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Month: August 2015

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
August 31, 2015

RIP Wes Craven 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.
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.

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.

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.

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