Monday, May 1, 2017

Phil's Horror Watch: OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL (2016) from Universal Pictures - May 1, 2017

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL Blu-Ray
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL
Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Henry Thomas
Written by Mike Flanagan Jeff Howard
Based on characters created by Juliet Snowden & Stiles White
Cinematography by Michael Fimognari
Edited by Mike Flanagan
Produced by Michael Bay, Jason Blum, Stephen Davis, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Brian Goldner
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Production Companies: Hasbro Studios, Platinum Dunes, Allspark Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Released by Universal Pictures

I'm going to be straight up honest with you my faithful readers: I didn't really care for the 2014 film OUIJA. I found it predicable, tedious and, quite frankly, not very scary at all. The only thing that was scary was the $12 bucks I paid to see this clunker! So I was very shocked and surprised when Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures were teaming up again to make a sequel. But then the story changed. Now it was going to be a prequel, set in Los Angeles 1967. OK, that sounds kinda interesting. But when they announced that Mike Flanagan, the man behind the films ABSENTIA, OCULUS and the fan favorite HUSH, my ears perked up and now I was very much interested! The end result is that OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL surpassed beyond my expectations and blows the first film away.

The film's official synopsis: It was never just a game. Inviting audiences again into the lore of the spirit board, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit that opened at number one. In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

Original Theatrical Poster (2016)
Director Mike Flanagan is one of the most talented filmmakers within the genre as of today. He first burst onto the scene with the indie fright film ABSENTIA in 2011. But it was his next film, the creepy 2013 OCULUS that really put him on the map. The film became a huge hit and signaled that there was a new voice in the horror world. Then in 2016, he had three movies coming out: the slasher thriller HUSH, the supernatural fantasy horror film BEFORE I AWAKE and then finally today's movie. Flanagan has such a clear and distinctive vision that it deserves the acclaim his movies have been receiving. Also, he not only directs, but he also co-writes his films and edits them as well. How many other filmmakers can you name that is this involved in their work. Hands down, this man is one of my favorite new directors!

Actresses Elizabeth Reaser (Alice Zander), Annalise Basso (Lina Zander) and Lulu Wilson (Doris Zander) have amazing on-screen chemistry with one another. The family dynamic is funny and feels so realistic. All three ladies bring add so much depth to their respective characters that it's truly outstanding! Special shout outs to both Basso and Wilson, who go above and above the call of duty. Their performances are exceptionally scary and freaking incredible. When little Lulu plays with the Ouija board and then becomes processed, she becomes one of the most scariest kids ever captured on film! Yeah, she's that creepy! And then poor Lina, who unfortunately ends up on the losing end of it all. Oh, by the way, sit through the credits because there is a bonus scene that ties this film to the original and it's amazing!

OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL is one of the best Hollywood horror films to come out in a very long time! It's scary, it's relentless, it's sole purpose is to both entertain you while scaring the shit out of you!! And this movie accomplishes both in spades!! If you're looking for an excellent horror film to watch tonight, then you should definitely watch this one tonight!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. The movie is also available on iTunes, Video On Demand, digital download and Netflix.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Phil's Top 10 Best Post GRINDHOUSE Films of all Time - April 27, 2017

GRINDHOUSE Theatrical Poster (2006)
In 2007, directors Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's homage to exploitation double features GRINDHOUSE was released to theaters. With their films PLANET TERROR and DEATH PROOF, Rodriguez and Tarantino respectively, along with four fake trailers by Rodriguez (MACHETE), Edgar Wright (DON'T), Rob Zombie (WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE S.S.) and Eli Roth (THANKSGIVING), they were able to recreate that visual experience of what it was like to go to these cinematic events. Their distributor The Weinstein Company thought they had gigantic hit on their hands, but instead, the exact opposite happened and it bombed both critically and financially. However, the film struck a chord with many young filmmakers, who were then inspired to make their own grindhouse style movie. This lead to a new trend of movies that harken back to the gritty, down and dirty days of 42nd Street cinemas and drive-ins.

In the past ten years, there's been a plethora of these films being released on home video, on demand and on streaming services. Some are incredibly amazing while others are just plain awful. But that's where I come in, weeding out the good, the bad and the ugly. So without further ado, here is my list of the 10 Best Post GRINDHOUSE Films of All Time.

HEADLESS Poster (2015)
10) HEADLESS (2015) Plot Synopsis: In this "lost slasher from 1978," a masked killer wages an unrelenting spree of murder, cannibalism, and necrophilia. But when his tortured past comes back to haunt him, he plunges to even greater depths of madness and depravity, consuming the lives of a young woman and those she holds dear. (View the film's trailer here)

This movie is not for the faint of heart. It's visually disturbing, graphically gory and just really, really creepy. Especially the little boy with the skull mask that he always wears. Director Arthur Cullipher holds nothing back on this feature. This is a perfect example of what old school grindhouse movies looked like! Fun Fact: HEADLESS is based on the film within a film from Cullipher's previous horror movie FOUND. To purchase a Blu-Ray or DVD copy for yourself, visit the film's website at headlessmovie.net.

RUN! BITCH!RUN! Poster (2009)
9) RUN! BITCH RUN! (2009) Plot Synopsis: Catherine and Rebecca are two Catholic school girls going door-to-door selling religious paraphernalia in order to pay for their books and education. Things go horribly wrong when they knock on the wrong door in the wrong neighborhood. (View the film's trailer here)

The film is a throwback to the classic rape and revenge films that dominated the 70's and early 80's. Think LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and MS. 45 and you'll have a idea of what kind of movie this is. Joseph Guzman directed and co-wrote the film with Robert James Hayes II. Cheryl Lyone and Christina DeRosa's performances of Catherine and Rebecca respectively are riveting and hauntingly realistic. This dirty little flick has the making of becoming a cult classic. The movie is available on DVD from Freak Show Entertainment.

THE EDITOR Poster (2014)
8) THE EDITOR (2014) Plot Synopsis: Rey Ciso was once the greatest editor the world had ever seen. Since a horrific accident left him with four wooden fingers on his right hand, he's had to resort to cutting pulp films and trash pictures. When the lead actors from the film he's been editing turn up murdered at the studio, Rey is fingered as the number one suspect. The bodies continue to pile up in this absurdist giallo-thriller as Rey struggles to prove his innocence and learn the sinister truth lurking behind the scenes. (View the film's trailer here)

The Canadian film group Astron-6's tribute to Italian Giallos is both hilarious and spectacular! I was completely enamoured with the performances, the compositions, the lighting, the bloodshed and the incredible Casio soundtrack! If you're looking for something unique and fantastic, then you need to see this movie! The movie is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Scream Factory. To learn more about the Astron-6 group and their movies, visit their website at astron-6.com.

NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS Poster (2010)
7) NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS (2010) Plot Synopsis: Upon taking her vows to become a nun, Sister Sarah is abused, brainwashed and drugged into submission by the corrupt clergy. On the verge of death from a lethal dose of drugs, Sister Sarah receives a message from GOD telling her to take vengeance on all those who did her wrong. Armed with God's will and an arsenal of big guns, she dispenses Judgment Day on her former tormentors. When the church hires the merciless motorcycle gang the "Los Muertos" to track down and kill her they soon realize that this SISTER IS ONE BAD MOTHER. (View the film's trailer here)

Director  Joseph Guzman makes it on the list again but this time with a film that mines a classic grindhouse subgenre: Nunsploitation! Actress Asun Ortega is incredible as Sister Sarah as she's both holy and deadly! There's nothing more sexier than a beautiful nun with big guns blowing bad guys away! This is one film that deserves your time and attention. The movie is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Image Entertainment.

SHE KILLS Poster (2016)
6) SHE KILLS (2016) Plot Synopsis: Sadie's life is destroyed when a vicious gang called 'The Touchers' targets her for their sadistic fantasies after witnessing her sexy but innocent naked frolicking in a nearby field. On her wedding night they attack her and her husband Edward, brutalizing both of them. But during the attack the virgin bride discovers a dangerous secret about her body - she is cursed with the legendary 'Fire Crotch,' a condition where Satan has laid claim to her vagina. After visiting her fortune teller friend Casparella, a space exorcism is attempted on her meat flaps, but it only ends up unlocking secret hidden powers inside her. Her hatchet wound becomes lethal, her most deadly weapon in her thirst for revenge against The Touchers and her fight against lustful men everywhere! (View the film's trailer here)

If your a fan of THEY CALL HER ONE EYE, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and THE CROW, then here's a movie that takes elements of all three and cranks the absurdity up to ten. The film doesn't take itself too seriously and director Ron Bonk knows this. He had fun making this film and we the audience are having fun watching it. Jennie Russo is riveting as Sadie and Trey Harrison's Dirk is one of the funniest villains of all time (the moustache gag is hilarious!). This is one movie that must be seen to believe. The film is available on DVD from SRS Cinema. To purchase a copy for your self, visit their website at srscinema.com/home.

DEAR GOD NO! Poster (2011)
5) DEAR GOD NO! (2011) Plot Synopsis: Outlaw motorcycle gang The Impalers tri-state rape and murder spree ended in a bloody massacre with rival club Satan's Own. The surviving members sought refuge in a secluded cabin deep in the North Georgia mountains. What first must of seemed like easy prey for a home invasion, became a living nightmare of depravity and violence. A young innocent girl being held captive may hold the key to the twisted secrets locked in the basement and the killing machine feasting on human flesh in the forest outside. (View the film's trailer here)

Drawing inspiration from old biker exploitation flicks such as WILD REBELS, THE BORN LOSERS and SATAN'S SADISTS, the movie is a perfect blend of bikes, blood and boobs. Mostly boobs. But there's a lot of bikes too. The violence is over-the-top gory fun, the characters are sick and twisted, and there's a topless girl wearing a Richard Nixon mask toting a machine gun. The film became an underground classic that is spawned the 2016 sequel FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS. Both movies are available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. To purchase a copy, visit the Big World Pictures website at www.bigworldpictures.us.

BLACK DYNAMITE Poster (2009)
4) BLACK DYNAMITE (2009) Plot Synopsis: This is the story of 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite. The Man killed his brother, pumped heroin into local orphanages, and flooded the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor. Black Dynamite was the one hero willing to fight The Man all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House. (View the film's trailer here)

Blaxploitation is a film genre that catered to black audiences back in the early 1970's. Films like SHAFT, SUPERFLY, COFFY, THE MACK, SHEBA, BABY and BLACK BELT JONES became huge boxoffice hits and are now regarded as cinema classics. This film does the same thing, paying homage to those films while having some fun tongue in cheek moments. Michael Jai White is absolutely fantastic as the title role. The man was born to play this character. Not only does he star in the movie, he also co-wrote the screenplay as well. The film became a huge cult classic that it became a cartoon series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, which made it even more popular. The film is available on Blu-Ray and DVD. To purchase a copy as well as other merchandise, visit the website blackdynamite.com.

MACHETE Poster (2010)
3) MACHETE (2010) Plot Synopsis: The highly skilled Federale Machete is hired by some unsavory types to assassinate a senator. But just as he's about to take the shot, he notices someone aiming at him and realizes he's been set up. He barely survives the sniper's bullet, and is soon out for revenge on his former employers, with the reluctant assistance of his brother Cheech Marin, who has become a priest and taken a vow of nonviolence. If you hire him to take out the bad guys, make sure the bad guys aren't you! (View the film's trailer here)

The first fake trailer that opened in GRINDHOUSE became the first to become a full length feature film. Robert Rodriguez's film fulfills the exploitation criteria while adding political and social commentary. Danny Trejo is such a bad ass in the film and when he teams up with Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez to take down Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey and Steven Seagal, it's a fucking blast to watch. The movie became a hug hit and in 2013 the sequel MACHETE KILLS was released. There is a rumor that the third film MACHETE KILLS AGAIN...IN SPACE (which is a fake trailer in MACHETE KILLS) is supposed to be still in the works. The movie is available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN Poster (2011)
2) HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011) Plot Synopsis: A vigilante homeless man pulls into a new city and finds himself trapped in urban chaos, a city where crime rules and where the city's crime boss reigns. Seeing an urban landscape filled with armed robbers, corrupt cops, abused prostitutes and even a pedophile Santa, the Hobo goes about bringing justice to the city the best way he knows how - with a 20-gauge shotgun. Mayhem ensues when he tries to make things better for the future generation. Street justice will indeed prevail. (View the film's trailer here)

Directed by Jason Eisener, the movie started out as a fake trailer made for an international contest to promote the release of GRINDHOUSE. He won the contest and his trailer was shown within the movie in parts of Canada. Due to the overwhelming demand from fans, he decided to make it into a feature length film. Legendary actor Rutger Hauer steals the film as our hobo hero, who dishes out justice one shell at a time. The violence is crazy gory, there's blood everywhere, and it's balls-to-the-wall crazy fun! Anyone who is fan of exploitation movies needs to see this film! The movie is available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

FATHER'S DAY Poster (2011)
1) FATHER'S DAY (2011) Plot Synopsis: Ahab, a man obsessed with exacting a brutal, violent revenge on the man who murdered his dad, joins John, an eager priest, and Twink, a hot-headed street hustler, on an epic quest to find and defeat this mythical monster known as Chris Fuchman AKA The Father's Day Killer. (View the film's trailer here)

The group Astron-6 takes the number one spot! This movie is not for the squeamish. There are multiple scenes of male rape, tons of male nudity (but there's also plenty of female nudity), graphic gore and even genital mutilation. In spite of all that, this is actually a comedy that serves as both a homage and a satire of exploitation films. Now when you watch the film, even though it's low budget, it looks rather expensive. Believe it or not, the film's budget was only $10,000! The movie looks incredible, which once again reinforces my point that you don't need a lot of money to make your film. FATHER'S DAY is without a doubt the BEST exploitation film ever made! The movie is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Troma Entertainment. Visit their website at www.troma.com. To learn more about the Astron-6 group and their movies, visit their website at astron-6.com.

And folks, there you have it! My Top 10 Best Post GRINDHOUSE Films of All Time! Man, this sure was fun! And I hope all you jive turkeys, biker dudes, groovy chicks and soul brothas and sistas had a good time reading all about these far out flicks. Now, there is no reason that ya'll can't checkout these flicks because they're all available to watch, either on home video or they're On Demand, iTunes, Netflix and other streaming services. So if you wish you could relive those glory days of 42nd Street or you're new to the whole exploitation genre, then these ten films are required viewing. So turn off your phone, close the blinds, order some pizzas a beer and spend a day watching these exploitation classics! Just make sure you save me a seat, will ya?

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Phil's Cult Classics: DEATH RACE 2050 (2017) from New Horizons Picture/Universal Pictures - April 23, 2017

DEATH RACE 2050 Blu-Ray
DEATH RACE 2050
Starring Malcolm McDowell, Manu Bennett, Marci Miller, Burt Grinstead, Anessa Ramsey, Yancy Butler, Charlie Farrell, Folake Olowofoyeku, Shanna Olson
Written by G.J. Echternkamp & Matt Yamashita
Cinematography by Juan Durán
Edited by G.J. Echternkamp & Steve Ansell
Produced by Roger Corman, Julie Corman & Lisa Gooding
Directed by G.J. Echternkamp
Production Companies New Horizons Picture & Universal 1440 Entertainment
Released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment

In 1975, producer Roger Corman and director Paul Bartell released a film called DEATH RACE 2000 on an unsuspecting drive-in and grindhouse audience. It went on to became a true cult classic. In 2008, Corman made a deal with Universal Pictures to remake the film, simply entitled DEATH RACE, which eventually led to two direct-to-video sequels. Those films had no resemblance to the original, nor did it have the same premise. It seemed like Hollywood had miss the point yet again and it looked like we would never get a proper sequel. Then the King of the B's himself came up with the brilliant idea of making a true sequel to the original, which excited many fans. The end result was released earlier this year in the form of DEATH RACE 2050. So ladies and gentlemen, start your engines and get ready for one helluva ride!

The film's official synopsis: Legendary filmmaking icon, Roger Corman, is back with his most outrageous film yet in this sensational, action-packed and darkly humorous reboot of the original Death Race 2000! It’s the year 2050 and America is controlled by an all-powerful corporate government ruled by The Chairman (Malcolm McDowell). The masses have been brainwashed with violent virtual-reality entertainment. The event of the year is the Death Race, in which a motley crew of violent drivers compete in a cross-country road race, scoring points for shamelessly running people over and driving each other off the road. The reigning champion and fan favorite, Frankenstein (Manu Bennett), who’s half-man half-machine, wants to take the crown, but his rebel spy co-pilot threatens his legacy

The original was a perfect blend of dark humor, social and political commentary and pure exploitation madness. The sequel is the same but more in your face, with the dark humor and madness cranked up to ten. The world of tomorrow is nothing more than a corporate owned entity, now known as The United Corporations of America.The biting commentary is painfully relevant, considering our so-called president and his swamp drenched corporate cabinet. So throughout the movie, I found myself laughing and cringing because it's so spot on as to the world we inhabit in.

Original Promotional Poster (2017)
Filmmaker G.J. Echternkamp is relatively new to directing, having made only two other features, a couple of documentaries and a handful of shorts. However, he manages to make a film that just screams, "Look at this crazy shit!" Despite his lack of experience, he makes up with enthusiasm, determination and sheer lunacy. He keeps the camera on the action, which there is plenty of and it's completely off the hook! Kudos to Echternkamp on a job well done! Also, he along with Matt Yamashita wrote the script, so lookout for this guy to become the next big Hollywood action director!

Filing the shoes of Frankenstein this time is Manu Bennett, whom you've seen in THE MARINE, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and THE HOBBIT TRILOGY as Azog. He's also done a lot of television shows such as Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Arrow (as Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke) and the hit MTV series The Shannara Chronicles. He brings his A-game to his character and raises Frankenstein to the level of on bad ass driver! Loved his performance! Actress Marci Miller from Days of our Lives is Frankenstein's navigator Annie Sullivan. Miller is a very beautiful and talented actress and she and Bennett have great on-screen chemistry. Malcolm McDowell does what Malcolm McDowell does best. 'Nuff said! Anessa Ramsey's character Tammy is one of the most vile, racist, batshit crazy chicks I have ever seen in a movie! And the shit she says is fucking hilarious!!

Now I'm sure all you die hard fans of the original want to know is how do the cars look in the movie? They look freaking sweet!! They're just as cool, if not cooler, than the cars from the first film. I don't know who made them, but I want to have one of them! More specifically, I want Frankenstein's car!! And if there's anyway it included Marci Miller and her piercing deep blue eyes, then take all my money now buddy!!

DEATH RACE 2050 is an over the top, tongue-in-check, politically and socially charged, action packed thrill ride that will make you think and cheer for bloodshed!! In this modern day world where movies take themselves way too seriously, it's good to see this kind of movie exist. And it's great to see Roger Corman doing what he does best!! This is exploitation cinema at its finest!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly Recommended!!


DEATH RACE 2050 is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD at your local retailer. The film is also available on iTunes, Redbox, on demand and other streaming services.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Phil sees SADAKO VS. KAYAKO (2016) from Kadokawa/Shudder - April 23, 2017

In 1996, the late Wes Craven's film SCREAM had inadvertently ushered in a new wave of slasher horror films featuring, at the time, some of the most popular and young Hollywood actors and actresses like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Neve Campbell, Freddie Prinze Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Ryan Phillippe, Bridgette Wilson and Rose McGowan just to name a few. At the same time, Japan was experiencing a horror revolution of its own. Influenced by the old horror and ghost story classics from Japanese folklore, a new wave of movies called Japanese Horror (dubbed J-Horror) were dominating theaters. RINGU was released in 1998 and become such a huge hit that in 1999 the movie was remade here in America called THE RING. In that same year JU-ON became another sensation in Japan and was given the American remake in the form of THE GRUDGE in 2002. Then in 2016, fans of both franchises finally got what they've been dying for. Last night I finally watched SADAKO VS. KAYAKO on Shudder, the online horror streaming service.

Original Japanese Poster (2016)
The film's official synopsis: After viewing a legendary cursed videotape, Natsumi discovers she has only two days before she will be killed by the demonic entity known as Sadako. The only way to break the curse: pitting the demon Sadako against Kayako, an accursed spirit possessing a haunted house where everyone who enters disappears. SADAKO VS. KAYAKO brings the characters from RINGU and JU-ON: THE GRUDGE back to the big screen in a wildly fun, tongue-in-cheek thrill ride that finally answers the question: whose curse is stronger?

Boy, was this movie a fucking blast to watch!!! Think J-Horror meets FREDDY VS. JASON and that's what we have here!! It's batshit crazy on a Level 10!! Where am I going with all this? I don't know but I love this movie!!

Kôji Shiraishi is the man responsible for directing this amazing movie. I first became aware oh him when I saw the 2007 film KUCHISAKE-ONNA, better known here in the states as CARVED: THE SLIT-MOUTHED WOMAN (which, by the way, is based on another old Japanese folklore). He's done some other fantastic fright flicks like GUROTESUKU (GROTESQUE), OKARUTO (OCCULT) and both TEKETEKE films. He keeps the film moving right along, giving fans elements from both franchises while providing new characters, new scenarios and new scares. His compositions and framing superb, pacing is great and does a fine job of combining random silliness and downright terror.

Yuri Kurahashi and Natsumi Ueno are our two main leads, portrayed by Mizuki Yamamoto and Aimi Satsukawa repectively. They have great on-screen chemistry together; the look and sound like they're best friends. Both bring emotional depth to their characters and are sympathetic to the audience. We really do feel for these two girls. At the same time, Suzuka Takagi (played by Tina Tamashiro) is being hunted by a curse of her own! When they team up with spirit medium Keizo (Masanobu Andô) and his blind psychic sidekick Tamao (Maiko Kikuchi), the shit hits the fan as they pit Sadako against Kayako in hopes that they will destroy one another.

Originally, the film first started out as an April Fools' joke when it was teased on April 1, 2015 but then became a reality when into production on December 10, 2015. It was promoted on social media like crazy and was released in Japan on June 18, 2016. It went on to play at several film festivals before it finally made its way here in the states where it premiered on Shudder on January 26, 2017.

SADAKO VS. KAYAKO is a balls-to-the-wall, J-Horror fans wet dream come true!! If you want to see something different and unique, then this movie is right up your alley!! Fans of both franchises will want to see this movie over and over again!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!! 


SADAKO VS. KAYAKO is now streaming exclusively on Shudder. To view it, sign up on its website at www.shudder.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil sees THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE from IFC Midnight - April 22, 2017

Independent films have reshaped the cinematic landscape for last several decades. In the horror genre, these films brought new ideas, new stories, new scares and new voices that have impacted society and pop culture as we know it. From NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE to THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and TRICK 'R TREAT, the world of horror has seen some groundbreaking films that are both politically and socially charged as well as being just horrifyingly disturbing. Today's film has received so much acclaim that it's downright scary. And after seeing THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE for myself, those praises are very much deserved.

The films' official synopsis: It’s just another night at the morgue for a father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch) team of coroners, until an unidentified, highly unusual corpse comes in. Discovered buried in the basement of the home of a brutally murdered family, the young Jane Doe—eerily well preserved and with no visible signs of trauma—is shrouded in mystery. As they work into the night to piece together the cause of her death, the two men begin to uncover the disturbing secrets of her life. Soon, a series of terrifying events make it clear: this Jane Doe may not be dead. The latest from TROLLHUNTER director André Øvredal is a scarily unpredictable, supernatural shocker that never lets up.

There are many reasons as to why I absolutely loved this gem of a horror film. One of them is that André Øvredal is just so damn talented. His directing is so precise and controlled, his compositions are flawless and you knows exactly to make us feel terrified. His visuals grabs our attention and doesn't let go until the movie ends. He's grown as a director; from TROLLHUNTER (which is freaking awesome if you haven't seen it yet) to this movie is astounding! And this is only his third feature film! I can't image what he's going to be like as a director in ten years! One can only hope for more original and horrifyingly cinematic tales of terror!

You can't have a good horror movie without a truly terrifying script and that's where screenwriters Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing come into the picture. These two individuals wrote one of the best original scripts ever! The story is simple but it's so dense and layered that it takes its time to unravel the mystery and horror. Taking something that's disturbing already such as working in the morgue and cranking up the fear up to eleven is no small feat to accomplish. But Goldberg and Naing pulled it off effortlessly, and as a result, scared the living hell out of me!

The film's cast turned in some outstanding performances. Brian Cox is a legend, having been in films such as BRAVEHEART, RUSHMORE, HIDDEN AGENDA and THE RING. Cox's casting as Tom is perfect as he brings his ability to add depth and personality to his character. Emile Hirsch's portrayal as Austin is also well done, as is his love interest Emma, played by the lovely Ophelia Lovibond. But for me, the best performance of the movie comes from our Jane Doe herself Olwen Catherine Kelly. It's not easy playing a dead person, but to do it throughout the film and be naked as well, plus having appliances, guts and organs all over you, well, that's some damn fine acting!

THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE is one of the best horror films of 2017!! Once again, the indie film world has unleashed of the scariest films I have seen in a long time!! So forget those bloated and shitty Hollywood horror movies and check this bad ass flick!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE is currently playing in select theaters in cities nationwide. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you. It's also available on Netflix, iTunes, video on demand and other streaming services. The film will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 27, 2017 from IFC Midnight.

 Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Phil sees THE BYE BYE MAN from STX Entertainment - April 22, 2017

I love horror movies! Ever since I saw Universal's 1931 classic DRACULA, my thirst for horror films has been unquenchable. I've seen an ungodly amount horror films in my lifetime. Some have been brilliant, others have left me scared for life. Some are guilty pleasures, others are WTFs that can never escape me. Today's film falls into the latter portion of my list. Yes horror hounds, I saw THE BYE BYE MAN on purpose and it was really, really, bad.

The film's official synopsis: When three college students move into an old house off campus, they unwittingly unleash a supernatural entity known as The Bye Bye Man, who comes to prey upon them once they discover his name. The friends must try to save each other, all the while keeping The Bye Bye Man's existence a secret to save others from the same deadly fate.

OK, where do I start with this one? First the positives: I liked the poster. Looks really cool, doesn't it? Second, it's 96 minutes long so that was nice. Third, it....uhhhh.......has a cool looking poster. Yeah! Oh man, this is going to be harder than I thought.

The film is an adaption of the chapter "The Bridge to Body Island" in Robert Damon Schneck's book The President's Vampire. The screenplay was written by Jonathan Penner, who is married to the film's director Stacy Title. Her resume includes films like THE LAST SUPPER, LET THE DEVIL WEAR BLACK and the hip hop horror anthology HOOD OF HORROR. While I'm for having more female filmmakers in the horror genre, and in Hollywood in general, I would like to see a female filmmaker make a decent horror film. I wasn't impressed with Title's set-ups and compositions. Also, Penenr's script didn't deliver the scares, nor did it have character development, good beats or a satisfying conclusion in the third act. It all felt flat and rushed, which surprised me because  the film's opening really caught my attention. I was looking forward to see what was going to happen but I was disappointed with the final results.

The film's trio of characters are named Sasha, Elliot and John and they are portrayed by Cressida Bonas, Douglas Smith and Lucien Laviscount respectively. As much as I wanted to like their characters, I could have cared a less about them or their final fates at the end. I wasn't emotionally involved with them, which is a red flag in any movie that I watch. Whether it's a drama, a comedy, or a horror movie, if the audience isn't emotionally invested in the film's characters, then you're just wasting their time and intelligence.

The sad thing is that the film had the potential of being a great horror film, maybe becoming a new franchise that would show up the major studios. The trailer looked very interesting to me and I had high hopes for it. I really wanted to like this movie, but in the end it left me feeling like I was cheated. And yet, despite the negative reviews, the film has grossed $24.6 million against its $7.4 million budget. So apparently, the movie has an audience, so right now, I would like to congratulate everyone that worked on the film and all your success. But with all that said,  I am sorry that I did not like the movie.

THE BYE BYE MAN is a lackluster horror film that will bring nothing new to the horror genre! With such a promising and impressive opening, the film falls into the standard trappings of its own shortcomings. However, I am interested in seeing where Stacy Title's career goes and I hope she makes the ultimate horror film, or in another genre for that matter. 2 out of 5 stars! It's a rental at best!


THE BYE BYE MAN is currently playing in select theaters in cities nationwide. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you. The film is also available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD in rated and unrated versions. It's also available on Netflix, iTunes, video on demand and other streaming services.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees RINGS from Paramount Pictures - April 22, 2017

In the late 1990's, there was an influx of Japanese Horror films that caught American audiences off guard. These films, called J-Horror for short, revolutionized the genre and soon caught Hollywood's attention as well. Shortly thereafter, we began to see many of the J-Horror film remade by major studios in an attempt to capture that same audience, as well as get some of that sweet boxoffice dollars. Based of the RINGU films, 2002's THE RING became a sensation and has grossed over $230.1 billion dollars worldwide. It spawned a sequel in 2005 and THE RING TWO became another smash hit. earning over $160.4 million worldwide. However, the sequel didn't fair well with critics and fans who thought it didn't live up to the first film. Then came silence for the next twelve years until Paramount Pictures decided to resurrect the franchise once again. This past weekend I saw RINGS for myself to see if it lived up to the originals.

The film's official synopsis: A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before…

While I found it somewhat entertaining, I thought the story was predictable and boring, the characters were underdeveloped and lacked any real depth, it wasn't really scary and we hardly got to see Samara. Not off to a good start there movie.

First off, credit to Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden and Bonnie Morgan for trying their best of making a good and scary movie. Really, thank you all for trying and I know you ladies and gentlemen really did try. But as the old saying goes, "You can put a pig in a dress but it's still a pig." But I don't blame you all. You're all talented actors and actresses and I hope to see you all again in other film projects, but I do not hold you accountable for this failed attempt of a relaunch of a major franchise.

First, I blame filmmaker F. Javier Gutiérrez for directing this lazy attempt of a movie. Hard to believe that this is the same guy who made the 2008 film BEFORE THE FALL, which was an absolutely stunning work of art! That was one of my favorite films of that year and I've been anxiously awaiting what his next film would be. And here it is, and it made me wanna bang my head against the wall. You totally let me down Gutiérrez. You shattered my world and now I wanna cry cause you made this shitty movie. 

Next on hit list, let's talk about the screenwriters for bit. The film was written by David Loucka, Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsman and I just want to say that I hate you all from the bottom of my heart. Really, that was the best story idea you guys came up with? There's this "movie within the movie and, like, crazy scary stuff happens and then, like there's this new backstory about Samara and then there's Vincent D'Onofrio doing his thing, and then we end the film by using the standard, tired, cliched ending that Hollywood uses all the time." Seriously, you guys suck hard balls. Why didn't use some of the story aspects for the original RINGU films? Then flesh the themes out and combine it with traditional American aspects that audiences can relate to and skip the "standard, tired, cliched ending that Hollywood uses" and end the film with closure and then leave it alone. Is that too much to ask for these days?

RINGS is an unnecessary, unwanted horror film to a franchise that should have stayed dead! The film is twelve years too late and there isn't an audience there anymore. We've all moved on from this. It had its time but that was a long time ago. It's time for Hollywood to make original horror movies again! So stop wasting our time with these shitty remakes, relaunches and reboots and go make original movie again! 3 out of 5 stars! Wait till it comes out on Redbox!!


RINGS is currently playing in theaters nationwide. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees KONG: SKULL ISLAND from Warner Bros. Pictures - April 22, 2017

When legendary movie studio RKO released the original KING KONG back in 1933, I don't think they could've predicted just how popular and iconic their creation would become. It's spawned two sequels back in the 1930's, a 1976 remake and a 1986 sequel, he fought Godzilla and other monsters in Japan in the 1960's, became a Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series and was remade again by fanboy Peter Jackson in 2005. Now 12 years later, Warner Brothers decided to once again resurrect this beloved big hairy ape once again and pit him against one of the best A-list group of actors ever assembled. So are you ready for my review of KONG: SKULL ISLAND?!? If not, tough shit I'm doing this review!

The film's official synopsis: When a scientific expedition to an uncharted island awakens titanic forces of nature, a mission of discovery becomes an explosive war between monster and man. Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly star in a thrilling and original new adventure that reveals the untold story of how Kong became King.

Yup, that right there says it all!! Let me cut to the chase: you have Tom Hiddleston (Loki!), Samuel L. Jackson (Bad Ass Mutha Fucka!), Brie Larson (Marry me!), John Goodman (Another Bad Ass!), John C. Reilly (Hilarious!) plus Corey Hawkins (Yo Dre!), John Ortiz (AVPR Dude!), Tian Jing (Babe!) blowing shit up, getting their asses handed to them by King Kong, who then tears shit up by beating up all kinds of crazy looking monsters with a soundtrack that includes Jefferson Airplane, The Stooges, Creedence Clearwater Revival, David Bowie and Black Sabbath?!? Take all of my money now please!!!

But seriously, this a blast to watch. Major credit to director Jordan Vogt-Roberts for making such a kick ass movie. Known previously as a television director on shows such as Single Dad, Funny or Die Presents..., Death Valley and Mash Up, he gained acclaim and attention for his 2013 indie coming-of-age film THE KINGS OF SUMMER. It's amazing that four years later he's directing a multi-million dollar Hollywood film with major stars. It's also worthy noting just how much of a 180 he took when making this film. It doesn't look anything like THE KINGS OF SUMMER and that's astounding to see! Making a little indie film is totally different than making a major studio project so congratulations to Jordan Vogt-Roberts for pulling off this impossible feat!! I can't to see his next film project!!

KONG: SKULL ISLAND is one bad ass action packed adventure film that you need to see on the big screen! Also, for all you film fanatics out there, the movie is also being screened in 70mm special engagements is select cities!! So you have no excuse to not see this movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


KONG: SKULL ISLAND is currently playing in theaters nationwide. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you. Also look for 70mm screenings in select cities as well.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees MOANA in 2D from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures - April 22, 2017

Family movies are often referred to kids movies due to the fact that they're aimed specifically for kids. While that's a generic definition of that, it's whole heartily false. As a forty-something adult, I enjoy in what they bring. They're extremely fun to watch, have interesting characters, are set is some fantastic world and lastly, more importantly, they remind us that life is magical and anything is possible. It's the inner child in every adult that begs to be let out once in a while, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I feel it's a healthy expression. Case in point, my recent viewing of the new Disney movie MOANA, which is one of their best films in a long time.

The film's official synopsis: Moana Waialiki is a sea voyaging enthusiast and the only daughter of a chief in a long line of navigators. When her island's fishermen can't catch any fish and the crops fail, she learns that the demigod Maui caused the blight by stealing the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti. The only way to heal the island is to persuade Maui to return Te Fiti's heart, so Moana sets off on an epic journey across the Pacific. The film is based on stories from Polynesian mythology.

You can always count on Disney to bring in the fun with their characters. Voice over actress Auli'i Cravalho is perfect as our heroine and adventurer Moana. She brings strength, naivety, self assurance and that spirit of adventure to her character. The man himself Mr. Dwayne Johnson brings the laughter and fun as Maui, the mystical God who teams up with Moana to fulfill her quest. Now I have to admit that Johnson has become one of my favorite actors in Hollywood right now. Mainly because he's really good actor. And by doing voice over work for this movie, ot proves that he's a very talented individual. Guiding Moana on her journey is Gramma Tala, voiced by the talented  Rachel House. If you don't know her name yet, you better get acquainted with her work. She's been several amazing films like WHALE RIDER, EAGLE VS. SHARK and has appeared in television shows like Hope and Wire, Soul Mates and the Wolf Creek mini series.

What I really enjoyed about the movie is that it takes us back to when were we younger; to a time when were optimistic, full of life, always looking for adventure and not being scared of it because it sounded like fun to us. Now that I'm older, I don't feel as adventurous because I'm now wiser, smarter and I don't feel like I have the time or energy to do anything (yes kids, getting old does suck). But I can still remember what those emotions feel like, and at times it makes me feel young again. That's what's fun about kids movies: they make you feel young. And there's nothing wrong with that!

The other factor I enjoyed was that it touches upon adult themes; such as responsibility, destiny, life and death. However it's told in a way that children can understand. These are very important life lessons to learn, even though we wish we could ignore them. Unfortunately, we cannot and therefore, it's a part of life that we must accept. That's also what I enjoy about kids movies; there's a lot of life lessons that are shown throughout the frames of the movie and that's a smart thing to address.

Directors John Musker and Ron Clements did several months of research for the film. They immersed themselves in the Polynesian culture and mythology of the its people. They really tried to make the film respectful to the culture and I think they did a damn good job. So two big thumbs up to Musker and Clements on a job well done. And on a side note, this is the first Polynesian-themed Disney animated feature film since 2002's LILO & STITCH. About damn time we got another Polynesian movie Disney! What took you so damn long, huh?

MOANA is a superior family film that will be watched for generations to come! It full of laughs, adventure, fun and once again shows that with a little bit of self-confidence, there's nothing we can't do! So kids, I say to you all is this: Go out there and make this world a better place! And make sure your folks take you to see this movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


MOANA is still playing in selected theaters nationwide. Check your local listings to see if it's playing at a theater near you. The movie is also available on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as digital download, on demand, iTunes and other streaming services.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Phil sees LOGAN from 20th Century Fox - April 2, 2017

Like with my last blog post, today's film is also the last time that this actor will portray this hugely popular comic character on the big screen ever. For the past 17 years, actor Hugh Jackman made X-Men history by being cast as one of the greatest Marvel mutant characters of all time: Wolverine! Now, we say goodbye to him in this, his finest acting performance ever! Make no mistake, LOGAN is one of the best films to come out of 20th Century Fox's X-MEN universe and reminds all of us of how talented Mr. Jackman really is.

The film's official synopsis: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.

Right off the bat, let me just say this: THIS IS THE WOLVERINE I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR TO SEE SINCE 2000!! Jackman's performance of Old Man Logan is spot on!! His Logan is haggard, weary, laced with regret, remorse and alcohol. He's once again retreated from the world and wants to stay hidden from it. He's still ultra violent when he's backed up against that wall and he cusses like a truck driver. But, he still cares and it comes though, especially towards the end of the film. Needless to say, if he does get an Oscar for his portrayal of Logan, there will be Hell to pay!! An outstanding acting job from Hugh Jackman!!

Another incredible acting job hails from a true legend. Patrick Stewart surprised me with his role as Darcy in THE GREEN ROOM. Here, he commands the screen once again, but for a different reason. This is a Professor X we have never seen before. Old, sick and suffering from fits of dementia, Professor C has seen better days. Losing his school, mutants nearing extinction and no longer able to control his powers, Stewart's performance is sheer brilliance!

Director James Mangold  gives the film a real gritty, dirty visual; complementing the dire and bleak script written by Mangol, Scott Frank and Michael Green. Together, these three individuals have crafted a work of art; visually stunning and heartbreakingly poetic. Sometimes we get one or two elements that work. Either the movie looks great but has no heart. Or the characters are well defined but the story lacks that essential emotional punch that takes it to the next level. Lastly, it has both fantastic story and characters but the directing is absolutely horrible. This movie contains the trifecta that I've been wanting to see in the X-MEN cinematic universe!

To make this short and sweet, LOGAN is one of the best superhero films of 2017!! You owe it to yourself to see this movie on the big screen!! Get out to your local movie theater and watch this outstanding movie!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


LOGAN is currently playing in both regular and in IMAX theaters nationwide. Check your local listings to see where it's playing at a theater near you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Phil sees RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER from Sony Pictures/Screen Gems - April 1, 2017

Welcome back my loyal readers to Phil's Film Adventures! After taking a very long and much needed break, I'm back and better than ever!! And what better way to kick off my glorious return to the blogging world than to review the final chapter of a franchise that's been around since 2002. After 15 years and six films, it is with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to our dear friend Alice with this, the last film to the immensely popular Capcom video game. So, let's talk about director Paul W.S. Anderson's swan song to the series RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER.

The film's official synopsis: Picking up immediately after the events of RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity's final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began - the Hive in Racoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

To be honest, the beginning felt just a bit rushed. We were never really given a full explanation about happened after the events of the previous installment. Nor are we told how the hell Alice survived. Or why did she survive and not anybody else? What happened to her friends? And let's not forget that it ended with Alice and her friends fighting off a horde of T-virus monsters! So how about it Paul? Mmmmm? Care to explain all this? Gonna give us a logical flashback to clarify these drastic questions that moviegoers have been waiting for for the past five years? Nope, you're gonna bypass all that and just start the movie off with Alice waking up and walking around the now destroyed and leveled Washington DC. Great, thanks a bunch Paul! You lazy bloody wanker!!

Anyhoo, Alice is played for the final time by Milla Jovovich, who's starting to show some fatigue from portraying this character for the last 15 years. She can play this role in her sleep. She doesn't bring anything new, still looks hot in black spandex and still kicks a lot of ass, but we've seen it already. There's no real depth to the character (like there ever was one to begin with) and so we're left with this two-dimensional pawn of the Umbrella Corporation who now has to go all the way back to Racoon City to finally stop the Red Queen and Umbrella from eradicating the remaining bits of humankind.

And what did I think of this mindless, soulless, abomination of a movie? I liked it.

While it really needed a more fluid story arcs, better pacing and stronger and more defined characters, it was all that bad. It had some excellent action scenes, cool looking T-virus monsters, Ali Larter is back as Claire (she still looks hot) and I liked how it ended up back at the Hive and the Umbrella Corporation from the first film. Overall, Anderson and his cast and crew did a good job for the most part. What took me out of the film a lot was the overused CGI and some, not all, but some looked really bad. That's one of my big pet peeves: if your film uses a lot of CGI, make sure it looks real and not like it does from the video game.

The cast is average: Jovovich and Larter are bad asses, Dr Issacs (Iain Glen) is still a batshit crazy religious zealot, there's a new little girl playing the Red Queen (Ever Anderson), and the rest of the cast gets killed off so I'm not gonna waste my time on them. Did that sound mean? Well, it's true! They introduce a bunch of new characters and they're all picked off one by one. How are we supposed to care for them, the last of humanity, if you're gonna kill them all? Yup, that's what I thought Paul! You lazy bloody wanker!!

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER is a decent action packed, horror, sci-fi flick to one of the most popular franchises of all time! It doesn't break any new ground and while it's predictable, it's a popcorn film and should just accept that fact and try to have a good time watching it.


RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER is still playing at select theaters nationwide. Check your local listings and see if it's playing at a theater near you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!