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 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:

odd numbered pages ACT issue 2

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

Films I Watched in 2018: NEW BREED DOCUMENTARY (2018)

Films I Watched in 2018: NEW BREED DOCUMENTARY (2018)

In the mid 1980’s, when I first started to get actively involved in the NYC hardcore/punk scene, one of the things I did was organize a couple of cassette tape compilations called “Live It Live” (parts 1 and 2 respectively), they were culled from donated live recordings from bands around the world, including some local bands. They got around but in the grand scheme of things, it went nowhere and the tapes were quickly forgotten. It did help me get my “foot in the door” so to speak and people started to know me through that. There have been hundreds (maybe thousands) of tape compilations around the world from the punk rock/hardcore world of the 1980’s but none are more famous than the NEW BREED tape comp that Freddy Alva and Chaka Malik put out in the 1989. If the “tape comp” was going to go the way of the dodo, it went out with a loud bang!

I have been lucky enough to be given an advance screening of my long time buds, John Woods and Freddy Alva‘s documentary on the NEW BREED cassette compilation. It has
been in the works for a very long time. The subject matter is one I am very familiar with as I was there when it first came out. The documentary talks to a few people connected to the bands on the tape and others from the scene at the time who where highly influenced by it. Since I knew about 80% of the people in the documentary personally, I wasn’t really surprised by the answers, their memories were pretty sharp. I really liked how the filmmakers cut in a ton of footage from places that were important to the scene that do not exist anymore, like See Hear (important fanzine/small press shop) and Some Records (probably the most important record store to ever exist). Haven’t
seen or thought about much of it in years. The film quality is low budget but hey it’s about punk rock, screw it. It’s what is in that counts.

All in all, this is another fine and important look into a music past that can’t be recaptured, only appreciated. On Saturday May 19th, there will be a screening out in Los Angeles with the filmmakers in attendance. Link is below. Hopefully, they will release this soon for the general consumption.

Fiend ‘O’ Meter says: 8/10

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FIENDISH PICKINGS WEEKLY #2 4/9/17

articles

Blood and Beauties – An Interview with Death-Scort Service Part 2: The Naked Dead Director Sean Donohue

The beginner’s guide to Italian exploitation cinema by Den Of Geek (contributed by Mando Ayala)

The films of Radley Metzger

6 Reasons Why “Kagemusha” Is Akira Kurosawa’s Late Masterpiece by Panos Kotzathanasis

CGs Film Reviews

From a House on Willow Street (2016) yeah this was not a good film. There are some great practical effects and creature design but its mixed with laughable CGI effects and characters that are so paper thin and just plain stupid.

The films starts out introducing our characters and their backstories just so they can then be used against them later on. The first half of the film is mainly characters walking around in the dark followed by jump scares. We then get an exposition dump that slows the film to a crawl followed by a third act that ramps up the action and gore.

The last act is where the film is at its best but the characters are so underdeveloped and uninteresting that it just didn’t grab me. I could see some people really enjoying this but not me. 2.5/5 stars.

Galaxy of Horrors 1h 45min | Horror, Sci-Fi | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

A horror/scifi anthology that reminded me of the film released last year called Patient Seven which was created by grabbing international shorts and creating a wrap around story to loosely tie them all together. As with any anthology you will always have a mixed bag with some shorts being strong, some being okay and some being terrible. Here’s the breakdown:

Eden – 2.5/5, IRIS – 4/5, Pathos – 3/5, Flesh Computer – 2/5, Eveless – 1/5, They Will All Die in Space – 4/5, Entity – 3.5/5, Kings – 3/5, Wrap Around Story – 1/5

There are some really strong highs and some really low lows. So overall I had a fun time but each story is very different from each other. 3.5/5 stars.

Quarries 1h 23min | Drama, Horror, Thriller | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

This has to be one of the most generic backwoods horror films I’ve ever seen. Our group of women are all one note cliches and our villains are the most boring cookie cutter redneck family.

Everything just happens in the most boring way possible as there is no build of suspense and our so called threat is dispatched with relative ease. It doesn’t get more middle of the road than this. 2/5 stars.
Alleluia (film) 1h 33min | Crime, Horror, Romance | 12 November 2014 (Belgium)
A very disturbed woman goes on a date with a man who she discovers is a scam artist and has issues of his own. She quickly becomes obsessed and it all spirals out of control from there. Based on a true story this is a very dark and gritty film that has a very 1970s feel. 3.5/5 stars.

A Room to Die For 18A | 1h 24min | Horror, Thriller | 2017 (Amazon VOD)

This is a pretty terrible film. We then are given flashes of whats to come within the first 5 mins so this undercuts any suspense of what may happen. The performances are not good all around.

The young couple are pretty unlikable right from the start especially the boyfriend and the older couple are so uninteresting so we can’t engage with them either. What happens in the film is supposed to generate some kind of emotion but all I felt was sorry for the actors involved in this film.
Avoid! 1/5 stars.

videos

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) – Arrow Video Limited Edition Blu-Ray Set Unboxing! by deadbydawn93

DEATH-SCORT SERVICE PART 2: THE NAKED DEAD (2017) teaser trailer

Amy Heckerling’s Criterion Closet Picks

So’s Film Diaries #1 | TAKE ME INTO THE MATRIX | FILM VLOG by So’s Reel Thoughts

AllScreamingEye: The Greasy Strangler review by Gore Hounds

podcasts

Zach’s Ceremony, Ghost in the Shell and A Man Called Ove on Plato’s Cave – 03 April 2017

Dark Discussions Podcast Episode 278 – The Belko Experiment

THE LAST KNOCK presents: THE EYES OF MY MOTHER (2017)

POST MORTEM WITH MICK GARRIS with Walter Hill 3/29/17

sponsors

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