All posts tagged gore

The Last Laugh

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

When you think about it, Slashers have been around for more than half a century! Influences of Slasher movies like the giallo films, 60’s classics Psycho and Peeping Tom etc. paved the way for the subgenre we know today. In that time, we’ve seen it all; wide varieties of masks/disguises, every motive imaginable, the twists and turns and urban legends brought to life. It’s pretty much impossible to make a Slasher these days without incorporating one or more countless stereotypes that we’ve come to know and love. Fortunately, this doesn’t deter new, upcoming filmmakers. Jeremy Berg is the latest director to give us a Slasher offering with his latest flick The Last Laugh.


A stand-up comedian on the verge of breakout success must make a terrible choice when he discovers a murderer on the loose in the theatre where he’s about to perform his biggest show

Starring Steve Vanderzee, Eric Stone, Lowell Deo, Angela DiMarco and Meranda Long.

The Last Laugh


The movie started out fairly well. Myles (Vanderzee) is clearly a struggling comedian. Stood on stage, he goes through his repertoire to a near-empty venue with barely a snigger from the audience. His manager then informs him of a make or break gig in the Pantages Theare. His act will be the undercard to popular comedian Reggie Ray (Deo). Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of Myles’ wife who has died; a strong indicator of his poor, recent performance. However, before Myles takes to the stage, people start getting murdered by a masked killer. With the bodies piling up, will the hapless comedian live to see the curtain rise? You’ll have to watch to find out!

There are really only two locations in The Last Laugh (the bar and the theatre) but Berg makes it work. The theatre is more like a labyrinth with twists, turns and dead ends. The perfect location if you want to start slicing and dicing folk. The whole theatrical concept isn’t lost either. Despite the same method of murder (for the majority), the humble knife doesn’t get old with some creative kills along the way.

The Last Laugh


The characters are hit and miss. Vanderzee does a good job portraying the struggling comedian and his afflictions with mental health. Yet, the character isn’t really likeable. In fact, besides Bethany (Long) and Andy (Marcus Leppard) most of the characters aren’t likeable at all! This kind of takes away the fun of a Slasher. You’re not really rooting for anyone, just waiting for them all to die. However, having said that, there are a fair few kills so you won’t be disappointed on that front.

Speaking of kills, the acting could’ve been a bit better with those. I mean, when you get stabbed it HURTS! Yet, there seems to be a reluctance with some of the actors to scream, cry out or even whimper. Not all of them, but enough to raise eyebrows. We also don’t get much character development, which is a shame as there’s potential there for pretty much every role.

The entire movie has a bit of a Scooby Doo feel. The whole ‘whodunnit’ theme starts from the outset and as more and more people are killed, the list of suspects starts to dwindle. I was half expecting the killer to be caught in an elaborate trap, then being demasked to reveal the butler or something. However, the ending doesn’t quite play out that way…

Check out the trailer for The Last Laugh below


Overall, it’s not a bad flick. There are a lot of stabby murders, some decent effects and a sinister score that’s played throughout. Perhaps the deaths could have been a bit more convincing and maybe the character storylines explored a bit more. But, in my opinion, the big issue is the Marmite ending. You’re either going to love it or hate it. For me, I wasn’t a fan. But then again I was waiting for the butler to be demasked…

What do you think of the The Last Laugh? Like the sound of it? Let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram or in the comments below!

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Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

Independent horror constantly shows us that it can rival the efforts of its mainstream counterparts. With awesome special effects, great acting and stunning locations, many could easily be mistaken for a big budget flick. In fact, only recently we’ve reviewed such movies. The terrific acting in The Legend of the Muse, the stunning scenery in The Faceless Man and the great effects in both are prime examples. Redwood Massacre: Annihilation literally has all of the above.


A stranger obsessed with the unsolved Redwood murders, convinces a group of bereaved family members to venture into the wilderness in hope of proving the existence of the infamous killer. Their quest for truth sees a sinister turn of events, as the hunters become the hunted. A blood-soaked fight for survival ensues when they find that the tales of the axe-wielding maniac are very real.

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation


The movie opens with a massacre. The Burlap Killer strolls amongst a sea of bodies, slicing and dicing survivors amid a cacophony of wails and screams. It’s a solid opening, giving viewers a reminder of the Burlap Killer’s brutal, unrelenting nature. This is then followed with another murder by a different killer! However, he’s just as sadistic as our main antagonist.

After this prologue we’re treated to some great cinematography. It has to be said, Scotland is an absolutely stunning place. With rolling hills, winding streams and endless landscapes, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque location. Yet, the vast majority of the movie takes place in an underground military bunker. I mean, it makes sense. The beauty of the Scottish countryside would definitely detract from the brutal murders occurring throughout the flick! Director David Ryan Keith certainly made the best decision on that front.

Whilst we’re talking about good decisions, let’s focus on the acting!

Who’s who?

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

The film is made up of a stellar cast each bringing a unique aspect to the storyline. Danielle Harris plays her role as Laura Dempsey superbly. A constant presence throughout the movie, Harris’ convincing portrayal of a kick ass fighter is certainly one to watch. With her confident demeanour and determination it’s easy to fear for the Burlap Killer himself as opposed to his potential victims. This is exacerbated even further when you incorporate Gary Kasper. With his huge, imposing frame and menacing persona you can’t help but yearn for a face off between him and the antagonist. Add to that the huge arsenal he brings with him, it’s not your bog-standard slasher! However, the man-mountain also has a softer side when it comes to his friends. The camaraderie displayed throughout the movie is a joy to behold.

Jon Campling is great in his role as Tom Dempsey, Laura’s father. He’s driven, yet easily swayed and is happy to let his daughter lead the way. Damien Puckler plays Max, the mysterious stranger who convinces the party to go and find the masked killer. His motives are clear from the outset and he lives up to these expectations as the movie goes on. Finally, Tevy Poe‘s portrayal of Jen is the only time the director conforms to stereotype. The flirtatious friend of Laura is a standard mould seen in the vast majority of slashers, yet, she still plays a good part and ultimately I think the movie is perfectly cast.

The Effects

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

As you can probably expect if you saw the first film, Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is rife with blood, gore and great effects. Given the small cast, we do have to wait a considerable amount of time before we get to the brutal killings, however, this just serves to build suspense. There are some great props used throughout and the creative murders are a credit to the makeup department and special effects team. There’s dismemberment, evisceration and, as you can guess, bucket loads of gore!

Overall, this movie is certainly not one to be missed and I would highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you haven’t seen the first one, you can quickly grasp the concept!

Check out the trailer here

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is coming to DVD and Digital on October 20th from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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Carrie Rickard, leaving an abusive relationship back in London, tries to escape her own past by throwing herself into her restoration project: Fairwood House, known to locals of Pagham-on-Sea as The Crows. Unable to resist as it whispers to her, Carrie’s obsession only grows when she discovers it was the site of a gruesome unsolved murder.

As Carrie digs deeper into the mystery surrounding the bloodless child stuffed up the kitchen chimney in the 1950s, she awakens dark and dangerous forces that threaten her own life.

Cue an introduction to her eldritch neighbour, Ricky Porter, a foul-mouthed modern-day Merlin in a hoody and a tracksuit, who claims he can see the future. But Ricky, as obsessed with The Crows as Carrie is, has an agenda and several secrets of his own, not least of which are what’s really under his hood, and what he’s got in the cellar…

…Is his offer of help sincere? Or is he the reason she’s doomed?

THE CROWS is a Gothic Paranormal novel for fans of haunted houses, eldritch monsters, and things that go bump in the night. Content Warning for psychological abuse, body horror, gore, strong language, and scenes of an unsettling nature.

What do you think? Sounds good? That was my first thought when I sat down to read The Crows. It was about 21:30 and I figured I’d read for an hour before heading to bed. FOUR HOURS LATER(!) I glanced at the clock. Never mind the content warnings in the blurb, it should warn you of the amount of time you inadvertently give to this book. I genuinely couldn’t put it down.

The story is gripping, immersive and written in a style that is easy to read and understand. Rosens writes as though she had lived through the tale herself. The convincing characters, descriptions of Pagham-on-Sea and the house itself all suggest she was writing from personal experience! Carrie is a down to earth, relatable character who, despite being thrown everything but the kitchen sink, manages to take it all in her stride.

However, it’s not just Carrie that is a well thought out protagonist. Each character is given their own individual personality and traits which either makes them loved or loathed. Their unique personalities and mannerisms often leads to hilarious outcomes/events (just thinking back now is making me smile)

The only downside I could find was the sheer number of characters mentioned. I occasionally found myself having to skim back a few pages to remind myself who certain characters were and how they were connected. However, that may have just been me reading too quick – a testament to how gripping the story really is. If you want an engrossing, unpredictable page-turner, The Crows is the book for you.

So, in conclusion; there’s humour, gore, compelling storyline, well written characters, with twists and turns along the way. What more could you want?

If you would like to check out the book yourself, you can find it here

And if you would like to find out more about C.M. Rosens, you can access her site here

Definitely an author to keep an eye on as she’s likely to keep going from strength to strength.

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The Tell Tale Heart

The Tell Tale Heart

If you were to go up to any horror fan today and ask them to reel off a list of horror influencers, who do you think would be mentioned first? King? Lovecraft? Maybe this generation of fans wouldn’t even mention literature. Perhaps the likes of Romero or Craven would precede all others?

Yet, the truth is most of the above names would probably never have been a horror icon if it wasn’t for the influencers of the 1800’s. Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and of course Edgar Allan Poe (among many others) sowed the seeds to what is now a rainforest of Amazonian proportions. Whilst some people may forget this, relying heavily on the influences of modern day pioneers, McClain Lindquist remains true to horror’s gothic roots.

Lindquist’s adaptation of ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ brings the story to life in just over 20 minutes. Staying true to Poe’s original prose, The Tell Tale Heart depicts The Narrator taking us through the dark realms of his psyche, all the while trying to convince us (and himself) that he is in fact sane.

I was initially intrigued as to how this visual portrayal would pan out. Would Lindquist stay true to the time period Poe originally perceived? Or would he give it a modern twist? The answer came within the first 20 seconds. Darkness, with only the fleeting conversation between a Police Officer and a Detective using current language. Modern day then? I’d say so… Until the words of the Police Officer conclude the dark sequence; “I hate the way he talks – It’s like an old movie.” Thus paving the way for The Narrator.

Depicted superbly by Sonny Grimsley, The Narrator’s prose, garb and mannerisms The Tell Tale Heartwouldn’t seem out of place on any theatrical stage. Lindquist successfully amalgamates the two time periods into one as we are taken on a journey through The Narrator’s dwindling grasp of reality. Whilst fans of Poe can be satisfied the depiction pays homage to the original, fans who have never read The Tell Tale Heart can also enjoy the traditional elements of horror throughout.

The movie contains shock, gore, suspense and most importantly it immerses the audience. We don’t just observe The Narrator’s descent into madness, we’re dragged into the abyss with him!

Alongside the great acting and directing, I feel I also need to pay tribute to the great SFX appearing throughout the movie. As you know, indie horror tends to be done on a budget, and as such we’re The Tell Tale Heartoften treated to some cringe-worthy special effects.  Yet those within The Tell Tale Heart are pretty impressive. There’s a vast amount of blood, gore and visual effects, not to mention the makeup/prosthetics used in transforming James C Morris into the old man. The SFX team have excelled and definintely need some recognition alongside everyone else involved in putting together this great short movie.

If you want to find out more or keep up to date with The Tell Tale Heart, you can connect on the links below.

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Mongrel: Son of a Bitch

Review by : Daniel Kraevyn

Mongrel: Son of a Bitch

Issue #2 cover

Created By: Edward Dunphy and Michael Kudelka
Story By: Edward Dunphy (here is his website: www.labbratz.com)
Art: Andrew Mitchell Kudelka (and his website: www.amkudelka.com)

To Donate to the Kickstarter: click here

Werewolf stories are very hit or miss, mostly belonging in the latter category. In all honesty, most of them suck, which is an unfortunate thing, as one would think that the mythos would be rife with stories that would write themselves. I guess one of the traps that practically every werewolf story falls into is that they all struggle to capture the feelings of the original Wolf Man film. Many movies, books, and comics have tried to craft a good werewolf story, and most have failed, although there have been some exceptions (notably, the first Howling film, and the Werewolf television series). Perhaps trying to capture this ubiquitous “feeling” is the very thing that leads most lycanthrope stories to vapid response.
Enter Mongrel: Son of Bitch, an indy comic by Edward Dunphy and Andrew Mitchell Kudelka. According the preface, Mongrel was originally written in the early 90’s but due to complications (read: long story of company troubles) the other two issues never saw the light of day. Now, it has been revised, colorised, and with the help of kickstarter, the first two issues are out, and the third is currently seeking funding.
This is a 1990’s era detective story, and I must say, one of the better lycanthrope tales to be released. The mood is evocative of a noir tale, the gruff monologue of a protagonist, interspersed with alternative narratives; yet the comic is injected with a modern, gritty, visceral feel. As with comics, pacing can be tedious, but this story overcomes any issues quickly. Of note: the gore. The violence is spectacular, and witholds nothing, and Kudelka shows his artistic prowess by how he is able to pose his characters, along with a very artistic and original of showing the blood splatter outside of the panels. While “nothing” is happening (no action), the characters pose normally; then the action sequences shine as Kudelka displays the sequences with precision and dramatic flare. I must also note that the werewolves themselves are awesome. I will say that perhaps the greatest challenge to werewolf movies has been to have truly scary, realistic werewolves, and Mongrel does just as the movie Dog Soldiers and the T.V. series Werewolf did for the Lycanthropes, they are fantastic.
Mongrel is a three-issue digital comic, with two issues out, and the third in it’s funding stage on Kickstarter. I recommend this read, and even to support these guys. Indy comics need all the help they can get, because there are some gems out there. I will include links below should you wish to get involved. At least read them, and enjoy a good werewolf story. As I prefaced this review, good werewolf stories are tough to come by, so be sure to experience the good ones.

To Donate to the Kickstarterclick here
Mongrel Website
Mongrel on Facebook
Mongrel on Twitter

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