Movies

The Good Things Devils Do

When we were asked to review The Good Things Devils Do I was genuinely surprised at the lack of publicity it had received. Kane Hodder AND Bill Oberst Jr. in the same flick?! A quick skim through the heaps of praise lauded by the few critics who’d reviewed it and I was sold. I couldn’t wait to watch it! Now, I’m left dumbfounded. Did we really watch the same movie? I gotta admit I was disappointed.

I don’t know if there’s a reluctance among some critics to give negative feedback (especially when there’s such big names involved). Indeed, they may well have enjoyed it. But I gotta be honest this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Synopsis

Richard, a small-time gangster is retiring. Before he can, he must take one last job: to steal money from a rival gangster’s house. Miles apart, Melvin (David Rucker III) is a reluctant family man who has dreams of becoming a famous curator for his Museum of the Macabre. His newest acquisition? The remains of the notorious Masquerade, a vampire born from the embers of hell, slain centuries ago. On Halloween Night, their paths will collide and they’ll be forced to work together to fight centuries-old evil with everything on the line.

Directed by Jess Norvisgaard and also starring Linnea Quigley, Mary Katherine O’Donnell, Kelley Wilson Robinson and Veronika Stoykova

The Good Things Devils Do

Acting

Let’s start with the positives first! Hodder, Oberst Jr. and O’Donnell delivered some outstanding performances. Hodder’s portrayal of a sadistic psychopath was spot on. With his hefty frame and menacing glare, the role was perfect for him and he pulled it off with ease. O’Donnell’s quirky, impulsive character offered a feel-good vibe and was able to lighten the mood whenever she was on-screen. Finally, Oberst Jr. delivers yet again in the lead role which he carries flawlessly throughout the entire flick. With another highly convincing performance, he makes the role his own and proves his versatility yet again.

However, I’ve got to say I was disappointed with the role appointed to Linnea Quigley. We’re all aware of her acting prowess from her string of roles in 80’s horror flicks. Yet, there seemed to be little emphasis on her character in The Good Things Devils Do despite her being a constant presence throughout. Another issue is some of the action scenes were way too staged. They didn’t flow well and at times they were painful to watch. Yet, other times they were a joy to behold! The contrast was just bizarre. Almost like two movies spliced into one, but we’ll talk about that later.

The Good Things Devils Do

Effects

Okay, so the makeup and effects in this movie are definitely one of its highlights. The sheer amount of gore is more than enough to satisfy the bloodlust of any horror fiend. Add to that the impressive kills and attention to detail of blood flow, and it’s certainly outstanding from that perspective. John Lauterbach‘s talent is a credit to the movie and pushes The Good Things Devils Do to a whole new level.

The Big Issue

After watching the movie I was genuinely perplexed. Was it supposed to be a comedy? A genuine horror? I couldn’t tell. I was so tormented by Norvisgaard’s apparent indecisiveness that I watched it again. Admittedly, the second time it was a bit better, but the issue was still there. I mentioned earlier that it feels like it’s two movies merged into one. At times it feels like it should be a comedy (albeit some of the ‘comedic’ elements fell flat…) Yet, when it came to Hodder and Oberst Jr’s characters, they were just so intense it felt like a gripping, nail-biting flick.

That being said, it’s still worth a watch. The cast alone make it worthwhile but when you throw in the make-up, gore and effects you’ve got a fairly good flick. With Norvisgaard just starting out it’s definitely a commendable effort and his filmmaking prowess is clearly evident. If he’s able to establish a clear theme for his next movie and stick with that, the end result could be absolutely phenomenal.

Check out the trailer below!

The Good Things Devils Do is available now on digital and DVD.

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Immortal

Immortal features a star-studded cast headlined by Tony Todd (Candyman), Dylan Baker (Trick ‘r Treat) and Robin Bartlett (Shutter Island). There’s also Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds), Vanessa Lengies (Waiting…), and Agnes Bruckner (The Woods) among many more. The movie is a stunning collection of horror stories each as impactive as the last.

A chilling horror/thriller anthology film told in four chapters, Immortal also boasts career-best performances from a cast that includes Award-winning actor Mario Van Peebles (“Posse”, “New Jack City”), Lindsay Mushett (“Blue Bloods”), and Jason Stuart (The Infiltrators) with a talented ensemble of filmmakers consisting of Tom ColleyJon Dabach, Danny Isaacs and Rob Margolies weaving the exhilarating crosspatch of thrills together.

Synopsis

Thrown into the face of death only to emerge unharmed, the characters of Immortal are left staring at eternity in the face with uncertainty and fear like they’ve never imagined. The film follows Chelsea, a high school track star who comes clean about sexual misconduct with her coach only to find out her confession might be too late, Gary and Vanessa, a young, expecting married couple who scheme a morbid solution to their financial issues, Ted, a man filled with sorrow who agrees to euthanize his cancer-ridden wife Mary, and Warren, a young man with little direction in life who is forced to discover his new gifts after a tragic accident.

Review

Immortal

Chelsea – This first segment is a solid opener with two great performances from Lindsay Mushett and Dylan Baker. Mr Shagis (Baker) witnesses an awkward exchange between his student, Chelsea (Mushett), and the school coach (Michael Shenefelt). After class, Chelsea confides in her teacher who encourages her to report sexual misconduct. However, the story takes a drastic turn when Chelsea is abducted. Waking up in the wilderness, she now has new dilemma – how to escape her captor alive.

Baker’s impressive performance is what makes this segment stand out. With his warm, calm demeanour and the rapport he has with his students, he becomes instantly likeable and convincing as a teacher. There’s also some great effects, outstanding cinematography and a build up of suspense at the conclusion of the story.

Immortal

Gary and Vanessa – By now, the theme has been well and truly established. With this second instalment we’re wondering how immortality is going to play a part in this gripping tale. Gary (Brett Edwards) and Vanessa (Bruckner) are a young, married couple expecting their first baby. However, suffering from severe financial difficulty they hatch a morbid plan to try and rectify this issue. With a few hiccups along the way, the scheme is eventually successful. However, in a surprise turn of events, not all was as it seemed from the outset. Greed, betrayal and a good dose of karma play a significant part in the conclusion of this great segment.

This story definitely had the biggest twist, with an ending that could be open to interpretation. Mario Van Peebles makes a brief appearance as Carl, who inadvertently thwarts the couple’s scheme. Well, initially at least. Another good example of brilliant effects, makeup and storyline with a somewhat satisfying ending (depending on your interpretation).

We’re halfway there…

Immortal

Ted and Mary – This segment was thoroughly heartbreaking. The first two stories gave us an entertaining view of death, immortality and satisfying endings. Not this one. This story brings us crashing back to the realities of death, sorrow and loneliness. Ted (Todd) and his cancer-ridden wife Mary (Bartlett) have agreed to be interviewed before Mary’s passing. They each give emotional accounts of their lives together. Ted informs interviewer, Alex (Lengies), that he will be euthanising Mary later that evening. But, given the theme of the anthology, not everything goes to plan.

Tony Todd’s performance in this story is absolutely outstanding. The emotion he manages to evoke and the genuine sorrow in his eyes proves once again he is an actor of the highest calibre. Both he, and Robin Bartlett bring an authenticity to their roles which is unparalleled in comparison to the others. The heartbreaking story plays out like a modern day Shakespearean tragedy with credit due to the Writer/Director.

Immortal

Warren – The final story in this anthology follows Warren (Levine). It’s his birthday, and Warren seemingly has nothing to do. Reminiscing with his mother on the phone, he steps into the road where he’s hit by a car. His twisted corpse lies in the road with the driver fleeing the scene. However, to Warren’s surprise (but not so much to ours given we know the theme by now…) he’s alive! He heads home with the licence plate of the vehicle under his arm (it fell off during the collision). Does he go about his immortal life happily? Or does he seek revenge? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Levine’s acting skills shine throughout this one. Starting out despondent and apathetic, his character becomes more driven as he comes to terms with being immortal. With great cinematography, nice effects and a satisfying ending, this is another great segment. Admittedly, it would’ve been nice to have had a more hard-hitting finale. But, maybe I’m just being picky now.

Overall

To conclude, Immortal has got to be one of the best anthologies I’ve seen this year. The acting was brilliant throughout and the twists and turns kept us guessing along the way. I would happily sit through another four of these easily.

Check out the trailer here

Immortal is available for sale or rental on demand now from Stonecutter Distribution.

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Chills Down Your Spine

It’s been over four years since we reviewed the Shivers Down Your Spine Anthology. Made up of 10 stories, the original collection was a labour of love, taking four years and only $750 to complete! Now, Dead Lantern Pictures is back with twice the thrills, twice the kills and twice the chills! Their latest anthology, Chills Down Your Spine, is more ambitious than ever. The no-budget outfit from Nebraska have put together a wide variety of stories. From animation, western, film noir, a Lovecraftian apocalypse, even an intermission, the anthology has it all!

Just like Shivers, the Chills Down Your Spine anthology is laced with comedy, unusual storylines, unique characters and a whole load of b-movie goodness. Over 75 cast and crew members collaborated to make the collection and after nearly 5 years of production, we’re happy to report that this anthology is even better than their first!

Chills Down Your Spine


Synopsis

ROAD TRIP (Wraparound 1): Jeff, still searching for Sabiah after the events of Shivers Down Your Spine, finds a new lamp in an arcade. Upon rubbing it, out pops not Sabiah, but her little sister, Mahktoonah. Together, the two go on an ancient Road Trip that just so happens to be quite the odyssey… 

C’MON BABY LIGHT MY FLAME (Wraparound 2): Sabiah’s lamp is found by a sadistic killer who is biding his time in order to carve out her flame and bring about the destruction of the world!

THE DEVIL’S CORKSCREW: A group of thieves try to escape being hunted down by the owner of their stolen gold, all while dealing with their own internal issues in this intriguing Western.

ISABELLE RETURNS: Isabelle Wakeworth rises from the grave to murder horny co-eds in this animated tale of terror.

THE DITCH: A group of strangers come together and find something very interesting in a Nebraska ditch…

BED AND BREAKFAST: A young girl is hunted by a sadistic ghoul at an old Bed and Breakfast on a dark and stormy night…

INTERMISSION: Three individuals watch the first half of CHILLS DOWN YOUR SPINE and give you their important thoughts!

Chills Down Your Spine

HYSTERIA!: A burlesque troupe arrives for a show on Halloween night only to be wrapped up in a comedic, Scooby Doo-esque murder mystery!

BLOOD MODEL: An artist tries to find inspiration in a beautiful model but finds he’s having trouble getting his paintings to look right.

THE WHIRLPOOL OF NIGHT: A private investigator has to steal an object from a powerful woman with deadly results..

THE CALLING OF THE THINGS BEYOND: Reality begins to break and crack when a young woman finishes a cursed play…

As I’m sure you can tell, this is a LONG collection. But you can’t complain that you’re not getting value for money. They’ve even been courteous enough to provide an intermission!

Check out the trailer below

Release

Blurays and DVDs will be available later this year and, as with all Dead Lantern films, the Bluray special features will be STACKED:

  • Feature Length Outtake Reel
  • Feature Length Behind the Scenes Documentary
  • Multiple Audio Commentary Tracks
  • Bonus films: THE APARTMENT and BED AND BREAKFAST (BLACK AND WHITE)
  • ETERNAL NIGHT OF THE DEAD: THE LOST FOOTAGE w/ Commentary
  • HYSTERIA! Music video
  • CHILLS DOWN YOUR SPINE: Auditions and Read Throughs!
  • Sneak Peak at RETURN OF THE ROBO-MUMMY FROM OUTER SPACE PART 7!
  • And more!

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Animal Among Us

At Erebus Horror we all love a good creature feature! They tend to be fun, gory and allow upcoming filmmakers to show their mettle. Sometimes the creature doesn’t play the pivotal role, as seen in our review of ‘Monstrous’. Other times, it’s not actually a ‘creature’ at all! But with all instances, the movie can be hugely enjoyable providing it’s got a good storyline, stellar acting and effective use of budget. So where does Animal Among Us sit? Let’s find out!

Synopsis

Christian Oliver (“Sense8”, House of Good & Evil) and Larisa Oleynik (“Mad Men”, 10 Things I Hate About You) come face to face with hirsute terror in John Woodruff’s highly-anticipated horror throwback, Animal Among Us.

Fifteen years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed as an animal attack, the camp was condemned, and the killer never found. But something horrific still waits in those woods, ready to kill again.

Also starring Don Frye, Christine Donlon, Jonathan Murphy, Erin Daniels, Heather Tom, Jasmine Dustin, and Whitney Davis.

Animal Among Us

Cited as ‘Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers’, the movie opens with a distressed woman covered in blood and with no indication as to what’s happened. This then cuts to Oleynik in her role as ranger Anita. She drives into the Merrymaker Camp unaware she is being watched. From the creature’s POV we see her depart, before it raises a clawed hand in all its beautiful, b-movie goodness. The tone is set and the movie certainly doesn’t disappoint!

Review

So lets talk about the acting. Animal Among Us is perfectly cast with an array of talent who all give an outstanding performance. Each took their role to a whole new level. Anita’s driven and ambitious character is a stark contrast to sister Poppy’s (Donlon) cautious, yet seductive manner. Then we’ve got the suave, self-righteous Roland (Oliver) and tough, cigar-chomping Burl (Frye). Throw in a bit of humour courtesy of Jonathan Murphy’s character and you’ve got an exceptional lineup!

Animal Among Us

Now, storyline. It is a pretty good story. It’s well thought out and has a number of twists and turns along the way that keeps it from going stale. The only problem is the creature. I’m not going to give anything away, but what I will say is that the movie does risk disappointing a lot of monster enthusiasts who go into this hoping to see a ‘traditional’ creature-feature. However, does the unconventional approach take anything away from the movie? I wouldn’t say so. What I would say is selling the movie under the phrase ‘Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers’ is a bit misleading. I can kind of see Friday the 13th link (at a stretch) in that its set at a campsite… But Dog Soldiers? I have no idea where that link is.

Written by Jonathan Murphy. Produced by Murphy and Woodruff. Animal Among Us is available free and exclusive on Tubi from Uncork’d Entertainment

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Escape: Puzzle of Fear

Anyone who has been to an Escape Room knows just how fun they can be! Usually adopting certain themes, the game requires you to solve a series of puzzles within an allotted time in order to escape from the room. If you manage to decipher the clues before the time runs out – you win. If not – you lose. Sounds like the ideal premise for a horror movie, right? Writer Lizze Gordon would agree!

Synopsis

Omar Gooding (Barbershop) and Nicholas Turturro (BlacKkKlansman) feature in this summer’s most terrifying enigma of frights, Escape : Puzzle of Fear!

Hot-shot Hollywood agent Matthew Blake (Tommy Nash) has a dark past. He thinks that he is on his way to a double date with his oldest friend to a new Escape Room in Los Angeles. When the couples are locked into the Escape Room, Matthew quickly finds himself at the center of a revenge plot meant to right the wrongs of his past, with deadly results.

Escape: Puzzle of Fear

Starring Aubrey Reynolds in a pivotal role, the story plays out as you’d expect it. Unsurprisingly, the Escape Room turns out to be more sinister than initially thought. What follows is a series of trials that gradually uncover Matthew’s sinister past. Now, to be honest, this was predictable from the first flashback scene and I don’t think it was meant to be a jaw-dropping bombshell when the secrets are uncovered. However, that being said, there was a nice twist at the end which was satisfying enough to finish the movie on.

Lizze Gordon is definitely a Writer/Director to keep an eye on and certainly making her mark on the horror industry. We recently reviewed her spellbinding feature Coven and this latest feature shows just how versatile she can be. But, as with any upcoming filmmaker, there are always issues with budget. Escape: Puzzle of Fear would definitely benefit from a financial injection to rectify some of the disappointing effects that are used. For instance, whilst the electric shock scene provided a nostalgic trip to the days of yore, the blue lightning effects tend to detract from productions made in this day and age.

Overall

Overall, the movie was enjoyable with quite a good storyline. Think Saw without the gore, combined with a milder I Spit On Your Grave storyline and you’ll be close. Cinematography was great for the majority and the acting was pretty good as well. Aubrey Reynolds in particular delivered a stand up performance and was certainly well cast for the role.

Check out the trailer!

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You can check out the Escape: Puzzle of Fear IMDB page here