Tag Archives: Dead Alive

Fright Club: Body Fluids in Horror Movies

Viscosity! That’s the name of the game today, and it’s a messy, messy game to play.

Today we slip and slide through the sloppiest movies we could find as we count down the most inspired use of body fluids in horror. The whole mess is recorded live at Gateway Film Center, so please listen.

And don’t forget to bring a towel!

5) Don’t Breathe (2016)

Fede Alvarez’s magnificent home invasion horror made this list, beating out the projectile vomit of The Exorcist, the melting bums of Street Trash, the medical what-not of Re-Animator and the viscosity of other films. How did it do it? It was not because of volume.

It’s really just the one scene.

The one with a turkey baster.

The one with the single hair.

Ew.

4) Dead Alive (1992)

The list doesn’t exist without Peter Jackson, let’s be honest. Any old horror director can work with blood. Jackson certainly can. That party scene? The arterial spray poor Lionel Cosgrove causes with his lawnmower is truly a site to behold.

But what Jackson can do with pus and a bowl of custard? Chef’s kiss right there.

3) We Are the Flesh (2016)

Emiliano Rocha Minter loves him some taboos. No one bursts through taboos like him – well, Takashi Miike, maybe.

He also really loves body fluids. We mean all the body fluids. His 2016 social commentary swims them all. All all all.

Taboos and body fluids. Sloppy!

2) Evil Dead (2013)

Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive held the record for most blood in a film – 1000 gallons – until 2013.

It’s a record Sam Raimi’s earlier Evil Dead franchise efforts had once held, but Fede Alvarez (making his second appearance on this list!) drenched all records when he poured out 50,000 gallons of fake blood in a single scene.

Allegedly It Chapter 2 tops that, but I don’t know how you out-soak a torrential downpour of blood.

Gozu (2003)

Who’s not afraid of taboos? Well, the great and prolific Takashi Miike has no fear of body fluids, either. Hell, Ichi the Killer’s title screen is done in semen and one of Audition’s most memorable moments sees a multiple amputee eating his mistress’s vomit.

But with Gozu, Miike’s not holding back: blood, urine, semen, lactation, pus and other discharges I’m not sure how to even categorize. Gozu is an inspired, viscous mess.

Fright Club: Death + Sex

A few weeks ago we covered Sex and Death. That is, the act of sex leads directly to death. Sex kills you.

This week, as a kind of wrong-headed sibling, we talk with B Movie Bros about Death and Sex. Which is to say, the death part comes first. Either party can be dead, or both can. Reanimated corpses are fine, if that’s your thing. Just as long as at least one participant is dead.

5. Living Doll (1990)

Though few scenes go by that don’t showcase Katie Orgill’s bare breasts, this odd British import is just a sweet romance at its heart. It’s a romance between a young mortician/med student and the corpse of his unrequited love, which doesn’t sound that sweet, I’ll grant you, but between Mark Jax’s delusional naivete and the strangely tender script penned by director George Dugdale with Paul Hart-Wilden and Mark Ezra, the film may openly flirt with necromancy, but it courts true romance.

Why is Christine (Orgill) buried naked? Why does everyone hide their British accents—and so poorly? Why clutter the film with so many atrocious actors? Why is Orgill so bad at holding her breath? Who knows or cares, when Eartha Kitt plays the landlady?

The film is weirdly memorable—equally grotesque and tender-hearted. You can’t exactly look past its snail’s pace or poor acting, but it works on you. There’s not much else like it.

4. The Corpse of Anna Fritz (2015)

Young hospital orderly Pau (Albert Carbo) attends the morgue, where the famous actress Anna Fritz (Alba Ribas) awaits an autopsy come morning. He secretly texts a selfie with the body to two buddies. They show up to see the body.

Soon, three young men are alone with a beautiful, naked, dead woman with absolutely no chance of being interrupted for hours. If you’re a little concerned with where this may lead, well, you should be.

As a comment on rape culture, the film is a pointed and singular horror.

Sort of a cross between 2008’s irredeemable rape fantasy Deadgirl and Tarantino’s brilliant Kill Bill, The Corpse of Anna Fritz will take you places you’d rather not go.

And while contrivances pile up like cadavers in a morgue, each one poking a hole in the credibility of the narrative being built, The Corpse of Anna Fritz has a lot more to offer than you might expect—assuming you stick it out past the first reel.

3. The Neon Demon (2016)

“Beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

So says an uncredited Alessandro Nivola, a fashion designer waxing philosophic in Nicolas Winding Refn’s (Bronson, Drive) nightmarish new film The Neon Demon.

The line, of course, is borrowed. Refn tweaks the familiar idea to suit his fluid, perfectly framed, cynical vision.

Jesse (Elle Fanning) is an underaged modeling hopeful recently relocated to a sketchy motel in Pasadena. Will she be swallowed whole by the darker, more monstrous elements of Hollywood?

Or is Ruby (Jena Malone) the godsend of a friend Jesse needs?

Nope. And she’s not to be trusted with the kind of beautiful corpses you might find in an LA mortuary, either.

2. We Are the Flesh (2016)

Are you squeamish?

First-time feature writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter announces his presence with authority—and a lot of body fluids—in this carnal horror show.

A hellish vision if ever there was one, the film opens on a filthy man with a lot of packing tape. He’s taking different types of nastiness, taping it inside a plastic drum to ferment, and eventually turning it into a drink or a drug. Hard to tell—loud drum banging follows, as well as hallucinations and really, really deep sleep.

During that sleep we meet two siblings, a teenaged brother and sister who’ve stumbled into the abandoned building where the hermit lives.

What happens next? What doesn’t?! Incest, cannibalism, a lot of shared body fluids of every manner, rape, necrophilia—a lot of stuff, none of it pleasant.

Minter has created a fever dream as close to hell as anything we’ve seen since last year’s Turkish nightmare Baskin.

There’s little chance you’ll watch this film in its entirety without diverting your eyes—whether your concern is the problematic sexuality or just the onslaught of viscous secretions, the screen is a slurry of shit you don’t really want to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnTY6q7bt78

1. Dead Alive (1992)

Rated R for “an abundance of outrageous gore,” Dead Alive is everything the young Peter Jackson did well. It’s a bright, silly, outrageously gory bloodbath.

Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) secretly loves shopkeeper Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Penalver).His overbearing sadist of a mother does not take well to her son’s new outside-the-home interests. Mum follows the lovebirds to a date at the zoo, where she’s bitten (pretty hilariously) by a Sumatran rat-monkey (do not mistake this dangerous creature for a rabid Muppet or misshapen lump of clay).

The bite kills her, but not before she can squeeze pus into some soup and wreak general havoc, which is nothing compared to the hell she raises once she comes back from the dead. Soon enough, Lionel has a houseful of reanimated corpses, some of them a bit randy.

You ever wonder where a zombie baby comes from?





Fright Club: Toolbox Horror

Who’s idea was this? Because this was super fun. Horror filmmaker can get positively inspired by what they find in a tool box or garden shed.

But where to even start? Every Friday the 13th movie, every Sleepaway Camp – basically, every camping movie.

Plus, some films really give it away with their title: Driller Killer, Toolbox Murders (both), Saw (all of them), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (all of them).

It’s a good beginning. To narrow down the list of best horror scenes using tools, we started by categorizing. Here’s what we came up with.

5. Saws: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Saws are big in horror. Lots to choose from:

  • Pieces (1982) – a lot of chainsaw action here, but the girl in the bathroom is the best/worst
  • Tucker & Dale Versus Evil (2010) – bees and chainsaws! Hooray!
  • Evil Dead reboot (2013) – after Mia tears her own hand off, she tears into Evil Mia’s head with a chainsaw
  • Evil Dead 2 (1987) – Ash puts Linda’s head in a vice, then accidentally knocks a chainsaw into her re-animated body

Winner: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
– You hated Franklin, admit it. You should probably feel bad about that, but the point is that he is the only one who actually takes the chainsaw in TCM.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTlDmehDmsQ

4. Drill: The Loved Ones (2009)

Again, a power drill is an excellent go-to for onscreen carnage. It’s like being at the dentist, only far bloodier. Several films made great use of it.

    • Driller Killer (1979) – basically every death scene
    • Body Double (1984) – our favorite scene here: Jake runs across to save the woman he’s been peeping on, and gets there in time to see the drill come through the ceiling above him, then all the blood

Winner: The Loved Ones (2009)

Bonus – also nails!

Lola (Robin McLeavy) and her dad make some effective use of several household items, but it’s the moving father/daughter bonding over the power drill that really makes an impression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hakZ4o5FPA

3. Hammer and Nail Family: Misery (1990)

A lot to work with here! Crucifixions, genetical spiking, Home Alone style shenanigans.

  • Evil Dead (2013) – nail gun to the face!
  • Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) – a serious nightmare scenario
  • You’re Next (2011) – underestimated Erin knows how to make use of all kinds of household wares, including that jug of nails she finds in the basement

Winner: Misery (1990)
Yes, it’s a mallet, but that’s in the hammer family, and no scene made 1990 movie audiences more uncomfortable than this. Poor James Caan. You know he’ll badass his way out of this situation at some point – but homey ol’ Annie (the BRILLIANT Kathy Bates) will have her way for a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zzg3UP-x8k

2. Lawnmowers: Dead Alive (1992)

Fewer options here, and most of them goofy.

  • Dr. Shock’s Tales of Terror (2003) – Here’s an obscure one, and not a great film. But, in one of the shorts (Garden Tool Murders), someone’s buried to their neck has their head’s run over with a lawnmower.
  • Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood (1988) – Yes, it’s a weed whacker. Close enough.

Winner: Dead Alive (1992)
This is the scene that made us realize we needed this countdown. Not just because it is an utterly inspired piece of splatter gore, but because it’s really the turning point for poor, sweet, milquetoast-y Lional Cosgrove.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC1d7dw24Gg

1. Scissors/Shears: Antichrist (2009)

Toughest choices here. So many outstanding possibilities!

  • The Burning (1981) & Friday 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) use gardening shears, but it’s your ordinary house scissors that do the most inspired damage.
  • May (2002) – sweet May’s first kill is an impressive piece of action with her sewing scissors
  • Felt (2014) – that puppet making is all leading somewhere…
  • Oldboy (2003) – if you haven’t seen this, we don’t want to ruin it. Suffice it to say, Dae-su wants to make sure he never says.
  • Inside (2007) – Oh, what Beatrice Dalle can do with a pair of scissors. They’re used repeatedly and really well.

Winner: Antichrist (2009)
If you haven’t seen Lars von Trier’s one all out horror show or the scene in question, we’re not going to tell. We’re not going to show you, either. We want you to be as effected by the act as MaddWolf writer Christie Robb was. We lent her the screener and she watched it while she was on a treadmill. She fell off and did herself an injury.

Not as bad as the injury in the film though, thank God.





Fright Club: Best Horror/Non-Horror Double Features

There’s always reason to be proud when one of he most established and respected directors decides to dabble in horror, and likewise, when one of our own makes it big in the mainstream. It put us in the mood for some double features: great directors, one horror movie, one non-horror movie. And the possibilities are endless. How about Scorsese’s Cape Fear/Taxi Driver? Or something a little more contemporary – maybe Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room and Blue Ruin (if you’re feeling colorful)? Oh, what fun! Let’s get started!

5. Ben Wheatley: Kill List (2011)/ High Rise (2015)

Kill List
Never has the line “Thank you” had a weirder effect than in this genre bender. Without ever losing its gritty, indie sensibility, Ben Wheatley’s fascinating film begins a slide in Act 2 from crime drama toward macabre thriller. You spend the balance of the film’s brisk 95 minutes actively puzzling out clues, ambiguities and oddities.

For those looking for blood and guts and bullets, Kill List will only partially satisfy and may bewilder by the end. But audiences seeking a finely crafted, unusual horror film may find themselves saying thank you.

High-Rise
Set inside a skyscraper in a gloriously retro London, Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise is a dystopia full of misanthropic humor.

Laing (Tom Hiddleston) narrates his own story of life inside the “grand social experiment” – a high rise where the higher the floor, the higher the tenant’s social status. Performances range from slyly understated (Hiddleston, Elizabeth Moss) to powerful (Sienna Miller, Luke Evans) to alarmingly hammy (James Purefoy), but each contributes entertainingly to this particular brand of dystopia. Still, the wicked humor and wild chaos will certainly keep your attention.

4. Peter Jackson: Dead Alive (1992) / Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Dead Alive
This film is everything the early Peter Jackson did well. It’s a bright, silly, outrageous bloodbath. Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme), destiny, a Sumatran rat monkey, an overbearing mother, a prying uncle, and true love are bathed in gore in the Kiwi director’s last true horror flick – a film so gloriously over-the-top that nearly anything can be forgiven it.

Jackson includes truly memorable images, takes zombies in fresh directions, and crafts characters you can root for. But more than anything, he knows where to point his hoseful of gore, and he has a keen imagination when it comes to just how much damage a lawnmower can do.

 

Heavenly Creatures
Jackson’s first non-horror film still follows rather horrific circumstances – New Zealand’s infamous Parker-Hulme murder case. Even fans of the director’s work to this point couldn’t have suspected he (and writing partner/write Fran Walsh) had anything this elegant and fantastical in them.

Certainly, spellbinding performances from young Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey didn’t hurt. Jackson and Walsh received their first Oscar noms for the screenplay in a film that eschews the trial, barely witnesses the crime, and focuses instead on the intense friendship that went horrifyingly wrong. It respects its source material and every person involved in the historical event, but it also understands the delirium of adolescence in a way few films do. Hobbits be damned, this is Jackson’s masterpiece.

3. David Cronenberg: Scanners (1981) / Eastern Promises (2007)

Scanners
The film that made Cronenberg an international name in the genre is about mind control – a very sloppy version of it – and that societal fear of being dominated by a stronger being. At its heart, this is another government conspiracy film wherein an agency foolishly believes they can harness an uncontrollable element for military purposes. Scanners is hardly the best of these (Alien is, FYI). But it’s gory fun nonetheless. What makes the effort undeniably Cronenberg (besides the exploding heads) is that connection between human tissue and technology.

The acting is silly, the technology is comically dated, and the computer nerd toward the end of the film inexplicably boasts a band aid on his face. But Michael Ironside is on fire and the movie ratchets up tension by keeping you wondering when the next head will explode.

Eastern Promises
In 2005, Cronenberg produced his most acclaimed and most mainstream film to date, A History of Violence. That success spawned more than an interest in non-genre fare, but also a fruitful collaboration with the underappreciated and versatile actor Viggo Mortensen.

Two years later, Mortensen would join an impeccable cast including Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and Naomi Watts in what would be the Canadian auteur’s finest film. Eastern promises is Cronenberg’s characteristically off kilter, visceral take on the mafia movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWC-ECjNqxo

2. Stanley Kubrick: The Shining (1980)/ 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

The Shining
A study in atmospheric tension, Kubrick’s vision of the Torrance family collapse at the Overlook Hotel is both visually and aurally meticulous. It opens with that stunning helicopter shot, following Jack Torrance’s little yellow Beetle up the mountainside, the ominous score announcing a foreboding that the film never shakes.

What image stays with you most? The two creepy little girls? The blood pouring out of the elevator? The impressive afro in the velvet painting above Scatman Crothers’s bed? That freaky guy in the bear suit? Whatever the answer, thanks be to Kubrick’s deviant yet tidy imagination.

2001: A Space Odyssey

After a less than enthusiastic reception from both audiences and critics in 1968, 2001 persevered, establishing its legend as perhaps the most magnificent science fiction film ever made.

Kubrick and legendary sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke adapt Clarke’s short story with ambitious vision, epic scope, precise execution. More than a film, 2001 transcends the screen to become a mind-bending look at “first contact” that elicits levels of awe and wonder reserved for timeless pieces of art.

Very simply. 2001 is essential cinema of the highest order.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8TABIFAN4o

1. William Friedkin: The Exorcist (1973)/ Killer Joe (2011)

The Exorcist
Thanks to an intricate and nuanced screenplay adapted by William Peter Blatty from his own novel, the film boasts any number of flawed characters struggling to find faith and to do what’s right in this impossible situation.

Friedkin balanced every scene to expose its divinity and warts, and to quietly build tension. When he was good and ready, he let that tension burst into explosions of terrifying mayhem that became a blueprint for dozens of films throughout the Seventies and marked a lasting icon for the genre. Even after all this time, The Exorcist is a flat-out masterpiece.

Killer Joe
Following a long, fairly quiet period, in 2011 Friedkin returned with something bold and nasty:Killer Joe. Matthew McConaughey plays the titular killer, a predator in a cowboy hat making deals with some Texas white trash. The deal goes haywire, and some crazy, mean, vividly depicted shit befalls those unthinking trailer folk.

Subdued, charming, merciless, weird, and oh-so-Southern, Joe scares the living hell out of any thinking person. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really describe the Smiths – an exquisitely cast Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Hayden Church, and a flawless Gina Gershon. This is an ugly and unsettlingly funny film about compromises, bad ideas, and bruised women. And it is the best thing Friedkin has done since The Exorcist.

 

 





Fright Club: Best Zombie Movies

Ever since Romero reimagined the mindless monster in 1968, horror cinema’s go-to beast has been the zombie. Perfect for true terror or splatter comedy – or, hell, even a romantic comedy now and again – films of the undead proliferated faster than a zombie horde. You can find them in nearly every genre, on almost every continent, and in just about every possible medium including children’s books. (If you have not read Ten Little Zombies, it makes an excellent stocking stuffer. Trust us!)

To help us hone our list we enlisted Dave Man, who kindly joins us on this week’s podcast. If you only have time for 5 (or maybe 6) zombie films, which to choose? Rest easy! We have some candidates.

5. Zombie (1979)

Originally filmed as an unofficial sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, this was director Lucio Fulci’s first true horror film, though he’d done several very violent films previously (Don’t Torture a Duckling, for instance). Shot to showcase violence, and immeasurably aided by Fabio Frizzi’s score, Zombie became a turning point in Z films and in Italian horror.

A boat docks in New York with one undead seaman aboard. A young woman and an investigative reporter head out to the island of that boat’s origins, where her father has been doing scientific work, only to find that the island is overrun with hungry walking corpses.

Fulci’s film tries to marry Romero’s take on the undead with the traditional voodoo narrative of films like White Zombie, but it’s the director’s vivid imagination for festering flesh, plus his now go-to shock of eye gouging, that helped the film make its mark. Plus, zombie-on-shark action!

4. Dead Snow (2009)

Like its portly nerd character Erlend, Dead Snow loves horror movies. A familiarly self-referential “cabin in the woods” flick, Dead Snow follows a handsome mixed-gender group of college students as they head to a remote cabin for Spring Break. A creepy old dude warns them off with a tale of local evil. They mock and ignore him at their peril.

But co-writer/director/Scandinavian Tommy Wirkola doesn’t just obey these rules. He embraces our prior knowledge of the path we’re taking to mine for comedy, but he doesn’t give up on the scares. Wirkola’s artful imagination generates plenty of startles and gore by the gallon.

Spectacular location shooting, exquisite cinematography, effective sound editing and a killer soundtrack combine to elevate the film above its clever script and solid acting. Take the gorgeous image of Norwegian peace: a tent, lit from within, sits like a jewel nestled in the quiet of a snowy mountainside. The image glistens with pristine outdoorsy beauty – until it … doesn’t.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55uGN58UOkk

3. Braindead (Dead Alive) (1992)

Rated R for “an abundance of outrageous gore,” Braindead is everything the early Peter Jackson did well. It’s a bright, silly, outrageously gory bloodbath.

Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) secretly loves shopkeeper Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Penalver). Unfortunately, Lionel’s overbearing sadist of a mother follows the lovebirds to a date at the zoo, where she’s bitten (pretty hilariously) by a Sumatran rat-monkey (do not mistake this dangerous creature for a rabid Muppet or misshapen lump of clay). The bite kills her, but not before she can squeeze pus into some soup and wreak general havoc, which is nothing compared to the hell she raises once she comes back from the dead.

Braindead is so gloriously over-the-top that nearly any flaw can be forgiven. Jackson includes truly memorable images, takes zombies in fresh directions, and crafts characters you can root for. But more than anything, he knows where to point his hoseful of gore, and he has a keen imagination when it comes to just how much damage a lawnmower can do.

2. Dawn of the Dead (1978/2004)

Romero returned to the land of the undead in ’78 with a full-color sequel to Night. Set in Philadelphia, at a news broadcast gone crazy, the film follows a news producer, her chopper pilot boyfriend, and two Philly SWAT cops ready to abandon the organized zombie fight and find peace elsewhere. The four board a helicopter, eventually landing on the roof of a mall, which they turn into their private hideaway.

Romero, make-up legend Tom Savini, and Italian horror director Dario Argento teamed up for the sequel. You feel Argento’s presence in the score and the vivid red of the gore. Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger as the buddies from SWAT create the most effective moments, whether character-driven tension or zombie-driven action. Romero’s politics are on his sleeve with this one. He uses the “z” word, digs at consumerism, shows full-color entrails, and reminds us again that the undead may not be our biggest enemy once the zombie-tastrophe falls.

Plenty of filmmakers have remade or reimagined Romero’s flicks, but none did it as well as Zack Snyder.

In Romero’s version, themes of capitalism, greed, mindless consumerism run through the narrative. Snyder, though affectionate to the source material, focuses more on survival, humanity, and thrills. (He also has a wickedly clever soundtrack.) It’s more visceral and more fun. His feature is gripping, breathlessly paced, well developed and genuinely terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpuNE1cX03c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhsutNfvuAY

1 Night of the Living Dead (1968)

From the brightly lit opening cemetery sequence to the paranoid power struggle in the house to the devastating closing montage, Night of the Living Dead teems with the racial, sexual, and political tensions of its time. An unsettlingly relevant George A. Romero knew how to push societal panic buttons.

As the first film of its kind, the lasting impact of this picture on horror cinema is hard to overstate. His inventive imagination created the genre and the monster from the ground up.

They’re dead.
They’re back.
They’re hungry for human flesh.
Their bite infects the bitten.
The bitten will eventually bite.
Aim for the head.

The shrill sense of confinement, the danger of one inmate turning on another, and the unthinkable transformation going on in the cellar build to a startling climax – one that utterly upends expectations – followed by the kind of absolutely genius ending that guarantees the film’s eternal position in the annals of horror cinema.

Listen to the whole podcast HERE.





Fright Club: Best New Zealand Horror

Sure, New Zealand is known for that delicious fuzzy little fruit, the kiwi, but there’s some fun horror to explore there as well, not all of it courtesy of Peter Jackson. Pre-LOTR, he established a legacy of particularly messy horror comedies that his countrymen have kept alive and well since his move to more mainstream efforts. From killer sheep to evil-awakening rock tunes and more, let’s dive into the top 5 horror exports from NZ!

5. Black Sheep (2006)

Graphic and gory horror comedy seems to be the Kiwi trademark, no doubt a product of the popularity of native Lord of the Gastro-Intestinal-Splatter-Fest-Laugh-Riot, Peter Jackson.

First time writer/director Jonathan King uses the isolation of a New Zealand sheep farm and the greedy evil of pharmaceutical research to create horror. He does it with a lot of humor and buckets full of blood. It works pretty well.

Evil brother Angus (Peter Feeney) has bred some genetically superior sheep while smart but sheep-phobic brother Harry (Nathan Meister) has been away. But the new sheep bite (a recurring problem with bio-genetically altered farm animals). Victims turn into, well, were-sheep. Of course they do.

The result is an endearing, often genuinely funny film. Cleverly written with performances strong enough to elevate it further, Black Sheep offers an enjoyable way to watch a would-be lamb chop get its revenge.

4. Deathgasm (2015)

Blood! Guts! Heavy metal!

New Zealand teenage outcast Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) knows he and his friends are losers, so of course they start a band to get loud and be cool!

But when their rocking involves playing an ancient piece of music known as the Black Hymn, they unwittingly summon an evil entity and the body count starts rising.

In his feature debut, writer/director Jason Lei Howden, a veteran of Peter Jackson’s special effects team, borrows heavily from Shaun of the Dead-style pacing and camerawork while managing to poke some blood-spattered fun at the “devil music” stereotypes often thrown at heavy metal.

You’ll find plenty of laughs, some rom-com elements and winning performances from both Cawthorne and Kimberley Crossman as Medina, the school beauty who can also swing a pretty mean ax.

Clever and surprisingly self-aware, Deathgasm is fine excuse to feed your inner metalhead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m6BIvN3ggM

3. Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992)

Rated R for “an abundance of outrageous gore,” Dead Alive is everything the early Peter Jackson did well. It’s a bright, silly, outrageously gory bloodbath.

Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) secretly loves shopkeeper Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Penalver), but his overbearing sadist of a mother, does not take well to her son’s new outside-the-home interests. Mum follows the lovebirds to a date at the zoo, where she’s bitten (pretty hilariously) by a Sumatran rat-monkey (do not mistake this dangerous creature for a rabid Muppet or misshapen lump of clay).

The bite kills her, but not before she can squeeze pus into some soup and wreak general havoc, which is nothing compared to the hell she raises once she comes back from the dead.

Braindead is so gloriously over-the-top that nearly anything can be forgiven it. Jackson includes truly memorable images, takes zombies in fresh directions, and crafts characters you can root for. But more than anything, he knows where to point his hoseful of gore, and he has a keen imagination when it comes to just how much damage a lawnmower can do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHWAoKzHut8

2. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

In the weeks leading up to the Unholy Masquerade – a celebration for Wellington, New Zealand’s surprisingly numerous undead population – a documentary crew begins following four vampire flatmates.

Besides regular flatmate spats about who is and is not doing their share of dishes and laying down towels before ruining an antique fainting couch with blood stains, we witness some of the modern tribulations of the vampire. It’s hard to get into the good clubs (they have to be invited in) or find a virgin. Forget about tolerating the local pack of werewolves (led by the utterly hilarious alpha Rhys Darby).

Jemaine Clement is reliably hysterical as Vladislav, and the film benefits from the same silly, clever humor seen in his series Flight of the Conchords. The filmmakers know how to mine the absurd just as well as they handle the hum drum minutia. The balance generates easily the best mock doc since Christopher Guest. It’s also the first great comedy of 2015.

1. Housebound (2014)

You need to see Housebound.

Funny and scary, smartly written and confidently directed as to take full advantage of both, this is a film that makes few missteps and thoroughly entertains from beginning to end.

Gerard Johnstone writes and directs, though his brightest accomplishment may be casting because Morgana O’Reilly’s unflinching performance holds every moment of nuttiness together with brilliance.

O’Reilly plays Kylie, a bit of a bad seed who’s been remanded to her mother’s custody for 8 months of house arrest after a recent spate of bad luck involving an ATM and a boyfriend who’s not too accurate with a sledge hammer.

Unfortunately, the old homestead, it seems, is haunted. Almost against her will, she, her hilariously chatty mum (Rima Te Wiata) and her deeply endearing probation officer (Glen-Paul Waru) try to puzzle out the murder mystery at the heart of the haunting. Lunacy follows.

Good horror comedies are hard to come by, but Johnstone manages the tonal shifts magnificently. You’re nervous, you’re scared, you’re laughing, you’re hiding your face, you’re screaming – sometimes all at once. And everything leads up to a third act that couldn’t deliver any better.

The film is so much fun it all but begs to be seen with a group.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT1KcYiPb4I

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Day 5: Dead Alive

Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992)

Rated R for “an abundance of outrageous gore,” Dead Alive is everything the early Peter Jackson did well. It’s a bright, silly, outrageously gory bloodbath.

Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) secretly loves shopkeeper Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Penalver), but she has eyes for someone less milquetoast. Until, that is, she’s convinced by psychic forces that Lionel is her destiny. Unfortunately, Lionel’s milquetoast-iness comes by way of decades of oppression via his overbearing sadist of a mother, who does not take well to her son’s new outside-the-home interests. Mum follows the lovebirds to a date at the zoo, where she’s bitten (pretty hilariously) by a Sumatran rat-monkey (do not mistake this dangerous creature for a rabid Muppet or misshapen lump of clay).

The bite kills her, but not before she can squeeze pus into some soup and wreak general havoc, which is nothing compared to the hell she raises once she comes back from the dead.

Mama’s boy that he is, Lionel can’t bring himself to do what he must until it is spectacularly too late. He chains up an entirely unwholesome family down the basement, which works out well enough as long as he keeps from being bitten, and keeps conniving Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) out of there.

Braindead is so gloriously over-the-top that nearly anything can be forgiven it. Jackson includes truly memorable images, takes zombies in fresh directions, and crafts characters you can root for. But more than anything, he knows where to point his hoseful of gore, and he has a keen imagination when it comes to just how much damage a lawnmower can do.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eigwPFVmMIU





Two Bloody Kiwis For Your Queue

New Zealand has a distinguished history in horror-comedy (well, as distinguished as that category gets). Long before Hobbits and dragons, kiwi Peter Jackson filled New Zealand cinemas with laughs and screams while covering their screens in blood and body fluids. The torch has been passed to Gerard Johnstone, whose Housebound releases for home viewing today. A funny, clever, heart-racing horror flick about a potentially haunted house, it’s among the very best of the genre released this year.

Naturally, you’ll want to pair this with something from Jackson’s goofy, bloody past. May we suggest Dead Alive? A Sumatran rat monkey, young love, overbearing mothers, sketchy uncles, and a positively inspired use of a lawnmower come together in Jackson’s very best and most entertaining horror film.