Saturday, May 9, 2009

Double Whammy: The Bunker & Torn to Pieces

Review by The Bone Breaker

Joseph M. Monks - remember this name, and when he becomes a household name, you can say that you remember reading about his first movie and his first book, here! :-)

Not only will you remember his name, after you have watched The Bunker or read Torn to Pieces, but those who have yet to find out about Joe Monks will most likely be surprised by the fact that he is blind - yes, a blind man who has overcome his loss of sight and gone on to direct a film!

The Bunker tells the story of Julia Jennings, a 16-year-old teenager who runs away from home on the night her father, Congressman Robert Jennings, announces his bid for re-election.

Julia soon discovers that she is merely trading one nightmare for another when, a sadistic kidnapper with a taste for young victims, snatches her off the streets and locks her away in a hidden, underground cell.

With her father doing everything in his power to keep the scandal from hitting the media - including hiring some questionable private investigators to assist in the search for his daughter - Julia discovers that time is already running out. Knowing that the date of her death is rapidly approaching, the teen forms a desperate, all-or-nothing plan to escape - or die trying.

The copy of The Bunker that I received included a "wrap-around" sequence that was shot specifically for a television show in Europe - it dealt with an S&M dominatrix torturing a client, however the director decided to drop out of that project, and has since been dropped the wrap-around in favor of a different framing sequence that is more integrated with the main story. 
[since this wrap-around has been removed, since I've received my copy of the film, I will not go into it any further]

The Bunker starts off with a group of hookers standing outside of a restaurant - the film then cuts to a creepy looking guy lurking in a corner, watching a lone hooker, who we soon realize is Julia - the main female character of the film. As Julia walks off, a blind guy comes walking down the sidewalk [I can only assume this to be the director's cameo appearance] :-)

As Julia walks along the sidewalk [keep in mind that it is night-time] we see that she is not very bright, as she walks right alongside a suspicious looking van, with it's side-door wide open. Not only does she walk alongside it, but she stops to look in. . . this is where Julia gets abducted by none other than another independent film director - Terry M. West [I reviewed his film, Blood of the Muse here:] We soon find out that Terry is not a fan of "junkie whores" [remember, Julia is a Congressman's daughter] so this little mix up does not sit very well, especially once Terry starts the mental & physical torture.

My favorite line in the film - Terry calls Julia his 'little piggy' and after a brief talk with Julia, he states, "Back to work - little piggy isn't going to torture herself"

Terry West was excellent in this film! [it's not too often that you get good directors who can actually act as well] He was extremely menacing in this film, and you cringed every time he interacted with his captive, Julia [played by Saskia Gonzalez] She was great as well - she played her part very realistically!

Still, as good as Terry & Saskia were, the best part of the film was the writing, which was fantastic - I do not want to give anything away, but just wait until you see how this film ends - your jaw will hit the floor!

Also, for further information, you can visit the film's website at

Now, onto Joseph M. Monk's upcoming debut novel:

Whenever I read a book, that I know I am going to write a review for, I generally use an index card as a bookmark, so that I can jot down notes, etc. Well, I just so happened to have the index card that I used for Torn to Pieces [I love this title, and it is very appropriate, I must say!] in my pant's pocket - the pants that I just threw in the wash. . . Grrrrrrrrrr

Monks' used tons of little 'one-liners' in this book - quite a few that I  wrote down on that index card - the one that I remember most though was in regards to a low-life scumbag - "He couldn't plan a successful nose picking if his nostrils weren't attached to his face" HA! [this was said between two homicide detectives, over a possible suspect]

Torn to Pieces is about a serial killer who literally tears his victims limb from limb [well, perhaps not literally tears, more like saws] The catch is that the killer dismembers his victims, while they are still alive - he has a special technique that he uses, so that his victims are aware, until the very end - they are still alive, even as the killer is decapitating them!

What I love most about Torn to Pieces is that Monks' writes as if he were an actual observer to the ongoing investigation. The characters are superbly written [I loved the character of Gramps - grandfather to one of the Homicide Detectives on the case] 

Monks' writes this book very realistically, with political redtape and all included. 
If you are a fan of Michael Slade or John Sanford or even if you enjoy watching CSI or Criminal Minds, then you have got to read this book when it gets published!
Even if you are not a big horror fan, I would recommend this book, as the gruesomeness of it all is primarily after the affect.

This book is definitely a contender for Best Book of the Year!

For further information on Joseph Monks, visit his websites at or 


Friday, May 8, 2009

The Last Horror Film, Combat Shock, and Mother's Day

With Mother's Day right around the corner, I figured that today would be a good day to inform those who may be unaware of Troma's film about a demented mother, but first I am going to talk about two of Troma's latest "Tromasterpiece" releases:

Vinny Durand is a lonesome New York cab driver, who lives at home with his mother and has dreams of becoming a famous film director. He is consumed by his depraved obsession with the beautiful horror actress Jenna Bates, and determined to have her star in his first film, Vinny trails her to the Cannes Film Festival
While Vinny's disturbing fascination grows, a mysterious killer begins slaughtering all of the people in Jenna's entourage.
Is the obsessed fanatic and the psychotic killer one in the same?
Will this be Jenna's Last Horror Film?

Also known as Fanatic, this film was released in 1982, however it has never been released Uncut in America, until now - on May 19th, Troma is releasing this classic 80's slasher gem as the 3rd entry in their Tromasterpiece Collection [the 1st two being Cannibal! The Musical and Redneck Zombies]

The film takes places during the actual 1981 Cannes Film Festival, which I thought was pretty cool. I have no idea why this film was Banned in America, but it is definitely worth checking out, especially for Spinnell's excellent performance [he plays delusional superbly!]

The film sports some great f/x work, a great score, and a great story - one of my favorite scenes in the film is where Munro is discussing violence in horror and the difference between real-life and illusion, while at the same time Spinnell is practically molesting an image of Munro on a film screen.

The Uncut Special Edition DVD will include a special featurette with Spinnell's closest friend, Luke Walter - Walter will also provide a commentary track, an interview with Maniac director William Lustwig, Buddy Giovinazzo's [director of Combat Shock] rarely seen short film Mr. Robbie aka Maniac 2, which features Spinnell in one of his last performances, before his untimely death, a [funny] introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, plus many more Tromatic extras!

The 4th entry into Troma's Tromasterpiece Collection is going to be:

Combat Shock is going to be released in a 2-Disc Never-Before-Seen Director's Cut on July 28th, so mark your calendar's for this one!
[I have been very anxious to see this one, however I have held off, as I have been aware of this upcoming release, and I am waiting to see this version]

Combat Shock was inspired by the true, ghastly headlines about tormented war veterans. The story is centered on Frankie Dunlan, a Vietnam veteran whose life is a festering sewer of poverty , hopelessness, and violence. His wife is pregnant and hungry. His one year old son is sick and horribly deformed from exposure to Agent Orange. Frankie's family is being evicted from their rundown apartment. His childhood friend is a strung-out junkie. While roaming the streets, looking for work, he sees under-age prostitutes  working the streets. . . 

Sounds like a "happy" film, doesn't it? Still, I have heard great things about it, and I am looking forward to this new release!

And for those unaware of Troma's classic Mother's Day slasher flick Mother's Day, I am happy to tell you that Netflix currently has it available to watch Instantly - so if you currently don't have Netflix, now would be a good time to get it! :-)

Directed by none other than Troma President Lloyd Kaufman's brother, Charles Kaufman [who also directed Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters] Mother's Day tells the story of three female friends who head out to the woods to remember their collegiate good times - all the while with no idea that they're being hunted by a dysfunctional hillbilly family. 
You see, Mother is teaching her backwoods boys how to rape, torture, and kill young women - and her adept pupils are more than willing to practice their lessons. . .

A re-make of this one has recently been announced, so watch this one 1st!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Eden Lake

Review by The Bone Breaker

This movie was released on DVD, in January, and I just now - finally - saw it. . .
I must say that this film was totally worth the wait, and even though it was released [in the UK] in 2008, it definitely has the potential to make it on my 'best horror list' of 2009! 

First of all, I was totally enamored with Kelly Reilly [an actress that I am unfamiliar with] She was great in this movie - she made her character totally believable, and made the film well worthwhile. Not only was she great, the film was fantastically written - this is definitely an intense film! [I kept saying to myself - "Just let it go!" or "Hurry!" or 'Get out of there!", etc - always a good sign] ;-)

If you haven't seen this one yet, it is definitely recommended - just keep in mind that it is a brutal film, that involves teenagers as the antagonists.


Monday, May 4, 2009

The Landlord

Review by The Bone Breaker

If you remember, back in March, I informed you of an upcoming horror/comedy titled The Landlord.
[if you don't remember, see  as there is also a link to an interview with the writer/director/co-producer of the film]

I just received my advance copy of the film, which is about 97% complete, and the final print will be available on June 1st.

The film starts off with Tyler, the landlord of an apartment building, showing an apartment to potential tenants. They decide to rent the apartment, only to be killed off by its demon inhabitants. 

Right away, the film's humor is set, as Tyler walks into the apartment, carrying a new toilet seat. When he discovers the dismembered corpses of the tenants, he promptly throws up through the toilet seat! :-)

Another funny moment is when the character, Donna, walks into a motel, with a sign displayed out front - "Manager has a gun. No Money Kept In Safe. Try the liquor store across the street" 
When the manager [who I believe is the writer/director] pulls his gun during an argument, it perfectly coincides with an attempted robbery - when the robber realizes a gun is being pointed at him, he states, "chill, it's just my hand in a brown bag - I'll try the liquor store across the street"

Donna, smartly, decides to leave the motel, only to go look at Tyler's vacant apartment. Donna is going through a messy divorce, and Tyler immediately falls for her.

Meanwhile, a couple of police detectives are nosing around the apartment building, due to the fact that there has been 16 missing persons' cases all linked to Tyler's building.

There is also an interesting side-storyline involving Tyler's sister, Amy, who is a cop, and is totally aware of Tyler's 'predicament' - It turns out that she is aware of a lot more than a couple of demons running amok in Tyler's apartment building, being that she is dealing with a local gang of vampires. . .

Definitely keep an eye out for this one, as it's more than just a low-budget independent film - there is actually a good story behind this one, with great character development!

Also, a special thank you to Emil Hyde who found me on the world-wide web and sent me an advance copy of his film! Thanks Emil! :-)