Hot Lead, Hard Fury (2017) Film Review by Dave K./A FIEND ON FILM

Recently, I was introduced online to a film maker from Colorado named Mike Olafson. He was complimentary to my short film and told me he had a new feature that was completed. I was curious and saw the trailer to Hot Lead, Hard Fury. In turn, Mike was gracious enough to send a screener so I could see the full film. Glad to say that I watched it and can report this is a fantastic film, especially considering all the back story behind it.

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The plot is… it is 1977 in a place called Steel City. There is a drug bust that goes bad and a few cops are wiped out. One of the dead is the brother of a former Steel City cop named Chuck Beefer, who has left town after something “bad” happened in his past. Now Chuck has returned to join a small team of people to weed out the crime mob responsible for this action and the distribution of a new drug called Voodoo Blue. Voodoo Blue is a combination off LSD and cocaine, which gives an incredible high but if used even in the most smallest dose, can cause immediate death. What happens afterwords is a journey of death, destruction, back stabbing, plot twists and a lot of Beefer.

Now my plot synopsis sounds like it has been done a million times before…and it has. The difference here is how the film makers (and include all people involved in this one) did it. The first big thing is the entire film is shot with a Super 8 camera with various qualities of film stock. That means it’s full screen 1:33 to 1 though most of it. The director really works with the limitation of the dimension very well and also throws you off when the screen will go 16 x 9 for excellent split screen action at points of the film. The action is also top notch, from the fight scenes to the car chases, it’s all done by some brazen and talented people. Many films try to get a “retro” look with varying degrees of success, but the use of Super 8 makes it actually look like it was made in the 1970’s. There is also some great arty type moments through that makes it looks less “standard”.

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I felt the acting was strong with the massive cast they had for this 2 hour long action fest. The script is damn good though there is some cheese especially with the Chuck Beefer character. I did get tired of the wacky sound effects after a bit because the film is played pretty straight. I know it was intentional and I’ll take it for what it is worth. The gore from the violence goes from well done to Herschell Gordon Lewis territory… again I think that was the point and people are going to love it. I can’t believe they got some of the gun play and car chase scenes on the low budget they did this on. If I start on how great the film’s score is…I won’t stop. It’s solid.

Olafson and crew took the Colorado locations, which all look like it hasn’t changed since the 70’s, and ran with it. Hot Lead, Hard Fury is a great indie film that deserves to be seen and is inspiring. This looks like it was a lot of work with long hours to boot. I am not sure as of this writing how and when this will be distributed (there are screenings abound), it does deserve a full physical media release. You will want this one on the shelf for sure. Fiend ‘O’ Meter is a 9/10.

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New York. The city I love.

Since moving to the Atlanta, GA area in 2002, I have been back to NYC 4 times now. Not a hell of a lot since I used to been in the city 3 to 4 times a week in the 80’s and 90’s. With each time, I tried to hit up as much territory as possible. Each visit, I went to places I never traveled to while I was in the city all the time. In 2014, while visiting friends and seeing shows, I stayed mostly in the Wall Street area and saw places new to me. It was the first time I had a camera (digital) so I was able for the first time to take photos of many great old buildings. This year, since we had to take my daughter to her 1st year of school, I made it a point to see much of the area around 57th Street. It was an extremely interesting experience walking from the west side to the east side all in one shot.

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One thing I noticed was the amount of construction going on at the same time. NYC is always changing since the beginning. Building up, tearing down… but this time it seemed like every single block was full of people making things. The buildings now are taller and more narrow due to the ground real estate getting more smaller and way more expensive.

I get it. NYC has changed. It seems like people bitch more and more about it these days. “Things are not the same”. Sure but that has been going on as long as people first started living there. To me, I find the people that bitch the loudest are the ones that refuse to move if it doesn’t suit them anymore. You can’t say, “I can’t afford to move”. I don’t see why not… it’s basically cheaper to live anywhere else in the USA.

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As much as things change and move on in NYC, the fact is… it’s still NYC. The Big Apple. Where on every block there is life and something going on. No matter how much they try to jazz areas up, it’s still dirty. It’s like there is a thin layer of grime on every surface. The garbage (and now recycling) is still piled high along the curb and even though there are nice (and not so nice) garbage cans EVERYWHERE…people can’t seem to throw the trash in them. NYC smells…deal with it.

It’s still loud. There are people running around yelling and screaming. People asking for money. As I walked down 57th Street, a truck driver yelled out his window at a long gone bike rider who cut him off. Even though that guy would never hear him, the driver loudly kept spewing obscenities for the hell of it. On that same walk, I saw many cars towed, two ambulances taking people out of buildings and a crazy car accident. I loved it.

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I still love getting around town on the subway. For me, as much as NYC is a walking city, the subway is the way to go. In my older age and with my bad feet, I was happy to jump on and off, seeing all the older and newer train cars with each trip. Mind you, I felt like a rookie at times because I couldn’t remember all the train lines anymore….

One thing that is an absolute truth about modern NYC is that the cell phone has made New Yorkers more disconnected to each other than ever before. In general, New Yorkers rarely make eye contact when walking but now every one is in a bubble. How you can walk and look at your phone at the same time puzzles me, but people do it. Me, I like walking and looking up. Looking up at the mastery of NYC architecture. Ok, granted some of the newer buildings blow chunks though if you really want to see old NYC, look up. It’s all there.

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This was a bit of rambling, I know. The thing is NYC is always going to be changing. There is always going to be gentrification. There is always going to be chain stores moving in. If you are not happy living there, move or create a new experience for yourself there. It’s expensive. If I could afford it, I would move there no question. Right now, it’s there for me to visit and explore. Still the greatest place on earth and if it wasn’t for my initial desire to go there back in ’84 (to escape the drudgery of NJ)… there would be no Dave K. I for one am glad my daughter chose a school in NYC, she has the same desire to do and see something different. It’s going to make her somebody. NYC is where it is at. Period.

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Looking for filmmakers for TENDER IS THE FLESH… a short film by Dave K.!

Brief for TENDER IS THE FLESH a short film by Dave K.

Hey peeps! I am working on pre-production for my next short film called TENDER IS THE FLESH, which I am looking to release in early 2019. Thematically, I want to be a homage to old Richard Kern films, specifically Submit To Me and Submit To Me Now. That style… but with a modern twist. It is going to be very graphic design heavy, with more of the frame by frame animations I tend to do. While I am going to be filming my own sequences here in the Atlanta area, I want to invite my film makers (and non-film maker) friends out there to join in.

TENDER IS THE FLESH’s direct theme is Morality In Decay. Sex, Sleaze, Death, Debauchery…you get the gist, with it being flesh/body horror related. I am looking for people to send me short film clips that you made of crazy things like gore, nasty visuals or barren lands with somebody just standing there. Weird street fighting, cemetery photography, burlesque… anything strange…. This is going to be a highly experimental film.

If you have shot a lot of film before and have cutting room floor stuff you never used that would be cool too. Literally looking for 30 seconds or less of footage/clips.

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By submitting anything, you will get credited as a contributor in the credits. You are giving me free reign to edit it in the film as I see fit. You will also get a copy of the DVD when it is eventually made after the finished film is released on Vimeo tentatively in early 2019.

I am not putting out a deadline as this will be a long project and I will always be looking for material until I am ready with the final film. I will be constantly promoting for the rest of 2018 looking for cool stuff. The darker & nastier the better.

Any questions or to send your clips, please hit up my e-mail at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com

Follow me over on Twitter at: @AFiendOnFilm

REVIEW: 13 Dolls In Darkness (2017) Directed by Zeda Muller

Let’s just start out by saying that the recent indie horror scene has quite a few gems out there, but it’s littered with so much crap that it’s hard to find anything worthwhile.People who know me, know I don’t hold back from saying if something is not good. My FB Messenger popped up the other day with a message from the film’s director asking if I wanted to see 13 Dolls In Darkness. As I have been wanting to, since all the poster art and trailer has been intriguing as hell, I say said yes, immediately.

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Getting right to it, 13 Dolls in Darkness is one of the best indie horror films I have ever seen. It’s mostly for the tech and effort angle but also for the bold idea behind it. For a low budget film (very LOW), the amount of shots and edits in it… eclipses most films that have seemingly endless budgets. Oh and that opening title sequence…………..

The big selling point is it is a silent film and it’s filmed like it’s on old falling apart nitrate stock that is about to burn up as it goes through the projector. Think like you are watching a film from 1916 (at the proper speed) and you get the idea. (complete with dialogue cards to move the story around…) Every frame is blown out and flickers. Some might get turned off to this but stick with it and you don’t even notice after a while.

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The plot is simple. A lady gets a message from her mother that she is dying and to “come home right away”. She does and an “event” happens and people comes looking for her. A million films are like this right? But none are executed in this fashion and that is why it is so solid a movie. There are so many horror tropes hitting your brain every sequence, why does it seem so fresh? Is this a slasher? A giallo? An “old dark house” film? All of those and none of it. It’s like Zeda squeezed dozens of ideas from horror films between the 60’s through the 80’s through a food processor, poured in a lot of black and white and out came 13 Dolls of Darkness. (I found it humorous that one of the girls in the film is dressed like it’s 1982…) Loads of death, dismemberment and gore too.

Getting back to the tech of 13 Dolls In Darkness. While the low budget bleeds through along the edges, the masterful editing and presentation elevates it to another level. I can only imagine how much time went into cutting this and putting it all together. Makes other filmmakers look lazy by comparison. So much style and heart is in this.

I feel very strongly about this movie. If I had the money to start up my own Bluray/DVD releasing company, I would be so into putting it out. Somebody has too.

Fiend ‘O’ Meter says: 10/10

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BOOK REVIEW: The Hitcher by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (2018)

The Hitcher by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Published by Arrow Books 100 pgs. 2018

Don’t pick up hitchhikers…EVER.

Late in 2017, when this book by film critic and writer, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, was announced by Arrow, most of the film (mostly uptight) nerds around the “internet” were posting their disappointment. Why? Because it was a “book” and not a Bluray of THE HITCHER. I, myself, was all giddy with anticipation since it was a new book by one of my favorite film writers of all time!

I personally have only seen THE HITCHER from 1986 once and that was in the VHS days. I do own the DVD of it and it is more than likely it will not see a BluRay release unless HBO puts it out as they hold the rights to it (and I am sure there is more to it than that). So in cases like these, I look to people like Alex to throw down some knowledge to make me understand why a film like this is important to see.

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In her personal style, the “book” is assembled much like the last I read of hers, the one on Able Ferrara’s 1981 film, Ms. 45. It opens with pre-production on the film and references to older films, in this case, ones that deal with hitchhiking as a plot device. The middle section is her breakdown and observations on themes of THE HITCHER, going deep on the character’s motivations. The 3rd part deals with the film’s completion, the theatrical/critical response, the sequel and remake and other notes. The book also has stills and posters from the film, blown up to fill the page. I have read many articles on the film over the years and the writer of this book brings out tidbits I never heard before.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas has put together a very well researched book. It doesn’t talk down to you like some film books. She drops the paragraphs easy to read but giving you plenty to consider about this film. It’s also kept clean with no footnotes (the references are in the back pages for further perusal) and Arrow did a nice concise layout. It’s a small book, yes, but books like these are important and I’m glad Arrow gave it a shot. Alex’s writing is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to the next tome with her name on it!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT Fanzine #3 is now taking submissions! The CAT III issue!

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It’s time to start writing for issue 3 of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT! It is our first themed issue…CAT III Cinema! We are looking for the bulk of this issue to be CAT III (Category III in Hong Kong is 18 and up) films of Hong Kong OR films from other Asian countries that can be considered CAT III. Looking for reviews/essays on the most depraved, smutty, violent, dirty, sleazy films you can come up with. There are plenty of films to be considered, so start writing! Any questions ask! Any reviews received during this time that do not fit the theme, will definitely go into the November 2018 issue! We here at Asian Cinema Takeout are looking forward to your submissions…all writers will get the issue in paper form for sure!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and is 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. The third issue will be out in late September 2018!

Thematically, we cover films of all eras from the Asian film world, but only ones with a darker theme. Cult, Exploitation, Action, Horror, Smut, etc… you get the idea. While we will graciously accept long form articles/reviews, ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT mostly consists of shorter, paragraph length reviews with many photos and poster art work. Whatever we cannot fit in one issue, will go on to the next. All writings can be old or new. If you have things on an old dead blog, send it, give it new life.

So contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com for any more info. (Send all submissions with Asian Cinema Takeout in the subject line)

Join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

Hope to see your work in the upcoming issue!

Check out the first issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

Check out the 2nd issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/3vqqpzq33tf9c8a/ACT_2_for_web.pdf

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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT issue #2 May 2018 is out! DOWNLOAD it FREE!

It’s here as promised! ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT #2!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT covers the darker side of Asian Cinema and this issue has plenty of short film reviews for you to pursue…

The ‘zine itself is 20 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches and in B & W.

You can download it two different ways for FREE:

The read on screen version (PDF) is here:

Asian Cinema Takeout #2 pdf

You can also download the odd and even pages to make your own print copy here:

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even numbered pages ACT issue 2

If you wish to contribute to future issues, e-mail me at Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with “Asian Cinema Takeout” in the subject line. All contributors get a print copy of the ‘zine.

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP HERE! Asian Cinema Takeout Facebook Group!act issue 2 cover