Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thicker than Water - The Vampire Diaries: Part 1

Review by The Bone Breaker

It is times like these when I wish that I had money to just throw around, because if I did, I would throw a whole lot Phil Messerer's way! You see, Phil is a self-taught director and this is his very first film, and I was completely blown away! [this is why I love movies!]

As you can tell from the title, there is much more of the story to be told - I believe that Phil's intention is a projected trilogy, though there is infinite growth potential. I sincerely hope that Phil finds the perfect distributor, who will not only finance the remainder of this project, but will give Phil free reign in his future endeavors.

But enough of all that, let's get on to the film, shall we?

The film takes place in Sugar Loaf, New York, where we meet the Baxter family. We first meet twin sisters Lara & Helen, who couldn't be more different from one another! Lara is a cynical, precocious Goth teen who seems obsessed with death and has an altar with a shrine to Anne Rice. Helen is the "goody-two-shoes" of the family - she is sweet, innocent, and also a vegetarian. We immediately feel the reality of these two as sisters, just in the way that they argue with one another.

While eating a holiday dinner, we meet the rest of the family. The father, who is the kind of guy who picks his nose with a q-tip and talks about seizing the day and grabbing the bull by the horns, and the mother, who is an old-world Bulgarian immigrant. We also meet Lara & Helen's brother, Raymond, who is a neuro-scientist.

One of the traditions of the Baxter family, is to talk about their accomplishments, that day, over dinner. Raymond went first, telling everyone that he just won 1st prize in a monthly neuro-science journal for a paper that he wrote on the benefits of lobotomy in treating obsessive compulsive disorder! Helen went next, telling everyone that she just lost 2 pounds. When it was Lara's turn, she informed everyone that she posted a picture of her butt on the internet - ha!
Over this dinner, we become completely comfortable in knowing each member of this family, which is important, for what is to come. . .

During Lara & Helen's 16th birthday party [in which Lara claimed she would rather be gay in Texas, than have a party] we come to realize that Lara genuinely despises her sister, who is little "miss popularity" during the party. After Lara is humiliated at the party, she retreats to her Anne Rice altar and performs an intricate voodoo ritual [which involves a "Margie doll" from "Toys R Mine" - copyright issues, I guess - and a calf's heart] At the end of the ritual, we learn that it is an Anal Acne Curse.

The next morning, Helen awakens with the worst nose-bleed EVER and then ends up dying [in a very emotional scene] in Lara's arms. Lara is filled with guilt and her mother [who is very religious] is filled with philosophical anguish.

Raymond, who was more curious than anything else, ended up taking a sample of Helen's blood [for research] and ended up determining that Helen died, not only from blood lost through her nose-bleed, but also because of red-blood-cells that were disappearing inside of Helen's body. This is apparently due to a new, unknown virus, which feeds on red-blood-cells and is still reproducing itself in Helen's blood.
After further study, Raymond discovers a vulnerability - the introduction of ultraviolet light!

Shortly after Helen's death, there is a knock at the door, and there is Helen standing outside, still wearing her white body bag, covered in blood. After Raymond takes a look at her, he determines that the blood is not hers. About this time, the police show up to inform the mother of Helen's body disappearing. Lara & Raymond quickly rush Helen downstairs to the basement. Here Raymond lets the family know that Helen's blood-cells are dying again, and will need to be replenished within the next 72 hours.

The family then realizes that they are going to have to kill, to feed their vampiric daughter. However, Helen refuses to feed, suffering through gut-wrenching blood withdrawals, until she blacks out and rips her victims to shreds!

Her first "human sacrifices" were a pair of Mormons who had stopped by, to spread their message of love. After Lara basically interrogated them both about their faith [as well as picturing them in their underwear, while they responded] the mother ended up poisoning their tea.

When we first see Helen feed, we see needle-thin fangs protrude from behind her teeth, right before she rips into her victim's throat.

Around two weeks later, we find out where some of the "sacrifices" are coming from and how the family goes about disposing of the bodies.

After about two months go by, the plot begins to thicken, with the introduction of a new character - Patrice Duchamps III - who seems to know that Helen is a vampire, and a lot about vampires [fledglings & pure-bloods] in general.

Which brings me to another underlying piece of this film, which I haven't discussed yet.
Interwoven within this film's story is the tale of Oya - the 1st vampire. Her story is told to Lara by the owner of a "cabinet of curiosities" type shop where she likes to hang out. He recently came across one of only 13 copies of Oya's illustrated biography. [Phil Messerer, the director, has a brief cameo as the guy who printed these copies]

Oya's tale goes back to the days of the Mayan empire, where she lived comfortably in a Mayan pyramid feeding off of their human sacrifices to her. However, after the Spanish army basically massacred the entire Mayan civilization, hunger drove Oya back out into our world. . .

I will definitely be looking forward to learning more of Oya's story, in the sequels [especially since her son was mentioned. . . Count Vlad [Dracula] perhaps?!?
Also, even Elizabeth Bathory was mentioned [and even shown briefly, in a scene portrayed by Ginger Stebbins] I'm not sure why, but I've always been fascinated by Bathory.

There is a huge reveal at the end of this film and a shocking ending!
Even though future sequels are planned, Messerer made a complete film here, explaining to us how Helen became a vampire, however some questions remain, such as - How did vampires come to be and what exactly are they in Messerer's mythology? I so cannot wait to find out!! :-)

There is so much more to tell [the only reason that I've told you this much, is so that you will at least remember something about it, when this film is finally distributed]

I didn't even get into the film's inspiration from American Beauty, nor did I discuss the film's outstanding soundtrack [an eclectic mix of music ranging from piano all the way through goth metal!]

Messerer has made a completely believable film here - one in which I was completely immersed in. He raised challenging, thought-provoking questions, and covers a range of emotions - ranging from funny to horrific! Messerer has proven that a film can be made, on a low budget, that rivals anything released out of Hollywood! [and as for the cast - every single person gave an Oscar worthy performance!]

This film has already received numerous awards [it is currently running the film-festival circuit] and rightly so. Once again, I hope that Messerer finds a worthy distributor for this film!

Thank you Phil, first of all for making this film, and secondly for sending me a screener copy.
This is, hands-down, the best independent film that I have ever had the pleasure of watching!


Sunday, January 25, 2009


Review by: The Bone Breaker

Today's film was sent to me by a director by the name of Peter Podgursky, and this just happens to be his thesis film for the University of Southern California.
Peter is currently the office manager for J J Abrams production company Bad Robot, and he counts, as mentors, such genre greats as John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, and Chris Carter, as well as others.

Let's get on with the review, shall we?

The film starts off in Thebes, Greece - the year is 1933 - where we see an urn being secreted away. . . the film then jumps to the present day - the location is Blackfoot Highschool, in Idaho.
Here we meet Penny - the least popular girl in school - and her one and only friend Devon. [these two are the misfits of the school, and are looked on with disdain by the other students] Penny ends up showing Devon a mysterious urn that belonged to her great-grandfather. She tells him that it was found in his office, right after the locals had killed him. . .

Turns out that Penny is going to use the urn [and Devon] for a project in her history class. While giving her report, in front of the history class, Devon is laying on his back, and Penny is acting out a ritual that was used by the Cult of Dionysus. [if I remember correctly, Dionysus was the Greek god of madness, or some such thing - I vaguely remember an episode or two of Dionysus showing up in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys] :-)

After Penny is through with her report, a jock walks up and takes the urn, and pours its contents [thick, black, viscous sludge] all over Devon's face. . .

Turns out that Devon has somehow changed. When he walks by the girls in school, they immediately become infatuated by him. Once Devon realizes that these girls will do anything for him [including some rather humorous scenes] he soon comes to enjoy his new found popularity, seemingly ignoring Penny.

Of course Penny is not too happy about this, and upon doing some further research, she discovers that eventually Devon is going to lose control over the girls who are in his thrall.

This perfectly coincides with the fact that the school's homecoming football game is about to happen and Devon is planning some sort of blood orgy, which causes the enthralled girls to become demonically possessed - during their blood frenzy, they end up [literally] ripping the football team to shreds. [meanwhile everyone else is just standing by, watching nonchalantly!] :-)

Knowing that this isn't going to end well, Penny once more tries to talk some sense into Devon. When Devon asks her just who she thinks she is, she simply replies, "the least popular girl in school". Realizing that Devon is too blind to see what is happening, Penny decides to take matters into her own hands. . .

To see a trailer for the film, visit

For an 11-minute film, this one was perfectly paced and I thought that it was well written and well directed. It also had a very complimentary soundtrack to it, some of the music I will definitely be checking out myself! [for instance a band by the name of Teen Meanies - their song, Face Against the Wall played during the credits - very cool!

Thank you Peter, for sending me a screener of your film, and I will definitely be looking to see what you send our way next!


Friday, January 23, 2009

Night of the Hell Hamsters & Eel Girl

Review by: The Bone Breaker

Directed by Paul Campion [who was a visual f/x artist on such films as The Lord of the Rings, Sin City, 30 Days of Night, Prince Caspian, Eragon, Fantastic Four 2, and X-Men 3, just to name a few] this 15-minute short will remind you of Peter Jackson's earlier works!

The film starts off with Julie [a babysitter] watching some sort of were-rabbit horror film. [the kids are asleep at this point]
Suddenly, her boyfriend, Karl arrives, and he brought along an ouija board to play with - problem is, he just brought the box - the board is not inside. So, Julie decides to make her own, out of the kid's alphabet toys. [meanwhile Karl is poking at the children's hamster, in its cage, when it bites his finger] Karl meanders back over to Julie, to see what she's up to. Julie takes his bitten finger and squeezes out a drop of blood onto her home-made ouija board, christening it.

Julie & Karl then decide to summon forth a fictitious demon by the name of Spozgar. When the board starts to act on its own accord, and declares that Spozgar is there, lightning suddenly strikes the home and [coincidentally] strikes the hamster's cage, frying the little buggers inside.

Karl then goes over to investigate the dead hamsters, lifting the fried carcass of one up by its tail, when suddenly its eyes began to glow red and it attacks Karl, biting him on his nose/nostril.
Karl tosses the hamster away, only to have it scurry back and crawl up his pant leg!

Hilarity & horror ensues, especially when Karl's gnawed off finger [or penis - I really couldn't tell which, which my wife tells me is pretty sad - if it was indeed his penis...] falls to the floor.
Anyway, with Karl out of commission, Julie prepares to battle the demon possessed hamsters, tying her hair up, duct-taping her pant legs [smart!] and grabbing a frying pan and a butcher knife. .

I don't want to tell you anything more, as you need to see this one for yourself!
[I will tell you that one scene involves a cricket bat, which brought back memories of Shaun of the Dead!] Also, near the end, we find out that this situation has apparently become an epidemic [Julie receives a call from someone that guinea pigs ate their mother!] *Here's hoping for a sequel! :-)

For more information, be sure to visit
Or you can go to to buy the DVD [which includes a "10-minute making-of feature] for only $5.95! Or you can even just stream the film [only] for $1.95! Well worth the money!

When I received Night of the Hell Hamsters, Paul also included his newest short film:

The film starts off with a military [Navy?] officer entering a secured room to inform a scientist that he is needed in the briefing room. There is another scientist in the room as well, and the scientist being informed begins to spout protocol [apparently it isn't a very good idea to be left in this room alone, for reasons you'll find out in just a few short minutes time!]

As soon as the other scientist leaves the room, the remaining scientist quickly begins to enter over-ride commands, calling forth the eel girl, to come into the room with the tub. We see a door open, and a webbed hand curl around its frame. Out of the darkness, the eel girl steps forth, completely naked. We see small fins on her forearms and gills in her cheeks. She slowly walks to the tub, and the scientist watches as she seductively slides into the thick, black liquid. As she lies in the tub, alarms begin to go off in the observation room, telling the scientist that her hormone levels are fluctuating. Distracted by the computer, the scientist does not see the eel girl get out of the tub and approach the glass window. . .

What happens next, you just have to see to believe!

All I know is that if this is what Paul Campion can accomplish in 5 minutes, I cannot wait to see what he will be able to do with a full feature!

For more information, you can visit

To my knowledge, Eel Girl is still going around the festival circuit and is not yet available to purchase, so a special thank you to Paul for sending me this one, as well as Night of the Hell Hamsters! Thank you!
[and to all of you reading this, keep an eye on this guy!]


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Review by: The Bone Breaker

What a fantastic movie! I totally enjoyed this one, even more than I thought I would!
[I am not a huge fan of musicals - while I enjoyed Sweeney Todd, I would have to say that my favorite musical is/was Phantom of the Paradise, though Repo! may just replace that, I'm not yet quite sure. The director, Darren Lynn Bousman, is going to be in Milwaukee, this Friday evening, presenting this movie at a local theatre, so perhaps I'll make up my mind, after I've seen it on the big screen, with an actual audience]

The beginning of the film is shown comic-book style, letting us know that it is the not-too-distant future, where a mass epidemic of organ failures has taken place, causing death & chaos. Out of the turmoil, a savior emerges in the form of GeneCo. . .

There is also a singing narrator, if you will, in the character of the grave robber (played by co-writer Terrance Zdunich) The grave robber lets us know exactly what is going on, as do more comic-book illustration,s which provide us with flashback sequences.

The story is multi-layered, which really surprised me - there is a lot going on [which I do not want to discuss in-depth, as I do not want to ruin anything]
I will just tell you that the main character's are Shilo (Alexa Vega) and her father Nathan (Anthony Head) who, unknown to her, is a Repo man. Paul Sorvino plays Rotti Largo, owner of GeneCo. [there is a background history between Nathan & Rotti that is quite interesting indeed]
Bill Moseley, Paris Hilton, and Nivek Ogre play Rotti's three ungrateful children, who constantly bicker over who will run the company after Rotti's demise [he is sick]
Sarah Brightman plays Blind Mag, whose past is intertwined with Shilo's.
The grave robber is not only narrator, but also a drug dealer, who extracts his drug from the dead! [like I said, a lot going on! And I am happy to say that it all ties together quite nicely at the end!]

I loved everything about this movie, from the stellar sets, to the superior cast [especially Anthony Head - he was outstanding!]

This movie is destined to become a classic - I can see it playing, years from now, in midnight showings ala Rocky Horror Picture Show [which I have never seen by the way]
It is a shame that Lionsgate gave this film the same theatrical treatment that it gave The Midnight Meat Train - Hopefully it will do well on DVD. Definitely give this one a chance!!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tokyo Gore Police

Review by: The Bone Breaker

In the same vein as Iguchi's The Machine Girl [which, in my opinion, is a better movie] Tokyo Gore Police is a fast-paced gore fest!

The film starts off in a futuristic Japanese utopian society, where the police force is a corporation. At the very beginning of the film, the police are attempting to take out a chainsaw wielding maniac, when Ruka [who we find out is an "engineer hunter"] shows up. All of the action is taking place, high up in an abandoned building, so what does Ruka do? She takes a bazooka and places it, barrel-down against the ground, so that when she fires it, the force launches her up into the building. . . I kid you not - this is the type of insane, crazy action that fills this film! :-)

The film has excess amounts of arterial blood-spray [just wait till you see what Ruka does to a guy who grabs her butt!] and over-the-top gore! [If you enjoyed The Machine Girl, then you should have no problem with this film!]

There are also bizarre commercials interspersed throughout the film [think Robocop & Starship Troopers] These commercials however are out there! [for instance, there is one for stylish "wrist-cutters" that come in three different colors, and another one for remote control - think Wii - execution!]

What really sets this film apart though, are the "mutants"! Just to give you an idea, there is a girl with a penis for a nose - a snail girl - a woman with a crocodile mouth where her vagina should be - and a man whose penis is lopped off, and in it's place grows an enormous shotgun penis. . . I am not joking! [oh yeah, there is also a woman whose breasts squirt out acid!]

This is one warped film! [definitely not for the squeamish!]

Also, during the end credits, the film states: more gore coming soon [in case this excites anyone] :-)


Monday, January 12, 2009

Splattered Beauty

Review by: The Bone Breaker

If you have already read Ford's first novel [Crystal Bay] then you already know what to expect from Ford, and he doesn't disappoint. Once again Ford has written another fast-paced novel, with believable characters and an interesting plot.

One of the things that I like about Ford is that he uses simplistic plots and characters to his advantage, turning them into thrilling stories. [He reminds me of a young Richard Laymon, and that is saying a lot, as Laymon is my all-time favorite horror author - simply for the fact that you can pick up any Laymon novel, without knowing anything at all about it, and you know that it is going to be good! Ford is pretty much the same way] I know that Ford only has two novels under his belt, but they are both great! So far, Ford is two-for-two! :-)
[Another interesting fact about Ford is that at a young age, 25 I believe, he set a goal for himself where he wants to have published a best-seller by the time he is 35 - I think that he is 27 now. Ford is definitely on his way to achieving this goal!]

In the Foreword of Splattered Beauty, Ford dedicates this book to Linnea Quigley "the ultimate Scream Queen, with a resume boasting over 90 films, and the longest scream in movie history." Also, Maria Ford, ("an underrated yet incredibly talented actress") Julie Strain, Debbie Rochon, Tiffany Shepis, Brinke Stevens, and the rest of the hard-working women of the horror industry. [the reason that I mention this is, if you are like me, then we can all relate to Ford's infatuation with Scream Queens]

With that said, in the character of Alyssa, Ford has created an actress who was once a Scream Queen at the top of her game. Now though, she has run into a bit of seemingly bad luck, until she meets an awe-struck fan, Taryn, at a horror convention where she was a guest celebrity. After meeting Taryn, things begin to look up for Alyssa, especially when a new, hot young writer/director wants to cast her as the villain in his new film - Splattered Beauty. However, things quickly spiral out of control when the role is given to her rival, Jessica, another up and coming actress.

Ford paints a vivid picture when depicting the murders that soon take place. They are brutal & graphic, yet your eyes remain glued to the pages! If you are looking for a great, fast read then look no further!

You can find the author, Brandon Ford on MySpace, at


Monday, January 5, 2009

Book Preview: The Absence

By: The Bone Breaker

Just an FYI that this book will be released on April 23rd.

I received an advance copy, and I just finished reading it. It is fantastic!
The 1st must read book of the year!

I will post a full review around the beginning of April - I just wanted everyone to know, in advance, that this book is well worth buying!

So, stay tuned! :-)


Friday, January 2, 2009

Blood for the Muse: The Omega Edition

Review by: The Bone Breaker

This film begins with Cincinnati Smith [think Indiana Jones] confronting his nemesis, Falken. Falken wants to summon Melpomene, The Dark Muse, via her amulet. [in the film, we learn that Melpomene is a daughter of Zeus, and one of the nine muses. Melpomene is the Muse of Tragedy & Fear. She is the bridge between the soul and darkness. She is the Shaper of Nightmares. . . Tragedy brings her and Darkness sustains her]

Just as Dr. Smith and Falken face off, the films pans back and we realize that we have been watching a film within a film. The film is being watched by Josh, a video store clerk [whose attitude reminded me of Randal's from Clerks!] :-) We then learn that Josh is an aspiring musician who has become disillusioned with life, and who is obsessed with stories of The Dark Muse. [He watches the above mentioned film, reads comics about her, and even dreams of her.]
We then realize that Josh has become so obsessed that he begins to murder call girls, and buries them in an old, dilapidated drive-in movie theatre. Josh believes that each murder will bring him closer to summoning Melpomene.

Eventually, Josh meets Sara, a college student new to Josh's neighborhood, and as their friendship develops into a romance, Josh turns his back on Melpomene, until he realizes that Sara just may be the sacrifice that Melpomene demands. Killing call girls is not enough - Melpomene asks for true heartache, pain, and suffering. In the end, Josh must make the ultimate decision. . .

This is a micro-budget film that was shot in black & white, and I think that Terry West [the director] made the right decision here, as it has an "artistic feel" about it. One of the other things that I enjoyed is that some of the background information is given to us via a comic book layout/format - this is especially cool since this film is actually based on West's 1998 comic book series of the same name]

The only "reality fauxpas" that I want to mention is that of all the call girls that go to Josh's home, and end up being killed, you would think that his phone number or address would be red-flagged! :-) Other than that, the film is very well written, and it shows just what can be accomplished on a micro-budget! The film also has an excellent ending!!

As the title of this post suggests, "The Omega Edition" should be released sometime this month. It is basically a polished , re-vamped, re-cut version of the film that was released in 2001. Extra Features are yet to be announced. For further information, visit:

I definitely recommend checking this film out!