Archive for January, 2012

Nightmare at the Colwell Centre

Posted in 365 Days of the Dead, Movies with tags , , , , on January 28, 2012 by Scott Emerson

During 365 Days of the Dead I reviewed a short called I RAN FROM A ZOMBIE, a student film distinguished by its charming humor and a lack of insufferable self-indulgence. Director Matt Hatchard dropped me a line recently to inform me he’s released a follow-up, another zombie short called NIGHTMARE AT THE COLWELL CENTRE.

Produced before I RAN, Hatchard tells me COLWELL CENTRE was rushed to completion for a school deadline and sat on the shelf a few years before the more cringe-inducing moments could be ironed out. And he did a good job of it, too, as the short doesn’t bear the marks of a troubled production. It’s fairly slick, especially given its student origins.

As for the story, bumbling security guard Doyle and janitor Yan are working the night shift at a shopping mall when they find themselves besieged by a sudden influx of the living dead. No, it’s not a terribly novel idea, but Hatchard tips his hat to Romero in several instances without the winking self-satisfaction of fanboy films, and brings enough of his own material to balance the homages. The humor is broad slapstick and largely enjoyable, especially the bits involving an elderly wheelchair-bound zombie woman.

NIGHTMARE AT THE COLWELL CENTRE was a lot of fun. Zombie enthusiasts will want to nibble.

Nightmare at the Colwell Centre – Short British horror comedy film from Matt Hatchard on Vimeo.

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Mad Rush #1 Now Available

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on January 27, 2012 by Scott Emerson

MAD RUSH, the new literary journal from editor Craig Scott, is now available, featuring poetry and flash fiction by Michael Hemmingson, John Grey, Kurt Newton, John Edward Lawson, and many more. (It also contains my poem “Writing Prompts to Ensure Your Alienation.”)

Copies available here. Or visit the website.

Jungle Captive

Posted in Movies with tags , , on January 26, 2012 by Scott Emerson

Review: Hellhole West Virginia by Rich Bottles Jr.

Posted in Books, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by Scott Emerson

Author Rich Bottles Jr. continues his brand of “humororrorotica” with his second novel HELLHOLE WEST VIRGINIA. Not content to simply focus on a single plot, Bottles offers several seemingly unrelated storylines before mashing them together in an over-the-top riot of Mountain State madness; in addition to vampiric eco-terrorists, you’ll find cave-dwelling zombies, a seedy motel/tattoo parlor with unusual amenities, and the real story behind the Mothman.

HELLHOLE is a swift, entertaining read, with frequent detours into deviant sex and colored with raunchy, often unspeakable humor (there’s a doctor’s visit in this book that ranks as one of the most hilariously repellent scenes I’ve ever read). Fans of Richard Laymon or Edward Lee’s backwoods tales will want to plan a trip to Hellhole.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by Scott Emerson

The phrase “critic-proof” gets bandied about during blockbuster season, often as a pejorative to classify cerebrally-challenged but crowd-pleasing movies (though I doubt studios and producers find the term negative). And while it’s true that audiences will line up for TRANSFORMERS or PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequels regardless of thumbs-downs, you could also argue that “critic-proof” also applies to movies like 2009’s VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL, a splat-happy rom-com so unapologetically over-the-top that it defies critical analysis.

This Japanese production from Yoshihiro Nishimura and Naoyuki Tomomatsu is at its heart a love triangle between a spoiled high school student (Eri Otoguru), a transfer student who also happens to be a vampire (Yukie Kawamura) and the boy whose affections they both vie for (Takumi Saito, who seems rather uninterested in the pair of lovely girls after him). Yet the filmmakers stay true to the story’s manga origins by taking just about every element to the illogical, inappropriate extreme–be it the throughline that finds Otoguru transformed by her mad-scientist father into a patchwork zombie in search of revenge, the irrepressable tide of spilled blood (much of it rendered in horrible-looking but charming CGI), or the cartoonishly broad secondary characters (which include a jaw-dropping display of African-American caricatures that I’m surprised didn’t incite more anger stateside; it just might be the worst depiction of a culture since SCRUB ME MOMMA WITH A BOOGIE BEAT).

But for all its shortcomings VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL refuses to be boring, keeping up a steady stream of bizarre imagery, numbskull humor, and an unflagging, Troma-esque spirit of micro-budget anarchy that makes it hard to dislike. It’s the kind of film that makes you ask “What the fuck am I watching?” without the follow-up question “Why the fuck am I watching this?”

Saturday the 14th: Life After Crystal Lake

Posted in Miscellaneous, Movies with tags , , on January 13, 2012 by Scott Emerson

Have you ever wondered how Jason Voorhees passes the time between summer camp slashings? This comedic short from Noctural Emissions has the answers.

Review: Baby’s First Book of Seriously Fucked-Up Shit by Robert Devereaux

Posted in Bizarro Brigade, Books, Writing with tags , , , , on January 11, 2012 by Scott Emerson

(Review for Bizarro Brigade.)

I’ll be honest: with a title like that, I’d have probably bought this book regardless of author or plot summary. Fortunately, this collection comes from the wickedly brilliant mind of Robert Devereaux, whose penchant for literate, taboo-shattering fiction is well-represented in these nine tales.

Whether it’s the Biblical fable “Fructus in Eden,” the B-movie parody “The Slobbering Tongue That Ate the Frightfully Huge Woman,” or the pornographic tall tale “Showdown in Stinking Springs,” Devereaux plunges head-first into scenes of shocking violence and even more shocking sex to explore the often unpleasant truths of the human condition (one story, “Li’l Miss Ultrasound,” contains a fetish that went beyond the pale for even this hardened horror connoisseur; consider that a warning or a recommendation, whichever’s appropriate). Devereaux’s lush, distinctive voice elevates the material above a mere gross-out–there’s a genuine spiritual quest here.

Including such classics as the dementedly funny “Bucky Goes to Church” and “Ridi Bobo” (a noir-flavored tale of clown adultery), BABY’S FIRST BOOK OF SERIOUSLY FUCKED-UP SHIT not only lives up to its title, but offers up a succulent transgressive feast.