and entertaining movie!! And it's one my picks for Best Film at the Oscars!! Martin Scorsese knows how to make movies and you should go out and see this right now!! I'm planning on see this film again! But first I need to pop a few Quaaludes and snort a couple of lines of Coke! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Camera Cinemas here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at www.cameracinemas.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Phil's Top Ten Horror Films of 2013- January 1, 2014

Since I am a horror fanatic, I decided that I would also give you, my fellow horror hounds, my list of my favorite horror films that I saw last year. Now this was really a daunting task, due to the fact that there were some truly incredible and remarkable films that I saw both in theaters and on DVD/Blu-Ray. So boils and ghouls, here are my Top Ten Horror Films of 2013!

1) THE CONJURING: Based on true events, the film's about married couple and paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson from THE WATCHMEN and INSIDIOUS) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga from ORPHAN and SOURCE CODE), who must help a family in Harrisville, Rhode Island from being haunted by a demonic spirit. Director James Wan (SAW, DEAD SILENCE) employs some of the old traits of filmmaking that were used back in the 1970's the make the film look and feel like it was made in that decade. With it's smart script and outstanding acting, THE CONJURING is, without a doubt, THE best horror film of 2013!! If you're sick and tired with the recent bombardments of crappy remakes, re-imagines, and reboots, then you're gonna love this film!

2) INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2: Another James Wan film! The haunted family Lambert have moved into the home of dad Josh's (Patrick Wilson) mother Lorraine Lambert (Barbara Hershey), after he plunged into the eerie netherworld The Further to pluck back his son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) from the clutches of the infernal Mother Crane. But wife Renai (Rose Byrne) believes that her husband did come back and thinks something else has possessed Josh. Wan has done his homework, lifting the good ol' thrills and chills from classic horror films from the past. The movie continues to showcase his ability to really creep the audience out with simple things such as eerie sounds, long pauses of silence, and scares that will get under your skin.

3) MAMA: Sisters Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lilly (Isabelle Nélisse), abandoned in the woods after losing both parents in tragic circumstances, are found after 5 years in horrible conditions, but when their uncle Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and aunt Annabel (Jessica Chastain), helped by a shady psychiatrist, take them in, the frightening truth comes out. This is one of those rare horror films that feature character development all throughout the film. Jessica Chastain performance is fantastic, and both Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse turn in outstanding performances as well. With Guillermo del Toro as executive producer, director Andy Muschietti does a tremendous job with creating some genuine chills, scares, and screams.

4) AMERICAN MARY: Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle) is a medical student, who dreams of becoming a surgeon once she's done with school. However things are not going well, but her life gets turned upside down when she gets sucked into the underground world of surgeries that she dubs "Body Modifications," which proves to be very lucrative trade for the former starving med student. The film shows off the maturity of Jen and Sylvia Soska (aka the Twisted Twins) which is far and away a major step forward in their evolution as writers and directors. Isabelle's acting is simply captivating! Overall the film ranks as one of the best modern horror films of the past 20 years and a fine example of independent filmmaking!

5) YOU'RE NEXT: The Davison family heads out to a beautiful remote home near the woods for a wedding anniversary/family reunion. But when they come under attack by a vicious gang of masked killers, it's up to an unlikely family guest to take them all down. Originally filmed in 2011, it toured on the festival circuit and received numerous praises until it was finally picked up for distribution by Lionsgate. The film is basically a slasher film disguised as a crime thriller. But let me just state that, in my humble opinion, the movie doesn't try to be scary at all. Rather, it's very reminiscent of the old 80's slasher films I used to love to watch. Overall it's a fun, cool, gory, and entertaining flick!

6) EVIL DEAD: Producers Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Tapert revisit their horror roots by remaking their original EVIL DEAD. This time they turn the directing reigns over to newcomer Fede Alvarez as he just paints the silver screen blood red! Young Mia (Jane Levy), is a recovering drug addict who, along with her brother and friends, heads to the old remote family cabin in the woods. While there the kids discover the Book of the Dead in the basement, read some of the passages, and summon the dormant demons that live in the woods. One by one the kids are picked off until there's only Mia left to fight off the evil dead spirits. The film is a fun-filled gorefest ride of death that will please fans of the original.

7) HATCHET III: Victor Crowley returns one last time in this, the final installment of the series! Creator and director Adam Green turns the directing duties over to BJ McDonnell, who was his cinematographer for the first two films. Danielle Harris reprises her role as Marybeth Dunston, who must travel back to the Honey Island Swamp with an armed SWAT team to take down Victor Crowley (once again portrayed by the icon Kane Hodder). The action comes fast and so does the bloodshed! The climatic ending is one that fans of the series will go crazy over! Harris once again turns in a excellent performance, and to see Kane Hodder take on Derek Mears, the new Jason Voorhees from the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake, you've got yourself one awesome horror movie!

8) ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE: Originally this fright flick was filmed in 2006 and it premiered at several film festivals shortly thereafter. The movie was going to be released in 2007 by the Weistein Company, but because of the failure of GRINDHOUSE at the boxoffice, they sold the film to Senator Entertainment US. However, that company went out of business and the film was stuck in limbo. Thanks to the blockbuster success of director Jonathan Levin's recent film WARM BODIES, the film was finally released to theaters. The entire cast turns in a fantastic, but it's Amber Heard who really shins in the film, who was only 20 years old at the time! She's gone on to act in films like THE RUM DIARY, DRIVE ANGRY and THE WARD.

9) THE LORDS OF SALEM: Rob Zombie goes witchcraft. After taking Michael Myers as far as he could go in his HALLOWEEN remake series, Zombie switches gears in this eerie, surreal and disturbing film. Sheri Moon Zombie portrays Heidi Hawthorne, a local radio station DJ who receives mysterious wooden box containing a vinyl record. She plays it and then experiences a flashback to a past trauma. Then things really start getting weird! Sheri really goes for it as Heidi, and Zombie changes his style of directing and goes for a more dramatic, art house look and feel. But remember, this is a Rob Zombie film so expect the unexpected. A really underrated horror gem of a flick.

10) THE BLACK DAHLIA HAUNTING: I had the privileged of seeing the film last year at Miss Misery's Days of Terror Convention. With the release of the film on the home market, I was so excited to watch it again and again. The film's about a young woman named Holly Jenson (Devanny Pinn) who's investigating the murder of her father by her blind younger brother Tyler (Noah Dahl). During her investigation, she accidentally awakens the spirit of Elizabeth Short (Alexis Iacono), better known as the infamous Black Dahlia. Soon Tyler's physician Dr. Brian Owen (Britt Griffith) begins to suspect something different about Holly, which triggers a deadly secret from his past. Written and directed by Brandon Slagle, the movie is a great indie horror gem that all of you should definitely see!

And that, my fellow children of the night, is a wrap! I sincerely hope you enjoyed my Top Ten Horror Film list and I really hope this encourages you all to check out these incredible fright flicks! Remember, if you get scared from watching these cinematic nightmares, keep repeating yourself: It's only a movie...only a movie...only a movie...only a movie....BOO!!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Phil's Top Ten Films of 2013-Jan. 1, 2014

Hello again everybody and Happy New Year! Now I saw a lot films last year, at least over 130 of them!! Now that is a lot of movies to see in one year! Now I couldn't see every single film that was released (some that just came out I'll be reviewing later on), but over 130 movies is still pretty damn impressive! But remember, I am a professional and it's my job to see these films for you. So without further adieu, here are my Top Ten Films of 2013!

1) DALLAS BUYERS CLUB: Based on the incredible true story of real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, an ordinary man who was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live and went on to fight with the medical establishment, big pharmaceutical companies, and the U.S. government. Here, Matthew McConaughey gives his best performance ever! His portrayal of Woodroof is sensitive, sincere, funny, and touching. Jared Leto's portyal of a transgender woman Rayon is mesmorizing; he adds a lot of fun, flare, and is the perfect antithesis to Woodroof's redneck ways. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, his is without a doubt THE BEST FILM of 2013! If you don't agree, then you should see it again!

2): BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR: Based on the 2010 French graphic novel Le Bleu est une couleur chaude by Julie Maroh, the film was directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and stars Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos), a 15-year-old girl who falls for Emma (Lea Seydoux), a mysterious, blue-haired art student. The film has that look and energy of the French New Wave movement from the 1960s: filmed mostly hand held, shot on real locations, and portraying love and life as a celebration. Despite all the controversy its received (namely the explicit and explosive lesbian love scene ever captured), the film is the most beautiful, breathtaking, poetic film about love that I have ever seen in my entire life!

3) INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: Written, directed and edited by Joel and Ethan Coen, the film was inspired by folksinger Dave Van Ronk's autobiography entitled The Mayor of MacDougal Street. The film stars Oscar Isaac, who gives one of his best performances ever in front of the camera with portrayal of the struggling folksinger Llewyn Davis. With Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and John Goodman also making appearances in the film, and featuring an outstanding soundtrack by producer T Bone Burnett, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is one of the greatest films the Coen brothers have ever made! From the first frame to the last, you will never find a more perfect film to watch than this cinematic treasure!

4) MAN OF STEEL: Directed by Zack Snyder (300, THE WATCHMEN, DAWN OF THE DEAD) and produced by Christopher Nolan (director of the DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY), this reboot of the Superman franchise stars Henry Cavill in the title role. Cavill portrays both Clark Kent and Superman with such convection, strength, and vulnerability. Truly this man was born to wear the suit. He brings a new dimension to this iconic superhero. Also boasting an A-list cast of actors including Amy Adams, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Shannon, and you have an excellent film, full of superhero action, romance, some humor, alien invasion, and one heluva super battle finale!!

5)  WEST OF MEMPHIS: In 1993, the bodies of Christopher Byers, Steven Branch, and Michael Moore were found viciously beaten and murdered in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Less than a year later, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin were convicted of the crime, even though the prosecution's evidence was feeble and speculative at best. Almost 18 years later, the three wrongfully convicted men still claim their innocence and fight to overturn the injustices that have destroyed the larger part of their lives. Directed by Amy J. Berg and produced by none other than Peter Jackson, this documentary is a powerful, riveting, and unflinching examination of our flawed justice system.

6) AMERICAN HUSTLE: Writer and director David O. Russell (along with co-writer Eric Singer) once again knocks it out of the park with this film that is absolutely amazing! Bringing back his dynamic duo of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence from last year's award winning film SILVER LINING PLAYBOOK, Christian Bale gets lost in another character (his Irving is a character you love to hate), Amy Adams gives another Oscar-winning performance as Irving's love interest and partner Sydney Prosser. What I really enjoyed about the film was that story, which was so brilliantly written. There is that element of surprise which I loved. The film is just simply amazing from start to finish!

7) DESPICABLE ME 2: You want to know something? Kids movies are a lot of fun to watch! And this film made me feel like a kid again. And thanks to screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, this film has a much better script and better character development, which I thought the first one lacked. Gru's personality is enhanced, especially with the chance of saving the world. Plus being teamed up with Agent Wilde, we get to have a love interest that will take Gru to the next level. And having him be the hero gives the film a dimension, thus propelling the character to new realms. The film is packed with action and laughter, mostly from the scene stealing Minions, which are super funny, cute, and adorable! One of the best family films of 2013!


8) ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES: Director Adam McKay does a tremendous job creating a sequel that's funnier, crazier, and wilder than its predecessor.Of course it doesn't hurt that McKay once again teamed up with Farrell to write this outrageous follow up. These two madmen have done the franchise justice with this latest installment. The old gang that we know and love return to their respective characters and they are fantastic! Farrell, Rudd, Carell, and Koechner are just as rambunctious as they were in the first film, but here the laughter is cranked up to eleven! The film goes way beyond the first installment, making it truly the funniest film of 2013! Go see this while it's still in theaters!

9) BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL: Everybody knows who Bettie Page is, but does anybody really know who she is? Director Mark Mori sheds some light on our favorite "Queen of the Pinups" is this entertaining and informative documentary. Also the film was narrated by Bettie Page herself, which was culled from over 6 hours of interviews that Mori conducted with her prior to her death (she passed away on December 11, 2008 from pneumonia), so we hear the whole story from the pinup goddess in her own voice! Including interviews by Hugh M. Hefner, Bunny Yeager, Paula Klaw, Tempest Storm, and Dita Von Teese just to name a few, this is far and away the best film ever about Bettie Page!

10) STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS: In 2009, writer/director J.J. Abrams did the impossible with his re-imaging of STAR TREK. With this sequel, he expands on the characters we've all come to know and love while giving us one of the greatest villains of all time. The entire cast from the first film are once again reunited for this successful sequel and all turn in great performances. However the big star of the film is Benedict Cumberbatch, who's Kahn is one of the greatest villains to ever grace the silver screen. Unlike the previous incarnation, this Kahn is far more intelligent, more cunning, and more vicious. Overall the film is on helluva sci-fi, hi-octane, roller coaster ride of a sequel and a worthy entry in the franchise.

And there you have it folks! My Top Ten Films of 2013! Every year this list gets harder and harder to put together, but these were films that really made an impact on me, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading my picks. So if by chance there are films here that you haven't seen yet, I encourage you to check them out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by them!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!