Learn How To Make A Monster This September

Shout Factory is bringing How To Make A Monster to Blu-ray on September 8th. You can pre-order a copy here.

Synopsis

“Good acting, smart writing and competent direction … an exemplary example of what the genre could do” – The Telltale Mind

Go behind the scenes of moviedom’s most popular teen monster movies … and you’ll discover a tale of monstrous vengeance! Following the success of two 1957 classics, I Was A Teenage Werewolf and I Was A Teenage Frankenstein, How To Make A Monster takes you backstage, where a frustrated artist spawns his own twisted scheme for murder. When the movie studio moguls decide they’d rather make musicals instead of horror films, their veteran horror makeup artist loses his job. He decides to get revenge against the executives by turning the studio’s teenage horror stars into zombified killers. On the way to its eye-popping ending, How To Make A Monster delivers “a fun twist … [and] getting there was not only delightful, but gratifying” (The Telltale Mind)!

Product Information

DISCS
1
RUN-TIME
73 min
ASPECT RATIO ?1.66:1COLOR
Black & White
LANGUAGE
English
REGION
A
RATING
Not Rated
PRODUCTION DATE
1958
CLOSED-CAPTIONED ?
No
SUBTITLES
English

Orca: The Killer Whale! Gets Blu-ray Release

I can’t wait to snag a copy of Orca. I remember renting this one from Blockbuster Video many years ago. It’s been a while since I watched it. Shout Factory is releasing the Blu-ray on June 30th.

Synopsis

MAN AND KILLER WHALE CLASH IN A FIGHT TO THE DEATH!

Sleek, intelligent, beautiful … and hell-bent on revenge. Producer Dino De Laurentiis (King Kong, Ragtime) and director Michael Anderson (Around The World In 80 Days, Logan’s Run) join forces to present the rousing action-adventure tale of Orca: The Killer Whale. It’s the story of one powerful being against another: a strong, determined fisherman by the name of Captain Nolan (Richard Harris, Unforgiven) versus an equally determined killer whale. When the giant whale’s pregnant mate is maimed and killed by Nolan, the whale seeks vengeance: smashing boats, attacking a seacoast village, and eventually luring his human adversaries to a final confrontation in the marine creature’s own arctic turf. Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, and Bo Derek (in her feature film debut) also star in this seafaring epic brimming with nail-biting suspense and spectacular special effects.

DISCS
1
RUN-TIME
92 min
ASPECT RATIO ?
2.35:1
COLOR
Color
LANGUAGE
English
REGION
A
RATING
PG
PRODUCTION DATE
1977
CLOSED-CAPTIONED ?
No
SUBTITLES
English

[Review] Creature Feature Chaos: Jong-ho Huh’s Monstrum

Director: Jong-ho Huh | Writer: Jeong-uk Byeon, Heo-dam and Jong-ho Huh | Released: September 12, 2018 | Run Time: 1h 45min


Monstrum is a South Korean creature feature that ticks all the boxes. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. It has a great backstory, tons of character depth, a great script, and an ending you’ll have to see to believe. The actors go above and beyond anything I could’ve expected. And the creature is prominent in most of the film. If the creature isn’t in the frame, then it’s probably being mentioned. The antagonist uses the monster to his advantage.

The film starts out with Yoon Gyeom (Kim Myung-Min) in King Junjong’s court with Myung, a little girl he rescued from the pit. Sim Woon (Lee Kyoung-Young) tells King Junjong the little girl has the plague. Yoon Gyeom protects the girl from death. King Jungjong orders Yoon to leave with the girl, and Sung Han, Yoon’s right-hand man goes with him. To put this whole ordeal in perspective, Yoon was King Jungjong’s most trusted general. Fast forward several years, and the rumors of Monstrum start circulating again. People are getting slaughtered by an unknown creature, and the plague may or may not be spreading.

King Jungjong calls upon Yoon to find the illusive creature before it’s too late. Yoon takes Sung and Myung with him to help with his mission. The trio must also fight against a group of people trying to overthrow King Jungjong. The historical perspective and the action make this a great film. The acting is top-notch, even the supporting cast deliver memorable lines. From the opening scene to the credits start rolling, the main characters are fully fleshed out. The backstory is truly remarkable. You get to see the rich history of Joseon and how their predicament came to pass.

Monstrum is full of pulse-pounding monster mayhem. It’s currently streaming on Shudder. You should give it a watch. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

Monstrum is set in 1527, during the reign of King Jungjong, it’s the 22nd year of Jungjong. The plague has taken over Joseon, and fear runs rampant in the streets. When rumors of a vicious beast roaming Mount Inwangsan–called “Monstrum” by terrified masses–begin to spread, fear turns into panic. In order to quell the rising panic, Jungjong brings back his most trusted general Yoon-gyeom from retirement. Joined by his daughter Myeong, his right-hand man Seong-han, and royal court officer Heo, Yoon-gyeom sets out to find the mysterious creature.

South Korean Creature Feature Monstrum Coming To Shudder

Jong-ho Huh directs the South Korean creature feature Monstrum. Shudder will be releasing the film on May 14th. In 2018, Monstrum won the Audience Award at the Sitges International Film Festival.

Synopsis

Monstrum is set in 1527, during the reign of King Jungjong, it’s the 22nd year of Jungjong. The plague has taken over Joseon, and fear runs rampant in the streets. When rumors of a vicious beast roaming Mount Inwangsan–called “Monstrum” by terrified masses–begin to spread, fear turns into panic. In order to quell the rising panic, Jungjong brings back his most trusted general Yoon-gyeom from retirement. Joined by his daughter Myeong, his right-hand man Seong-han, and royal court officer Heo, Yoon-gyeom sets out to find the mysterious creature.

Woo-sik Choi (ParasiteTrain to Busan), In-kwon Kim, Myung-Min Kim and Hyeri Leestar star in the film.

Heo-dam and Jong-ho Huh wrote Monstrum.

[Review] Crypsis Is A Creepy Camp Out

Director: Paul Anthony Rogers | Writer: Paul Anthony Rogers | Released: February 11, 2019 | Run Time: 1h 21min


Crypsis is a creepy creature feature. Crypsis is the ability of an organism to conceal itself especially from a predator by having a color, pattern, and shape that allows it to blend into the surrounding environment.

A group of friends make a bet with one another to see who can survive camping on Harker Island for a night. They’ve heard the urban legends surrounding Harker Island, but they decide to go anyway. The group takes a small boat out to the small local island. The boat driver convinces the group to prove how manly and tough they are by leaving their cell phones with him. It’s not a very smart move, but the group of guys aren’t very smart to begin with. No one thinking logically would travel to an uninhabited island without some form of communication but here we are. The trip doesn’t go as planned. They didn’t realize a strange creature inhabits the island, and it does a great job going unseen.

As soon as the guys step foot on the island they can’t stop arguing. It gets a little old after a while, slowing the momentum of the film down to a crawl. The guys couldn’t stop arguing, even when their lives depended on it. When the group realized that the creature hunted by sound, they still bickered. I empathized with the creature. I wouldn’t want to be bothered by a bunch of loud and obnoxious dude bros either. Crypsis is both a creature feature and an isolation horror film. The dread doesn’t set in until the guys realize the boat is gone and they’re stranded on the island.

There’s no CGI when it comes to the creature (David Racki). The creature’s mask and suit are top-shelf. David does a great job bringing the creature to life with the movements and mannerisms. The creature is super creepy. I wanted to see more gory deaths, but most of the kills are either bloodless or off-screen. Eddie Nason, Anthony Hoang and Michael Armata star in the film. The acting was pretty good. The dialogue was kind of choppy in spots. The soundtrack was good, creating that tension between the guys and the creature. I had a problem with the ending. It just felt too convenient.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Synopsis

A group of friends make a bet to see who can survive camping on an island for a night. Unbeknownst to them, a strange creature lurks throughout the night terrorizing their every move, and sound is their biggest enemy.

[Review] Underwater Is A Pulse-Pounding Aquatic Creature Feature

Director: William Eubank | Writers: Brian Duffield (story/screenplay) Adam Cozad (screenplay) | Released: January 10th 2020 | Run Time: 1h 35min


On the surface, Underwater looked and sounded familiar, like we’ve watched this movie before. From the synopsis to the trailer, it looked like a newer version of Alien and a plethora of other films that copied the same formula, more specifically the deep sea horror sub-genre. But the studio did a great job with the trailers because they really didn’t even scratch the surface of the film. Where other films have failed in this sub-genre, Underwater succeeds.

Underwater is a respectful throwback that pays homage to the horror films that came before it. It’s your typical setup of man using technology to search the unexplored parts of the universe, only to be punished in unimaginable ways for his pride – this punishment is usually doled out by monstrosities. Underwater goes big with the monstrosity and it pays off, instantly making me a fan. It’s worth every penny.

The takes a minimalist approach to the film’s opening sequence with newspaper articles and headlines detailing how humans have discovered the technology to drill into the Mariana Trench and set up a sprawling rig seven miles below sea level. Things go awry really fast. The first character we meet is Norah (Kristen Stewart), one of the rig’s mechanical engineers. She’s getting ready when an earthquake damages the rig causing her to run for her life. The few surviving crew members have to walk two miles on the ocean floor in futuristic diving suits to reach the escape pods. But, you guessed it, the crew is not alone on their journey. Something is lurking out their in the ocean depths.

I couldn’t ask for a better creature feature. Underwater is a bloodcurdling subaqueous monster film. It’s nightmare fuel. You’re going to want to stay out of the water for a while. On one hand it’s panic enducing isolation horror, and on the other, it’s a sci-fi monster movie. As the movie progresses, you get to know more about the characters through dialogue. Kristen Stewart does a great job anchoring Underwater. She makes for a cool, level-headed hero. The supporting actors do a great job bringing a three-dimensional feel to their characters.I felt like some of the emotional parts kind of missed the mark, though. The action-packed sequences will have you on edge. Underwater is anything but predictable. You won’t see any of it coming. The director does a great job of making you feel like anything can and go wrong at any time.

The atmosphere and dread weighs heavy on the chest. You feel what the characters feel, which is claustrophobic and isolated. It brings you and the characters closer together. The cinematography is beautiful. The sights and sounds are spot on. The set pieces play into the story really well. You learn about the characters through their actions. It’s really a story of humanity…seven miles below the ocean’s surface.

The smaller monstrosities make an appearance at the right times. The writers and director timed the appearances perfectly. The story is well-paced, with steadily increased tension, save for a minute or two. The quiet scenes are just as taut with tension as the action sequences. The pitch-black silence of the open water is spine-chilling. The final showdown with the huge monstrosity is everything you could want in an aquatic horror film. It’s one of the best scenes I’ve seen in a long time. Underwater has quickly become one of my favorite horror films.

You can rent or buy Underwater here.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

[Review] Gary A. Braunbeck’s Mr. Hands

Publisher: Leisure Books | Published: July 1st 2007 | Pages: 354


This book is different than any I’ve ever read. Mr. Hands is a tragically magical story of mercy and revenge. The premise alone is enough to peak anyone’s interest. But it’s the characters that made me want to continue reading. I was invested in the characters and what Gary A. Braunbeck put them through. He puts his darlings through the wringer, but in the end, it pays off. Mr. Hands is set in Cedar Hill, Ohio and intertwines three, hauntingly different people with moral ambiguity. I’m an emotional person, and this book made me cry a couple of times.

The first character we get to meet is Ronnie, a mentally stunted boy, with an uncanny gift or curse. You’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself. Ronnie was abused by his father, but he grew up and began using his unique gift to help children. Not only can he detect the children’s innocence and love, he can also see their painful future. Ronnie is compelled to the children from their ghastly fate and kill them out of mercy. Their souls stay with Ronnie, letting him know that he is doing the right thing because they are in a better place. Ronnie is eventually dubbed a child serial killer. But he must continue his mission.

We are then introduced to Lucy, a single mom, and her daughter Sarah. Lucy starts spiraling when her daughter is abducted by a child predator. Sarah leaves behind her beloved doll Mr. Hands, a hideous wooden doll with long arms and monstrous claw hands with no legs. Lucy clings to Mr. Hands for comfort. Lucy and Mr. Hands meet Ronnie and that is when Braunbeck took things to the next level.

Reading Mr. Hands is very much like reading Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. The moral ambiguity is unsettling. The writing is phenomenal. I would love to see Mr. Hands at the box office or as an episode of Creepshow. The characterization is great. I can’t get enough of the characters. The pacing was good. The author with the character building and the world building. The characters have so much depth. The emotions are raw and real throughout this book. You’re going to need a box of tissues to get through this one.

You can find a copy here.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

It was an odd doll, carved out of wood, with stubby legs but long arms and huge hands. So little Sarah named it Mr. Hands. She loved that doll. . . until the day she was murdered. Now her mother, Lucy, has discovered something amazing about her daughter’s doll – it allows her to control another Mr. Hands. But this one is no doll. He’s a living, terrifying being with horrendous power.

Mr. Hands’s deadly power is at Lucy’s command. He will do whatever she tells him – even kill. To Lucy this is a rare opportunity, a chance to see that justice is done. Her justice. She decides who will live and who will suffer a horrible death, and Mr. Hands carries out the sentence without mercy. But once Mr. Hands is unleashed, will anyone be able to stop him?

[Review] This Creature Casts No Shadow: The Kill

Publisher: Tor Books | Published: January 28, 1988 | Pages: 320


I’ve been wanting to read The Kill for the longest time. It’s been sitting on my TBR cart for a while. Luckily for me, I had some time on my hands. I finally got around to it earlier this week. It’s a relatively quick read, and being his first horror novel, there are no hiccups in the plot. The Kill is well-written, but you can tell it was Alan Ryan’s inaugural effort with the horror genre.

The cover artist did a great job capturing the atmosphere of the story. It sets the scene in Deacons Kill located in the Catskills. The premise lured me in, but it was the antagonist that kept me intrigued. I wanted to know what was killing all those people. The other characters had enough depth to keep me interested. You could tell Alan Ryan was a fan of horror long before he wrote The Kill.

Alan Ryan kicks things off with the death of a little girl who had gone missing in the woods. Soon after, a lady is killed while wandering off from a party. Luckily for us and the characters in the book, her death was caught on tape. Leaving their busy life behind in New York City, Megan and Jack moved to Deacons Kill. Things started looking up for the couple, but for them, the quiet life was ephemeral. The killer was hungry and ready to test the boundaries of the forest.

I had a few issues with the book. I can’t tell you how many times a tree branch slapped someone in the face. And this one character made me mad. I think that his sole purpose was to piss off the reader. I really wanted to tell him to cunt off. By the time you get to the final third of the book, The Kill accelerates at a very brisk pace. The ending takes about four to six pages. It was rushed and convenient. I felt short-changed because there wasn’t a real payoff.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Kill is Alan Peter Ryan’s second novel and first horror novel, published in 1982. It is the story of Megan Todd and Jack Casey, a young couple who flee the pressures of the city to rural Deacons Kill in the Catskills. Their home becomes the target of an ancient and invisible evil that hides in the nearby deep wood. They must join with their new friends and neighbors to find and confront the monster. This is a fine example by a World Fantasy Award-winning author of a theme explored extensively by Golden Age (70s & 80s) horror writers.