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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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT #2 IS NOW TAKING SUBMISSIONS!

It’s time to start writing for issue two of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT! Based on the Facebook group of the same name, started by the illustrious Jesse Midnitekrawlr, the first issue of the ‘zine version was released in March 2018!

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 second issue will be out in late May 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

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Announcing a new ONGOING film fanzine… ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT!

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OK peeps…the HOUSE OF SKIN has been locked up for the season. It’s 2018 and time for a new ‘zine. This time out we are going to try an ongoing… and it’s called ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT. Based on the Facebook group of the same name, started by the illustrious Jesse Midnitekrawlr, the ‘zine version will be released whenever there is enough content.

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT will be half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and consist of 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. First issue will be out sometime in March 2018!

Thematically, we will be covering 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 will mostly consist 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.

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

act facebook header for group

FIENDISH one-shot August 2017 is now available for download!! 8/27/17

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for (or not)! The FIENDISH horror/cult/exploitation one shot fanzine is now available for download. It’s 92 pages of some great content from writers all over.

You have two ways to download FIENDISH (it’s free!):

The print version is in two parts. One file is for the odd pages (cover side) and the other file is the even pages. Download both and you can print your own copy (or copies to give out to others). This is a free fanzine, so while you are free to print as many as your want, don’t sell it. The files for this version are here:

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The web/screen version is here. This version is the individual pages, so it can be read on screen up/down or side to side. At a 121 mb, a bit of a beast but it was as small as I could get it without sacrificing quality.

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Hope you like and tell others to get it. A few months of work went into this and I feel the results are there.

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Announcing HOUSE OF SKIN: A Tribute to the films of David Cronenberg (2018)!!

Brief/Primer for HOUSE OF SKIN: A Tribute to David Cronenberg’s Films.

Hey, Dave K. here. You might know me as A Fiend On Film or you might not know me at all (probably the latter). After publishing two successful film based fanzines, Hara-Kiri: Extreme Asian Films (2016) and FIENDISH (2017), we are going for a 3rd in 2018. It will have one theme and that is to celebrate the films of David Cronenberg. Everybody usually waits for someone to die before they start looking back on their life, I wanted to put together something that celebrates a career while they are still alive.

David Cronenberg has a long and very solid history making films since the late 1960’s. I personally consider him to be the most consistent of all genre directors out there. While I have not personally seen every single film he has worked on (that is one of the reasons I am setting this up), all the ones I have seen I rate pretty highly (Crash is my favorite). He has always been interesting.

So here is what I am asking you to do, write about his films, either a single one or a few. I am looking for more long form writing this time out but don’t let that scare you off. Write what you feel. For me, I plan on watching films of his I missed and put them into one long form article. You can do the same if so desired. The writing can be new or if you have done something on an old blog/website but never saw print. I know I have many returning writers for this project though I really would welcome some new blood (or flesh)…

I would like to also see some artwork based on these films. Either direct representations or “inspired” form. It would have to be something that can be replicated in black and white well.

The fanzine itself will be 8 1/2/ x 11 inches B & W with a color front cover.

This is an all volunteer project. I cannot pay for any material but all people who respond with writing/art work, etc. will get a printed copy when it is released in January 2018. This will also be available a PDF for screen and to print. It can be as big as we can get it, I would like to shoot for 100 pages.

I would like to have all material in by December 1st 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with “HOUSE OF SKIN” in the subject line.

 

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A look at Cultographies: Ms. 45 by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (2017)

I “met” Alexandra through her writing a couple of year back when I read one of her previous books, Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study. To me, just that title alone is a home run but when I was about half way through I knew I was reading words from my “new” favorite film writer. While the book has that scholarly air about it, Alexandra shows she is a down to earth film fan first and writes so that dumb shulbs like me can understand. I found out about a couple of films she wrote about in a positive fashion and picked them up.

I later learned from her at the time, that she was working on two future books, both single film specific. One was about Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977) and the next, the one I was most interested in, Abel Ferrara’s 1981 Classic Ms. 45. Little that I knew it was going to be a bit for it to be released. The countdown began at that moment…

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^ Contents page…

Last week, the book arrived in my mailbox and I fast tracked it to the top of the pile. I was first surprised at the small size of the book and then realized it was perfect. Sized like a classic paperback you would find on the racks of seedy magazine shops (like Seven Star News in the city of Linden, New Jersey where I grew up), the subject material fits it like a glove. In a historical fashion, Alexandra breaks down the making/creation of the film, from it’s beginnings to the finished product hitting the screens.

She is a researcher who likes details and doesn’t skimp on them. While Alexandra doesn’t have a direct interview with any of the particulars, there are many referenced quotes from all who were involved with the proceedings. There is a big focus on Zoe Lund, from the acting in Ms. 45, her writings & collaborations with Abel on other productions, such as Bad Lieutenant (1992). Small details do not get unnoticed, it seems for one big scene in the film, Ferrara hired for day work, people hanging out in the Revolutionary Communist Party Bookstore on 18th Street/NYC, as his studios were upstairs. Weird, I was at that place a few times in the 80’s, who knew such greatness was up above! There is also words written about the recent “uncut” DVD release by Drafthouse Films. While I knew there were many versions of Ms. 45, I wasn’t aware that it was never released in full until 2013. Crazy.

Overall, as with much of her previous work, Alexandra writes for the “common folk” when it comes to film critique. I would say about 15% of the book would be considered psycho babble but the rest is hardcore film criticism and looking into the film’s production, the screenings and reactions afterward. Ms. 45, when you look at it at face value, is not an easy film to fully understand and everybody comes away from it differently. Even though I have seen the film a few times over the years, this book illuminated somethings I missed (again, I’m a dumb shulb, don’t sue me…). If you are like me and enjoy reading about movies, Cultographies: Ms. 45 is a sure pick-up.

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Find the book and Alexandra on the Web here:

https://www.amazon.com/Ms-45-Cultographies-Alexandra-Heller-Nicholas/dp/0231179855

http://www.thebluelenses.com/

https://twitter.com/suspirialex