Do you love 80s slashers? If the answer is "yes," then Dismembering Christmas is the film for you, a straight-up homage to cult faves like Happy Birthday to Me, Friday The13th, Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, and Curtains.
Slasher Studios has clearly done its homework, and I'm going to go ahead and give this an A+ for the awesome effort. Writers Kevin Sommerfield and Steve Goltz have their work cut out for them trying to make a decade-specific genre feel fresh for a 2015 audience. They stick to a formula that keeps a slasher like this entertaining and give the audience what they want and expect.
The set-up: A group of fresh, young faces spends Christmas in a secluded cabin in the woods that has a scary history and lots of red flags. So does the group leave as soon as possible? Nope! Thank goodness these kids don't listen to the old folks who try to warn them.
In the grand tradition of Jason, Freddy, and Michael, Dismembering Christmas comes a slasher to follow in the snowy footprints around the cabin. Without giving too much away, the mask is unsettling, and you definitely would run away if you saw it.
Getting the characters separated around the cabin is no easy task, but Dismembering Christmas does this in a believable way. The creative deaths are all worthy of being mentioned here, but I don't want to spoil anything because, after all, that's the fun of this movie!
The actors all rise to the challenge, play it straight, and don't knock the horror genre. The score by Dylan Curzon is first-rate and sets the perfectly eerie tone. And director Austin Bosley has created a tight thriller and doesn't waste time -- he gets to the horror we've all been waiting for.
Do yourself a favor and check out this terror-filled treat during the upcoming holiday season...or put it in a stocking for the horror lover in your life.
You can order Dismembering Christmas and other Slasher Studio titles and soundtracks at Slasher Studios.
The gay rights movement is brought to visceral life in director Roland Emmerich's Stonewall, a retelling of the 1969 New York City riots during which "the toss of a single brick" birthed a crusade for equality.
Synopsis: STONEWALL is a drama about a fictional young man caught up during the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine) is forced to leave behind friends and loved ones when he is kicked out of his parent’s home and flees to New York. Alone in Greenwich Village, homeless and destitute, he befriends a group of street kids who soon introduce him to the local watering hole The Stonewall Inn; however, this shady, mafia-run club is far from a safe-haven. As Danny and his friends experience discrimination, endure atrocities and are repeatedly harassed by the police, we see a rage begin to build. This emotion runs through Danny and the entire community of young gays, lesbians and drag queens who populate the Stonewall Inn and erupts in a storm of anger.
Outfest, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization promoting equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBT stories on the screen, announced the award winners of its 2015 film festival earlier this week (presented by HBO).
And the winners are...
Documentary Short: A Place in the Middle, directed by Dean Hamer
Dramatic Short: The Letter, directed by Angeles Cruz
Dramatic Feature: Fourth Man Out, directed by Andrew Nackman:
First US Dramatic Feature: Those People, Directed by Joey Kuhn
Documentary Feature: The Glamour and the Squalor, directed by Marq Evans
GRAND JURY AWARDS
Documentary Feature Special Recognition: Tchindas
Documentary Feature Winner: A Sinner in Mecca
Actor in a U.S. Dramatic Feature: Curtis Cook Jr and Kerwin Johnson Jr. in Naz and Maalik:
Actress in a U.S. Dramatic Feature: Judy Greer in Addicted to Fresno:
Screenwriting in a U.S. Dramatic Feature: Sebastian
U.S. Dramatic Feature Film: Nasty Baby, directed by Sebastian Silva.
International Dramatic Feature: Everlasting Love, directed by Marcal Fores.
Documentary Short Film: Brockington, directed by Maggie Sloane, Mason Sklut, Sergio Ingato.
Experimental Short Film: The Lamps, by Shelly Silver.
Dramatic Short Film: Tremulo, directed by Roberto Fiesco
Special Jury Mention: We Can't Live Without Cosmos, directed by Konstantin Bronzit.
1950s post-war America was a shiny-happy time, a period in our country's history when "love and marriage" ruled our collective dreams. There had yet to exist a counterculture, a safe haven for the alternative. And Tab Hunter may as well have been the official poster boy for that era.
With his golden locks, enviable jawline and swimsuit-ready physique, he was the ultimate Abercrombie model well before there ever was an A&F. Raised by a single German mother, the fresh-faced 19-year-old Arthur Gelien (his birth name) arrived in Hollywood at a time when America's youth (the adolescent Baby Boomers) was thirsty for a clean-cut heartthrob to chase. And that's what they did to the newly monikered -- and very closeted -- Tab Hunter for nearly a decade.
Tab Hunter Confidential is the big-screen docu-adaptation of Eddie Muller's 2005 book of the same name, and it chronicles the actor's ascent to stardom and gradual descent into a quietly accepted near-anonymity. There's a lot to cover, and director Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine, Vito) does his best to squeeze in every detail, movie clip, soundbite, and photograph to paint a fascinating portrait of the hardworking artist as fearful young man who did whatever it took to pursue his often conflicting passions: acting in front of a camera and expressing his love for other men behind closed doors. Much like the decade that ushered him in, Confidential is a shiny-happy exercise in nostalgia that doesn't get too caught up in any nitty-gritty. That said, the book may be your best bet for more dirt and inside access.
Peppered with interviews from Clint Eastwood, Portia de Rossi, Connie Stevens, Debbie Reynolds, Don Murray, and plenty of Tab's former on-screen love interests, the documentary not only offers a peek into the double-sided life of one man, it provides a look at the evolution of Hollywood. While some things haven't changed (the strategic manipulation of actors, money-hungry studios, etc.), some have arguably changed for the better (more transparency and openness) or worse (little-to-zero privacy).
Hunter himself comes off as surprisingly conservative, most likely due to his Catholic upbringing which is delicately showcased as the film transitions into his later years. (Look out for some cheeky fun courtesy of the Master of Camp, John Waters.) The actor who never liked talking about his private life has now eased into a confidence that has allowed him to share his true self with the world. And while it would be unfair for younger audiences not familiar with his name to write him off as an old man speaking his mind, there remains somewhat of a filter through which the actor discusses his colorful "past life." (He's currently enjoying nearly 30 years with his partner Allan Glaser, a producer on the film.) There's no "get off my lawn" type of resentment whatsoever.
On the contrary, he's an approachable, historic figure you'd want to chat with over a cup of coffee...or a glass of whiskey. But there's still a sliver of restraint there, perhaps the residuals of a bygone era and business that once valued discretion and celebrated mystique.
Tab Hunter Confidential will be theatrically released and distributed this October.
Children of the 90s, get ready to revisit all of those R.L. Stine-imagined things that go bump in the night.
The trailer for the big-screen, Jack Black adaptation of the mega-bestselling book series, Goosebumps, has landed and...for us older folk, we're getting some Jumanji-meets-The-Burbs vibes.
What is it about? Boy meets girl. Boy learns of girl's creepy writer dad. Boy unlocks all of creepy writer dad's manuscripts and magically unleashes hell upon a quiet neighborhood. Seems delightfully family-friendly for the Halloween season. Check it out:
The title L.A. Slasher is a dream title for me. It combines my two true loves, L.A. and slasher movies! The trailer, poster, and killer's signature mask all get a high-praised check mark from this die-hard horror fan.
So here I am, sitting in the comforts of my home with this screener, ready to take in some bloodshed. The opening credits roll, and it opens with cute cartoon characters that seem to be inspired by the opening of 1989's Troop Beverly Hills, another film I totally love. Then, the actual movie starts and I am still trying to keep an open mind. ("Please make this my new favorite slasher movie!")
Sadly, this movie has problems.
The blueprint for the movie is here. The idea of a man dressed in a white suit and white mask with a ridiculous black wig knocking off talentless reality stars and pop sensations who make millions of dollars is a fun concept. And I know there is a message running throughout the movie (We, viewers of such schlock, are the ones to blame for making these talentless people famous), so should we feel ashamed for glamorizing (and kinda praising) a killer who's just doing a public service? Has all the makings of a slick thriller, right?
Well, one would hope.
The film doesn't really get a grasp on a tone, and every scene feels like the beginning of a music video that goes nowhere fast. I will say the one glimmer of hope is Mischa Barton, maybe because she actually has talent, and I actually cared about whether or not she'd survive. (Full disclosure: I've always been invested in her ever since The O.C.)
I was looking forward to seeing her become the final girl and battle it out with the killer in the end, but nope, the movie has a series of fake-out endings. At one point, it even features the beautiful song "The One and Only," which I instantly recognized from the 1991 film Doc Hollywood. WTF? This is where the movie majorly stalls with a van chasing an actress in the desert for an extended amount of time.
I looked my at my watch and thought: I would rather be keeping up with any one of the Kardashians than watch a horror film with such potential fall flat on its masked face.
I really, really, really wanted to love L.A. Slasher, but it's as empty as the subject it's satirizing, minus the fun.
The third time's the charm, er chill, in the latest entry of the Insidious franchise.
After a disappointing second chapter of writer-director Leigh Whannell's supernatural saga, fans may be reluctant to take another spooky journey through The Further, this time with a new cast of characters and a new sinister demon. But fortunately, this one's a prequel, a story about a luckless teen (Stefanie Scott) who tries to contact her dead mother, only to end up stirring a few evil spirits that wreak havoc on her life. (Silly girl.)
Dermot Mulroney shines a light.
But the film is just as much about her as it is about the franchise's plucky heroine, Elise Rainier (the fun-to-watch Lin Shaye). Insidious: Chapter 3 is her origin story, a glimpse into the medium's past and her first encounter with the nerdy ghost-hunting duo, Tucker and Specs (Angus Sampson and Whannell - seriously, someone get them their own series).
Whereas Chapter 2 floundered with its unnecessary continuation of the Lambert family saga, Chapter 3 starts out feeling fresh, wasting no time setting up its tense, atmospheric world. And it never lets go from there. This third entry packs a punch with its extremely eerie set-ups and unapologetic jump-scares. (The minimal use of any music or score definitely helps here.)
If you ask me, exploring Elise's personal history is what this franchise needed. While some horror series run the risk of neutering themselves by delving too deep into a villain's backstory, this one flourishes by giving us more of a character we love to root for. And we certainly do, especially during a climactic showdown with a familiar-looking, cross-dressing specter.
Will the chapters stop coming after this satisfying installment? Probably not. But it's nice to see a horror franchise that is quickly learning its lessons before it, like its characters, dives deeper into more darkness.
Outfest, L.A.'s hugely popular LGBT film festival, has announced its star-studded line-up for the 2015 festivities, which kicks off July 9. And we're still trying to pick our jaws up from the floor.
Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis, Clint Eastwood, Kelsey Grammar, Sarah Silverman, Molly Shannon, Aubrey Plaza, Melissa Leo, and Ryan Phillippe are just a few of the names featured in this year's selection of films that range from LOL-worthy comedies to poignant dramas to provocative documentaries.
The annual film festival will also feature two sneak peeks of fall TV shows including Bill Hader and Fred Armisen’s "Sandy Passage," a Grey Gardens parody episode of IFC’s upcoming comedy series Documentary Now! and the new TLC reality show I Am Jazz, spotlighting the day-to-day life of transgender teen and Clean & Clear model Jazz Jennings.
Nick Jonas will also join DirecTV’s Kingdom creator Byron Balasco for a special appearance and in-depth discussion on Jonas’s massive following as well as a sneak peek of his role as a gay MMA fighter on season 2 of the critically-acclaimed drama.
What's also got us excited for the festivities is the recently restored edition of 54: The Director's Cut, the cinematic slice of glitz from 1998 about the infamous NYC nightclub that captured the zeitgeist of the late 70s -- this time with 40 minutes of never-before-seen footage. A special screening of the film will be held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on
As previously announced, the 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival will open with Tig on Thursday, July 9. The festival closes on Sunday, July 19, with François Ozon’s The New Girlfriend. The gala screenings include Nasty Baby (U.S. Dramatic Centerpiece), The Summer of Sangaile (International Centerpiece), Eisenstein in Guanajuato (International Centerpiece), Best of Enemies (Documentary Centerpiece), and Out to Win (Documentary Centerpiece).
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