The Weird World of Wild Eye Releasing: Part 4

August 26, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

As you have seen in the first three parts of this series (located here, here, and here) Wild Eye Releasing are filled to the beastly brim with all manner of horror biz available to satisfy you cats n’ creeps… and here come a few more to put on your revoltin’ radar!

First title up is Mind Rage (2001):

Schoolteacher Michael (Michael Rogue), is one fucked-up dude thanks to his outrageously traumatic childhood, and let me tell ya, his present isn’t going to go so smooth either when a mysterious blonde named Jessica makes the scene in both Michael, and his policeman brother, Jack’s (Charles Hallahan) lives.

Things soon swan-dive into a neo-noir swirl of ultra-stabby serial murders where every mother fucker standing is a suspect!

Atmosphere is the best friend of co-writer/director Mark Allen Michaels (aided and abetted by co-writer Gwendolyn Gadek), and he uses it expertly to give an experience not entirely unlike if Hitchcock had directed Se7en… if that doesn’t grab some of you cats n’ creeps by the curlies I don’t know what will!

While the visuals are indeed tight and outta sight, the narrative is up to snuff as well, with a twisty murder mystery that keeps you on your toes, before delving into a fantastic conclusion that your’s cruelly never saw comin’!

The acting on display here is pretty damn killer too, with Rogue turning in a dynamite lead performance, and some fantastic turns by vets such as John Carpenter’s The Thing‘s Charles Hallahan, Tippi Hedren (The Birds), and Max Gail (Barney Miller and like a thousand other television shows and movies).

As for bonus materials on the DVD, we get the trailer and that’s it, leaving the details of the production of this film a real… mystery! Fuck yeah baby, still got it in the clutch!

Mind Rage is a great thriller/mystery that is well worth checking out; it’s noir/Hitchcockian vibe is on point, the acting is great, and the plot fast movin’ and full of surprises!

 

 

 

Next up we look at An Evil Tale (2018):

After killing a maniac in her abode, Trinity (Dina Najjar) is whisked off to Puerto Vallarta by her hubs Ian (Andy Hart), where the couple come in possession of a mysterious locked trunk… that opens at T-dawgs touch!

This sets off ye olde supernatural shit show that convinces Trinity that she’s gone bananas.

Things don’t improve once home as she now owns three old Scottish dolls, a few rune stones, and the ire of Ian’s grandmother (Karen Scheafer) who has a conniption over some ancient curse that resulted in the deaths of Ian’s parents… and you know that curse is back on baby!

An Evil Tale is pretty ambitious considering the budget it was made on; there’s a lot of ghosts, demons, and killer dolls on display… and while the bane of my existence, shoddy CG is utilized, the various creatures were pretty dang cool in my beastly book, and the lore of how Bonnie Prince Charles made a deal to secure his rule via witchcraft that lead to his bloodline carrying a curse, was rather top-notch as well.

Speaking of the supernatural shenanigans, this film gets to the ghoulish good stuff early, and puts it out there often. This makes the narrative hum right along, and never become boring… I wish more fright flicks took that path.

Another thing I liked about this film (that most of you probably won’t) is the odd line delivery of nearly everyone in this (notice how I said “odd” and not “bad”). It’s like writer/director Sam Siragusa fed these cats their dialog right before the scene started and they have to repeat it back with no idea of the emotional tone of the scene they are in. It gives the picture an oddness, and that’s always a plus for me.

They seem normal as all fuck though when they speak about the supposed haunting going on at the locations where filming took place in one of three behind-the-scenes features included here (the other two look at those aforementioned spooky locales).

An Evil Tale is the type of flick you watched while “relaxed” on a rainy afternoon; it’s got enough charm and ideas to give you a ghoulish good time as long as you’re not one to get hung up on not quite Hollywood production value (and you read my column, so I know you don’t).

 

 

Moving on we get Amityville Clownhouse (2017):

Let me tell ya; this flick is two, two, two movies in one, as it begins with a clown murderer scenario, then magically morphs into some supernatural shenanigans involving one of those creepy clappy-ass monkey dolls that were popular with children never.

The main story revolves around Ben (Ben Gothier) and Michelle (Michelle Muir-Lewis) newly-weds who bring that terror toy into their home. This unleashes the Amityville curse since said ape was in that arcane abode when DeFeo went blood simple.

Soon ol’ Ben is bangin’ and killin’ whores, slappin’ his wife around and oh so much more devil’s biz, and it’s up to Michelle to go a-sleuthin’ and figure out this whole monstrous mess so she can get on with gettin’ on, ya dig?

Ignoring the opening, the main event is a rather entertaining low budget affair with a fun bit of world building in the form of the monkey toy and it’s ties to the DeFeo murders, and a bit of an exploitation/sleaze vibe as well with hookers, rape, and odd characters being paraded about.

The biggest negative with the film is it’s absolutely abysmal sound mix, with some dialog being barely inaudible. That kind of thing goes hand and hand with our beloved low budget horror biz, but it unfortunately seriously distracts from the over-all experience.

Correction: It also lifts footage from a previous Amityville film, 2016’s Amityville Legacy from the same writer/director Dustin Ferguson, as this film is a sequel to that one… so it’s three films in one!

As for special features, you get some Wild Eye releasing trailers.

Amityville Clownhouse seems to be an entertaining fright flick at it’s core, but man the sound wrecks it in the end.

 

 

Next is The Streets Run Red (2017):

As our story unspools in a non-linear fashion we see our “hero”, Alex (Dimas Bardales), gets involved in a life of crime and becomes a one man kick murder squad that catches the eye of the town lawmen… just not in that order ‘natch.

Now it’s those murders that provide the ghoulish goulash to you gore hounds out there, and let me tell ya, this is a torture porn splatter fest the likes of which doesn’t come around too often. Now while some of it may not be the most realistic effects work out there (nor does it try to be… think more Herschell Gordon Lewis than anatomy text book… it’s cartoony, gross out material and it’s absolutely fuckin’ glorious.

The acting is rather strong here as well, with Bardales being convincing as both an extremely likable dude, and an off-the-wall raging psychopath the next. also of note in the acting department are appearances from genre legends Tony Moran (Michael Myers from the first Halloween movie). and Troma head Lloyd Kaufman.

Speaking of Uncle Lloyd, a lot of folks would say this is a Troma style fright flick through and through… though I would argue it’s more early period Abel Ferrara mixed with Frank Henelotter with just a sprinkle of Lustig, given the vibe and all.

Speaking of vibe, this is a Paul M McAlarney joint, so you can expect punk rock filmmaking at it’s finest… think un-simulated onscreen ejaculation and pissing mixed with messages about race relations… it’s punk in it’s purest form cats n’ creeps, and it ain’t for everybody that’s for damn sure… but I think most everyone who reads my wicked words is exactly who it’s for!

As for special features on this DVD we get the film’s teaser trailer, as well as trailers for other Wild Eye releases.

The Streets Run Red is hardcore, grimy, depraved, and well and truly the successor to the sleaziest of the sleaze that was plastered across 42nd Street grindhouse screens!

 

 

 

Now let’s feast our eerie eyeballs on Parts Unknown (2018):

Parts Unknown focuses on a family of wrestlers; huge-ass Hermann (William DeCoff), annoying-as-fuck wimp-ass Harvey (Alexander Hauck), crazy-ass Kitty (Sarah Michelle), Kitty’s rival/best friend Lacey (Lizzie Havoc), and hunky outsider Karl who’s hobbies include getting wasted as all fuck and bitching about their now non-existent wrestling careers.

That would all be fine-and-dandy, but life becomes hard for these folks when Harvey kills a cop… and Karl shoots himself and undergoes a body melt. Okay, pretty dicey territory, but I’m sure they can survive this.

Oh, but I forgot to mention… that ex-cop mentioned above was tossed into a nearby swamp by our “heroes” and is soon back in revenge-bent spirit format… oh and there’s a lizard headed swamp demon that Lacey decides to appease via dopey dudes she lures to their doom. Yeah, we got a wickedly weird one here cats n’ creeps.

Let’s get the obvious and negative horse shit shoveled right quick, shall we? First things first, in the obvious department; this thing is ultra-low budget, so expect some dodgy sound here and there, and the Grindhouse influence is all-over this, so expect some fake-ass 42nd Street “artifacting”.

In the negative department, this film runs way too long at nearly two hours in length, so expect more padding then the top turnbuckle of the squared circle. Lips flap, people shout and shout, and wrestling matches go on and on.

Despite all of this, Parts Unknown is imaginative as all-fuck, with it’s heady blend of ‘rasslin’, demons, the undead, and some choice bargain basement (read : fuckin’ over-the-top awesome) gore that manages a surreal dose of (seemingly apocalyptic) world building while presenting one inexplicable and delightfully insane concept after another!

Adding to the fun is a game cast, and some genuine heart and earnestness displayed by writer/director Richard Chandler towards our beloved horror biz (not to mention our equally loved exploitation biz)!

As for extras on this DVD, you get a lengthy selection of interviews from cast and crew alike, and the film’s trailer.

All in all, I’d easily recommend Parts Unknown to you horror hounds that like ’em totally batshit insane, but I can’t help but think this could have been even better with some cuts n’ snips…

 

 

 

Slidin’ up next is Crispy’s Curse (2017):

Christian metal band Messiah Fist are just your local, obviously misguided, lovable rock n’ rollers who just want to play gigs and… praise Jesus? Look, that’s really not ol’ XIII’s area of expertise… the whole church bag that is, me and metal are bosom fuckin’ buddies, believe you me…

You know what is in my wicked wheelhouse? Mother fuckin’ killer clowns, and this narrative just so happens to have one; the eponymous Crispy (Daniel Cubley), a grease paint covered lunatic ghost clown who is the type of dude that will slam an old lady’s head into a giant pie, then send her hurtling down the road in a motorized scooter that he’s rigged with rocket jets.

How do these two things come together? Quite messily actually, as granny slams into Fist’s drummer at supersonic speed splatterin’ them both! As fist go on the quest to find a new drummer, the body count rises (including the entire band of hipster metal heads that serve as Fist’s arch nemesis… there’s bagpipes involved both in the band, and eventually in the band), and before long everyone from the Fist, to the incompetent local police, to a trio of paranormal investigators, to a television reality show psychic (who unbelievably enough is actually the real deal) try and end  that creepy clown’s reign of hilarity and horror.

Straight up boils n’ ghouls, I haven’t enjoyed a flick as much as I enjoyed… no, full-on mother fuckin’ LOVED Crispy’s Curse. Writer/director/producer/genius John Williams has created an off-kilter world where characters are unbelievably silly yet equally as endearing, the laughs come rapid-fire, and the ol’ red sauce is tossed about with wild abandon (especially in the gore and vomit drenched third act carnival-set showstopper).

Of course all of that biz is only gonna fly if the actors you’ve chosen are up to the task, and boy fuckin’ howdy are these thespians ever fan-fuckin’-tastic! I can’t even pic a favorite from among them as every single person on screen, no matter how small the role is absolutely memorable and hysterical; from Marnix Van Der Kraan as Max, the absolutely, 110% committed leader of Messiah Fist with a big heart and a bigger desire to kick clown ass, to Wesley Martin and Dean Ackerman as the dim-bulb, gung-ho police officers Pope and Moss, to Darren McAree as the outrageously bitchy and completely uproarious psychic Alon Baptiste… hell I haven’t even mentioned Kate Cubley as smart-assed skeptic paranormal investigator May… or the main man himself, Daniel Cubley as the over-the-top, unpredictable madman Crispy; an absolutely random, side-splitting performance through and through!

Now as downright funny as Crispy’s Curse is, it also has it’s fare share of robust practical gore effects with decapitations, exploding human balloon animals, and chainsaw massacres to satisfy the blood-tooth of any horror hound!

As for special features, once again the film’s trailer is all that is provided.

This is one of the easiest ‘5 skull’ ratings I have ever given, and believe me I’d give it more if I wasn’t too lazy to make the little graphic thingy. Anyway, seek this one out immediately!

 

 

 

Let’s take a dive into Vampire War next, shall we?

In ye olde Dark Ages, a group of nasty vampires, lead by Montrak (Sönke Möhring)… a voivod who made a deal with ol’ Scratch to gain immortality, and became a fang banger as a result… does battle against a cadre of knights and admittedly, things could have gone better for Big M in that skirmish.

Over the centuries, the vamps keep turning up like a bad fuckin’ penny, until finally those that have been intertwined with that toothy evil come together and try to end evil’s growing influence once and for all!

I’ll say one thing about writer/director Stefan Schwenk, he’s an ambitious mother fucker… good thing he’s a talented dude as well!

Playing out over a wide swath of ages, and relating a rather epic, comic book style yarn, Vampire War is filled with elaborate costumes, a multitude of monstrous vampiric beings, and a large cast of characters… all presented on a next-to-nothing budget, and for the most part, Schwenk succeeds like a champ.

There are two negatives that come to mind with Vampire War, and only one of them is the fault of the film itself… let me explain…

At a hair over two hours, Vampire Wars runs a tad too long. It’s not that what is presented is boring or slow, it’s just with a runtime that long, things can meander a bit. With a few trims this flick could shine even brighter than it does.

As for that problem that isn’t related to the actual film… you see, Vampire Wars is a fright flick from down Germany way, so this baby has been dubbed into English… and whoever is responsible may be completely insane. Nearly no voice featured is able to convey a single modicum of emotion that matches the acting on screen. So in other words, characters scream or gesticulate and the flattest of flat tones issues forth from their mouths. It’s unintentionally hilarious for sure, but it’s distracting as all fuck.

As for special features we get a brief glimpse behind the scenes, a retro-style TV spot, and the film’s trailer.

Vampire Wars is an epic tale full of long-toothed villains and a centuries spanning narrative, and that alone makes it worth the watch… thankfully it’s entertaining as hell too!

 

 

Finally we take a look at Creature Cabin (2017):

Oscar (Daisy Masterman) has been fired from her job as the vocalist for a local rock outfit, and her boyfriend has left her (taking the cat and the couch with him)… she’s also plagued by nightmares of a Satanic cult and the demonic black unicorn they worship.

In order to regain focus in her life, Daisy and some pals head to a log cabin in the deep woods surrounding a ghost town called Tarnation. Of course those dreams of Oz’s come all too true as the gang is soon thrown into a nightmare populated by the killer creatures the cult has spawned in those wicked woods.

Creative, funny, and completely batshit insane, Creature Cabin is a blast from start to finish! Where else can you get a boxing zombie kangaroo reanimated via demon piss, a unicorn headed woman with angel wings zooming among the trees, possession via spider bite, horniness, and a man-eating shag carpet? Fuckin’ nowhere but right the fuck here, that’s where!

Sure this flick takes plenty of inspiration from our beloved Evil Dead series, and the film isn’t shy about admitting it either, but unholy hell does writer/director Daniel Armstrong take that beastly ball and run with it in a direction no one else would have thought of.

Besides it’s psychotronic insanity, this flick also boasts an incredibly game and talented cast, with Masterman making for a charming and sympathetic heroine who has to deal as best she can with the growing madness around her. The real scene-stealer for me though is Danae Swinburne as Oscar’s oversexed roommate Rain; she’s hilarious and never fails to entertain when on screen!

It should also be noted that nearly all of that creature-centric ghoulish goodness is brought to life via good ol’ practical effects wizardry , and the end result is hand crafted horrors with a creepy charm all their own!

Surprisingly enough, this fright flick features plenty of gymnastic, wire work laden, action, all realized in a wooded environment. This had to be hard as fuck to pull off, and the filmmakers get a haunted high five from your’s cruelly!

As for special features on this DVD release, we get a nice featurette detailing the film’s production, as well as a look at the film’s effects and creative set design, and the film’s trailer.

Full of jaw-dropping, surreal, gloriously ridiculous nonsense from beginning to end, Creature Cabin should absolutely be a go too for your next substance enhanced movie night!

 

 

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