Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. The title got your attention, right? Actually, despite the silly name this is one of the higher budget films we’ve featured on From the Vault, and one which actually has a serious message. The film was conceived as a satire/criticism of the American fast food industry follows a group of people trapped inside a New Jersey fried chicken restaurant – the American Chicken Bunker – which is being attacked by chicken-possessed zombie demons after building an establishment on top of an ancient Indian burial ground. Continuing the strange premise, all of the lead characters are named after famous Fast Food Restaurants. Arbie (Arby’s), Wendy (Wendy’s), Micki (McDonalds), Denny (Denny’s), Carl Jr. (Carl Jr.) and Paco Bell (Taco Bell).
The title was originally Good Night and Good Cluck, and in classic B-Movie tradition, there’s an awesome tagline – Humans, the other white meat! The films budget was around $450,000, which is fairly typical for the production company Troma. Their catalogue of films includes such classics as Surf Nazis Must Die, Rabid Grannies, and Killer Condom. The crew was made up entirely of volunteers found through Craigslist and horror magazines, and the crew was housed in an abandoned church with only one bathroom.
Fiend Without a Face (1958)
There were doubts over whether or not The Cabin in the Woods could bring home the bacon. While writer Joss Whedon certainly knew how to put the comedy into horror, genre connosoirs were more than a little worried about his ability to put the actual horror into horror. His time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer demonstrated he knew horror, but that didn’t mean he could really write it.
Additionally Drew Goddard was a relatively unproven commodity, with this being his directorial debut. It’s hard not to think frequent collaborated Whendon landed Goddard this job.
It’s something we should thank Whedon for though, as Goddard proves himself to be quite the horror pro.
The Cabin in The Woods works incredibly well as a straight up love letter to the ‘teens in a woodland cabin horror’. It’s funny, knowing without being smug and most importantly scary. The ‘teens’ are amusingly and undoubtedly played by actors far beyond their teenage years and they put in some great performances (just one indicator of how au fait The Cabin in the Woods is it’s genre), especially Thor himself Chris Hemsworth.
Its great enough as it rattles along at that pace, but what really makes the jaw drop is when the twists start to kick in. Yes, twists plural. It gets crazy. Without wanting to spoil things, this is currently the ultimate fan-service movie for lovers of the horror genre. It’s like Whedon and Goddard took the wildest fan speculation and used it as a basis for one of the most innovative scripts we’ve seen in a long time. If anything, its a vindication for all those drunken conversations we’ve all head.
This is a wonderful movie that works on several levels with brilliance, confidence and ingenuity. Make sure you see it.
The actors in The Blair Witch Project were given no more than a 35-page outline of the mythology behind the plot before shooting began. All lines were improvised and nearly all the events in the film were unknown to the three actors beforehand, and were often on-camera surprises to them all.
Some theatergoers experienced nausea from the handheld camera movements and actually had to leave to vomit. In some Toronto theatres, ushers asked patrons who where prone to motion sickness to sit in the aisle seat and to try not to “throw up on other people.”
This film was in the Guinness Book Of World Records for “Top Budget:Box Office Ratio” (for a mainstream feature film). The film cost $22,000 to make and made back $240.5 million, a ratio of $1 spent for every $10,931 made.
The crackling sounds in the woods were made by the director and friends walking up to the camp’s perimeter, breaking sticks, and then tossing them in various directions.
One-at-a-time Attack Rule
Whenever the hero of a horror film is surrounded by monsters/zombie/flesh eating savages, he will focus his attack on one at a time, while the rest politely wait.
” I’m sure I kept waiting for the werewolf heads to drop off they looked so top heavy, and the fur had to have been stitched out of the fake fur stuff you line dog baskets with”
Answer revealed Monday!
The first item on this weeks news round up is the revelation that Amazon has cancelled the Zombieland series. Rhett Reese, writer of the series and the film of the same name spoke about the announcement on Twitter saying – “Our Zombieland series will not be moving forward on Amazon. Sad for everyone involved. I’ll never understand the vehement hate the pilot received from die-hard Zombieland fans. You guys successfully hated it out of existence. Anyway, we did our best, and we’re very proud of our team.”
Although ABCs of Death received a somewhat mixed reaction, it’s definitely an interesting concept to have some of the best directors in the horror industry create shorts (plus, everyone loves a creative death scene) This week, it was announced that ABCs of Death 2 is planned for 2014. The sequel’s new roster includes Goya Award winner Álex de la Iglesia (THE LAST CIRCUS, DAY OF THE BEAST); ROOM 237 mastermind Rodney Ascher; Academy Award-nominated animator Bill Plympton; Filipino icon – and Director’s Fortnight inductee – Erik Matti (ON THE JOB, MAGIC TEMPLE); and the founder of Nigerian “Nollywood” cinema Lancelot Imasuen.
Some news about upcoming documentary Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday The 13th. A release date of August 27th, with pre-orders beginning July 8th. With a running time of approximately seven hours, the documentary explores each film from the original 1980 slasher hit to the 2009 reboot. The film is created by the team behind Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy.
Cute little story to finish up. For all of you who are both horror fans and parents, “Big, Scary, Make-Believe Land” is a new Kindle e-book that helps parents introduce their children to the horror movie genre. The book launched on Amazons online marketplace this week, but was originally written by Jason “Fozzie” Nelson as a gift for a horror podcaster expecting a baby. Targeted for children age 4 – 9 “Big, Scary, Make-Believe Land” helps explain to children that the things that they may see on the screen are all just pretend.
I’ll admit, I like Roger Corman. In fact, his Poe adaptions are among the most watched in my horror collection. He is however, best known for his low budget, usually ridiculously titled B-Movies. Attack of the Crab Monsters falls into this category. Released in 1957 as a double bill with Not of this Earth, the combination of the two films is classic Corman. he plot follows a scientific expedition trapped on a remote island inhabited by atomically mutated giant crabs. And it’s not even his strangest film.
Tagline aren’t what they used to be, and this one was ”Terrorama! Double Horror Sensation!”. Corman famously credited this film with being his discovery that horror and humor can co-exist, a motto he seemed to live by throughout his filmmaking career. Also significant is that this was his most profitable film, the success largely owed to the intriguing title.
Vampire Buster (1989 Hong Kong)
When you think of horror set in space there’s only one that immediately comes to mind. Yes, Leprechaun 4: In Space (you thought I was talking about Jason X didn’t you?). After the Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) terrorised Jennifer Anniston in part 1, sought a bride in L.A. in part 2 and was occupied with a mythical statue in Las Vegas during part 3, the producers thought the next logical place to take to him was space.
The story seems deliberately farcical. We open on Leprechaun having kidnapped alien Princess Zarina (Rebecca Carlton) in the hopes of marrying her and becoming the king of an alien world. His plans go awry when space marines under contract to Dr. Mittenhand (Guy Siner) interrupt his romantic dinner for her, and Leprechaun begins wreaking havoc upon their ship.
Watching the film is a weirdly nostalgic experience, and feels very much like watching children’s morning live-action TV shows like Power Rangers; albeit with more boobs and blood.
Leprechan 4: In Space is atrociously made and knows it. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith knows he isn’t making Alien and embraces the campy, awfulness of the film, yet fails to use this as an asset. He and writer Dennis A. Pratt throw as many low-brow gags at the screen as possible and its actually impressive how little of it sticks. From an overly-long cyborg commando in drag act to Leprechaun getting onto the ship via transferring his soul up a urine stream, then growing out of a penis, its wall to wall absurdity.
On top of that it looks incredibly cheap, it isn’t at all scary (though what Mittenhand evolves into comes close to be fair) and the acting, even from Davis, is terrible. Yes, this is one of those rare movies that really is so bad its good.