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Monday, August 31, 2015

Simplistic Interviews - Marc Ferman of Popcorn Frights Film Festival

It's been a while since we've actually had a legit interview on this site, but we have a good one for all you horror fans out there. This October 1st through the 4th, the Wynwood District of Miami will be dripping with horror as the 1st Annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival takes over O Cinema. One the men behind the madness, Marc Ferman, was kind enough to take some time out of his schedule and answer some questions.



Q: What was your first experience with the horror genre? What made you a fan?

A: When I was young, I was actually terrified by horror films (which is probably normal for little kids).  I would watch them on TV and then proceed to have nightmares.  I can't recall exactly when my feelings towards horror had shifted but I believe one of the first films in the genre that I truly fell in love with was John Carpenter's "Christine".  After that, I wanted to watch any film based on a Stephen King novel and any film directed by Carpenter.

Q: Being the first, and only, horror festival in Miami, what pressure did you feel on the need to make it special? What are your expectations?

A: There are successful horror film festivals all over the world and I have always wished one would pop up in Miami.  For the past five years I have been attending the SXSW Film Festival in Austin Texas and the midnight films have been some of my favorites.  The film community in South Florida has been slowly maturing and I felt (as well as Popcorn Frights co-founder Igor Shteyrenberg), that South Florida is ready for a festival like this.  Our expectations are realistic.  We didn't want to book a large amount of films for our first year. We are treating this first year of the festival as an introduction of things to come.  We want to show horror/genre fans that we can bring them films that they will love.  We also want to show the filmmakers that there is a market for their films here in South Florida.  It just hasn't be successfully tapped into yet.  We plan to help change that.

Q: What was your criteria for the films that you chose to be in the festival?

A: We want films that stand out and we also wanted films that are very different from each other. Yes, our four nights of films are horror, but they couldn't be more different.

Q: What has the reception been like around the horror community in Miami? How have genre fans embraced this festival since it’s inception?

A: Based just on social networking, the response has been fantastic.  We feel like we have impressed a great deal of people with the films we were able to secure for the first year of the festival.  The word has also spread worldwide about the festival due to us having the North American premiere of "Howl". 

Q: The state of horror as it stands today….thoughts on if you think the genre is becoming stagnant or do you still think that are still fresh ideas out there to be had?

A: I feel the horror films that get wide theatrical releases from major studios have become stagnant.  They all feel like remakes of Poltergeist (including the actual "Poltergeist" remake), just with different titles.  However, I believe there is some great horror out there.  Films like "It Follows", "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" (remake), "You're Next" are terrific.  There is also a film coming out this fall called "The Final Girls" which I fell in love with at SXSW back in March.  I feel that people who grew up loving films like "The Howling" will get a kick out of "Howl" which we are thrilled to be showing this year.

Q: Films like “The Babadook” “Housebound” and films by directors like Ti West and Adam Wingard are bringing back an old-school 70s and 80s feeling back to the horror genre, is this something you feel helps horror or are films like this keeping old fans happy while forgetting about creating new fans of the genre?

A: I feel bringing back the old school style of horror works if the movie you are making is actually good.  Anything can become stagnant if the same thing gets churned out over and over again.  The trick is to try and reinvent an idea that has already existed. BTW, Ti West and Adam Wingard are both fantastic filmmakers.  I would also like to see more from Fede Alvarez (his remake of "Evil Dead" impressed me).

Q: What films would you put on you “Horror Mount Rushmore?”

A: A Nightmare on Elm Street, An American Werewolf in London, Halloween, and Superman IV" The Quest for Peace.  Friday the 13th Part II

Q: What are your thoughts on “found footage?”

A: Remember that stagnant question you asked me earlier?

Q: What are your goals for future edition of “Popcorn Frights” and do you see this as a jumping off point for more film festivals in the Wynwood and Miami area?

A: We have some big ideas in regards to following up this festival.  This will be an annual event but we will also have special film events taking place throughout the year.

Follow Popcorn Frights on Facebook 

Buy your tickets HERE before they run out

Sunday, August 30, 2015

RIP Wes Craven 1939-2015

1939-2015
What can be said about a man that created nightmares....

We lost a legend on August 30st 2015 as Wes Craven was removed form this mortal coil, but he will live on in the minds and hearts of horror fans everywhere. We at Simplistic Reviews say this sucks and....well....it sucks.

While his filmography has had its series of ups-and-downs, there is no denying his influence on not just the horror genre, but film in general.

While this is just one man's opinion, but of course it's the right one, here is my Top Five List Wes Craven Films:

5.  The People Under the Stairs (1991)
An outlier in his filmography, but also one of his most out of the box horror efforts. Always one to make a social message, Craven chose "Stairs" to talk about income inequality and the failure of Reaganomics in the inner city. There are also tones of child abuse and the breakdown of the seemingly All-American Family in the suburbs. This also one of the first screen appearances by Ving Rhames and there are scenes of nice tension and of course gore. People think "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Scream" when they think of Craven, but "Stairs" is certainly one of his strongest efforts.

4. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Do you want a creepy voodoo story, look no further than "The Serpent and the Rainbow." Filmed in the Dominican Republic due to political turmoil in Haiti, Craven weaves a tale about "real" zombies and includes the corruption and political strife that was gripping Haiti at the time into the storytelling. By no means is this film perfect, but it is perfectly unsettling and the trippy visuals add a lot of style.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
I wrestled with this decision as I understand that normally its sacrilegious to not make "A Nightmare on Elm Street" the guaranteed number one on any Wes Craven list, but hey, its not my number one. The creation of Freddy Krueger is one of the most iconic in not just horror history, but in film itself. At the time the concept of a monster that you couldn't hide from, even in your dreams, was revolutionary and all but perfected the slasher genre. My one big gripe, and this is only recently, and after watching "Never Sleep Again" is the way the ending was changed in order to create a create a series of films as opposed to just one great horror film. Mind you, just my opinion, but the sequels do play into my overall opinion of the film itself.

2. Scream 2 (1997)
Yes, it's true, I prefer "Scream 2" to the original. While "Scream" reinvigorated the horror genre and pretty created a new wave in slasher cinema, "Scream 2" used the template used and made a sequel worthy of the original. There are old faces and new faces and a good twist that kept the "Scream" mythology going for two more sequels.

1. New Nightmare (1994)
The beginning of self-referential Craven was "New Nightmare" a love letter to all "Nightmare" fans. Much of the whole of the original cast shows up in cameos, and Heather Langenkamp shines in a role that made her a star 20 years before this film. You could see Craven took all he learned from his years as a horror director/writer and put his heart and soul into something that he held dear for so many years despite the sour taste I'm sure he had in his mouth in the years following the original film.


  


Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Razor Blades in the Popcorn" Horror Film Fest Comes to Miami This October



Looking for a film festival? Looking for a film festival in Miami? Looking for a film festival in Miami centered around horror? Well you're in luck this October as O Cinema, in Miami's Wynwood District, hosts The 1st Annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival.

From October 1st to the 4th, O Cinema will be featuring several horror films, including Florida premieres of "Tales of Halloween" and "Howl." Short films will be on display too that run the gamut of a Thanksgiving robbery gone wrong to a man with a crow growing out of his hand.

For more information click on the links below, and as a special treat, next week we'll have an interview with Marc Ferman and Igor Shteyrenberg, co-program directors of this year's festival.

Location: O Cinema Wynwood (90 NW 29th St)

Scare up some tickets right HERE

Give the film schedule a peek right HERE

HERE are the films on the docket 

Be in the know about all things Popcorn Frights by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 53) August 2015

                                                           FOR MATURE AUDIENCES


Alright!  Alright!  The world can keep on spinning, cuz The Simplistic Reviews Podcast is back!  The irreverency level of the podcasting universe has just gone up as the boys barrel back into the world of movies and television once again.  First they catch up with some of the stuff they missed with our annual segment Can You Dig It.   Then the boys do a postmortem of True Detective Season 2 and sell Justin on the USA Network Show Mr. Robot.   The boom boxes are held high to close off the show as they once again play the game Simply Say Anything.

Hulk Hogan is dealt with, Sesame Street is repurposed, Hateful 8 is dismissed for legal reason, and The Fantastic Four is laughed at...all on this return episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Gallows

The Gallows: Unlikeable

81 mins / Horror / 2015 

The whole film is pretty unlikeable, down to the characters, the story and the way it was filmed.


 (This girl's face will get on your nerves)
Characters: There isn't much to say except I could careless about any of them. The most annoying bunch of characters I've seen in a longtime. Usually you're rooting for someone, not even "Charlie" who in one of those TV spots was placed on the same shelf as Freddy, Michael and Jason.

Yeahhh about that.... not even close.

Story: What story? Kids break into a school after hours and die.


Fun Fact: The actors names are the same in the movie for their characters name. They didn't even spend the time to give their characters names, let alone any real back story or weight.

Filmed: This one character (can't remember his name nor do it care) shoots everything at school with his camera. So yeah another found footage.

Why films like this are picked up by a big studio to distribute is beyond me. So many good independent projects that never get a big break but this does. Wait why am I saying that? Of course the studios did, they're stupid.

And this is why I never go see horror films anymore.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine - Cyborg 2

LACKLUSTER

Continuing our little celebration of Arnold returning to the silver screen as a futuristic killing machine, I bring to you the third film in this series. The “3rd” you ask? But it's called “Cyborg 2”, not “Cyborg 3” you say. That's another movie entirely. “What Gives?” you ask. Well stop sayin' and askin' crap! You will learn all about that in due time.

The year was 1993. Mulder introduced Skully to the world of the paranormal, the hit television show “Cheers” came to an end, we all learned how dangerous Raptors are with the release of Jurassic Park, and the world began to ask, “Got Milk?”. All this and Angelina Jolie makes Phillip K. Dick proud as she plays a human-like replicant in “Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow”.

THE SKINY
The film begins by explaining that in the year 2074, the world was locked in a corporate battle between Kobayashi Electronics (Japan) and Pinwheel Robotics (USA). They struggled against one-another for dominance in the field of cyborg manufacturing. Naturally, cyborgs have replaces humans in nearly every respect. “From the soldier in the field, to the prostitute in the brothel”.

The landscape is dense, mechanical and filthy – in the kind of way that becomes a cyber-punk's wet dream. But to me it seems unbearable. If I lived there, I'd just kill myself and let a cyborg take my place at the cheesecake factory. Ironically, when I worked there, we no longer made cheesecake. The factory had been retrofitted to produce soylent. Our slogan was; “It's not as good, but it's good for you!. That was before all the Apocalypse was stuff.

Any how, Pinwheel has designed a new type of seducing cyborg. But they weren't created for pleasure. They were created for corporate espionage. They use a highly flammable liquid explosive as a coolant, and after the cyborg successfully targets and seduces their mark, they detonate when they orgasm. Okay, it isn't explained quite like that. However, it is exactly what happens.



Now we meet Cash, Angelina Jolie, who just so happens to be one of these dangerous robo-vixens. She is being trained/practicing/being tested in some for of martial arts by Colt – played by none other than Elias Koteas, who you may remember as Casey Jones, from a little thing called “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

Cash is designed to feel human emotions, as a way to keep her deadly intentions a secret. This makes her all the more believable – right up to the moment she explodes. But because of this Cash develops feelings for Colt. Colt can't control his urges either, and soon the two of them are rendezvousing deep within the bowels of Pinwheel late at night. This sort of thing is a major no-no. Pinwheel can't let their expensive new cyborgs get all filled up with ooie-gooie man juice.

Once Cash is discovered missing from her room, security is alerted and they search the facility. Cash and Colt slowly make their way outside, not before fighting off wave after wave of Pinwheel's armed guards.


This whole event – the rendezvous, the security alert and Cash 'N' Colt being tipped off that they are being pursued by security – is the handy work of a hacker who goes by the name Mercy, Jack Palance. He also explains to Cash what exactly her purpose is. Now the odd couple --  those “Robo-Sexuals” – have to stay on the lamb long enough to have Cash's detonator removed, all while Mercy continues to guide them from he secret hacker lair.

Now that the couple are on the outside, Pinwheel hires Danny Bench, Billy Drago, who is a contract killer who Pinwheel routinely use to hunt down escapee and defective androids. His job this time is to find the couple, kill Colt and return Cash to Pinwheel.
While Cash 'N' Colt traverse the dystopian city-scape running from Bench, Mercy starts to make his presence known to Pinwheel. As it turns out, Mercy once worked for Pinwheel, and like Colt, he fell in love with one of their androids. When his supervisors found out, Mercy was fired and his android bride was confiscated and destroyed. Now, Mercy has been helping Cash 'N' Colt less out of the kindness of his heart, and more as a way to exact his revenge on Pinwheel. The escape of Cash was part of Mercy's carefully thought out plan to use Cash against them.

As the film nears it's end, Mercy arranges an escape for Cash 'N' Colt. They are to leave on an outbound cargo ship, but there is a catch. For the two to get aboard, Colt must win their place on the ship by fighting to the death in an underground bare-knuckle boxing match. And who will Colt fight? None other than Bench. This whole part feels kind of tacked on and unnecessary. It also feels like “Casablanca”, how a do-gooder aids a fleeing couple in a self sacrificing act as the ship/plain is about to leave the country.
So yes, Colt and his robo-bride do manage to escape after Colt murders Bench by pushing him into the spinning boat propeller. With a little help from Mercy and his automatic shotgun, the couple make their way to the ship just as some of Pinwheel‘s security guards arrive to “break up the party“. But we kinda knew that was going to happen anyway, right?

The film ends with Mercy paying one last visit to Pinwheel headquarters. He brings with him Cash's extracted glass shadow detonator, which he tricks the Pinwheel CEO into detonating. In a final act of defiance, Mercy blows up Pinwheel, it's CEO as well as himself. I'm assuming this was followed by Kobayashi Electronics taking over the entire robotics market. The End

THE VERDICT
“Cyborg 2” kinda, sorta, has the right idea. Deep down in there there are concepts that – if fleshed out a bit better – could have really given this film a point. For instance, robots who learn to love and how they fit and adapt in society, could be interesting. Or better yet, the film could have posed the question; “When is being not human, human enough?”. Since Colt has fallen in love with Cash, and even wants to put his noodle in her slop tube, at what point does Cash stop being a robot and start being a human inside a normal human relationship. She looks sounds and smells human after all.

This type of film could have offered up some heavy ideas while still being laced with shoot-out/kung-fu action. As for the action, it reminds me a bit of the Pam Anderson flick “Barbwire”. “Barbwire” was nothing more than a futuristic re-telling of “Casablanca”, starring an indie comicbook heroine – which I should also review by the way. This felt a lot like “Barbwire” in the way that all the action and “heavy ideas” take a backseat to the survival driven love story. That's all fine and well, but it felt like both, the action and the love story, were pulling to two different direction. As if the action and fight sequences were there just to remind us that it was an action flick.

Oh well. It's an interesting piece of science fiction that reflects the times in which it was made, as well as a fond appreciation for films like “Blade Runner” and certain anime. Not to mention that it has an interesting cast for a film that feels like it was straight to video. Soon to be stars like Jolie, and familiar faces like Drago. Drago is one of those actors who I always think of as being typecast in the genre of horror, and like Clint Howard, it just isn't true. They have faces for horror I guess.
So in conclusion, “Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow” isn’t too good, but it isn't too bad either. It offers something a little different from the other “Cyborg” films and is worth a watch if you are interested in the series. However there is another cyborg/action/love story that I can whole heartedly recommend, and it's called “Cherry 2000”. It has a very similar story, involving the future and sex robots, but the story is better told and is more fun to watch. It's a soon to be cult film, as soon as people learn what it is. It's one part grindhouse, one part noire and three parts cheeky entertainment.

I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip in The Action Movie Time Machine. Until next time, SEMPER FI PUNK!

For more from Cory, check out slaughterfilm.com. The home of weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!


Monday, August 10, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 52): Never Too Young To Die - Movie Commentary: August 2015

A secret agent is murdered! 

Can his son, a high school gymnast, along with a spy catch the man/woman who killed him? 

Team up with DJ and Justin to find out on the next Monday Night Movie Night!



Never Too Young To Die

92 mins / Action / 1986
Secret agent Drew Stargrove is brutally murdered by the ruthless Van Ragnar. In this action-packed Bond-style thriller, the murdered secret agent's son, Lance Stargrove is thrust into the dangerous and intriguing world of secret agents and espionage when he seeks revenge against Van Ragnar. Danja Deerling teams up with Lance as his sidekick and love interest. 

Watch along with the film HERE
Taglines to tickle your fancy!
Stargrove: the new American hero.
Vanity: the new breed of temptress! Stamos: the new breed of hero!
At the age of 18, every government agency wanted him... dead or alive.
He inherited all his father's enemies and only one of his friends.
Action: Bond style. Beauty: Vanity style. Hero: American style.



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