The last full feature effort of Jen and Sylvia Soska – aka the Twisted Twins – was the sublime American Mary; a film which managed to be both horrific and beautiful in equal measure. With that and Dead Hooker in a Trunkdisplaying a sense of pride in their female protagonists, it came as a bit of surprise to some when the two obtained directing duties on the sequel to See No Evil. Whilst there is a place in society for slashers, See No Evil wasn’t that well lauded and, some argued, was a bit beneath the joint directors.
However, when all is said and done, the Soska sisters have managed to pull off a slasher that quashes those concerns and manages to be a rollicking ride. With scripting duties going to Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby, the sisters focus solely on the job of directing Jacob Goodnight (WWE’s Kane) as he hacks through the mortuary where he’s been left for dead after the events of the first film.
Danielle Harris – no stranger to the cinematic serial killers – plays the lead alongside Kaj-Erik Eriksen as two co-workers having a very bad time during Goodnight’s resurrection. Whilst the tropes of the slasher are there for everyone to see, See No Evil 2 remains fresh due its genre defying and genderbent attitude that sees the boys take a back seat this time around. This is some good old fashioned mayhem that pays homage to the 80s slasher, whilst pushing the genre to the next logical step. Fingers crossed that someone doesn’t ruin all that goodwork in the inevitable sequel.
Chris Fuchman has become one of the most feared serial killers in Tromaville. Targeting only fathers, his crimes have become legendary. Hot on his tail is Ahab (Adam Brooks), a man hell-bent on revenge for the death of his death of his own father. Ahab is joined by Twink (Conor Sweeney), a young male prostitute and Father Sullivan (Matthew Kennedy), a naïve and eager to please priest (Matthew Kennedy).
Filmed on a budget of $10,000 by the indie crew at Astron 6, Father’s Day is a balls to the wall, schlock fest that tips its hat to the exploitation films of the 70s. As gory as it is funny, it delivers a ballistic 90 minutes that never lets up. Plus, it has one of our favourite downbeat endings ever.
Dead Hooker in a Truck
When twins, Badass and Geek (played by writers and directors Jen and Sylvia Soska) find a dead prostitute in the boot of their car, the girls find themselves in a fight for their lives, involving triads, bible thumpers, chainsaws and a mysterious man known only as the Cowboy Pimp.
Dead Hooker in a Trunk is the debut effort of the sick minds who gave us American Mary. Different in tone to the body modification drama, it reminded us in a fashion of Peter Jackson’s violent and grossly amusing Bad Taste. The budget is low, but the love for genre films and a knowing sense is up there for all to see. A rowdy rollercoaster of a road movie, it scores extra points for Geek’s acknowledgment of the crazy ass day they’ve had.
Back to Astron 6 with this throwback to the straight to video ‘classics’ of yesteryear. Mankind has been taken over by the denizens of Hell led by the evil fucknut Draculon (Adam Brooks). A soldier, brought back to life as a cyborg and going by the name of Manborg (Matthew Kennedy), finds himself caught up with a gang of futuristic gladiators/freedom fighters. Can good overcome evil? Manborg had an even tighter budget than Father’s Day, but that doesn’t mean it’s limited in scope; using green screen and models to create dystopian backdrops.
All of Astron 6’s films are laced with black humour, but Manborg truly reminded us of the comedies of Mel Brooks. Whether they are happy with that assessment is another matter. Still, with fun characters like the terminally lovesick Baron and an OTT score that would make The Running Man mope, this is a definite must.
Jen and Sylvia Soska, AKA the Twisted Twins, bring us a follow up to their 2009 exploitation flick, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, which couldn’t be any further from their freshman effort in terms of tone, pitch and quality. When we met them at the Monsterfest film festival this year, they said their intention was to create a horror movie that could be watched by people that don’t do horror; and they more or less succeed.
Mary Mason (Katherine Isabelle) is a financially struggling medical student who finds herself wading through a series of extra-curricular activities to pay the bills. Going from stripper to mob doctor before finally settling into the world of body modification, Mary never comes across as the victim, despite the trespasses she suffers against her person.
American Mary is, though it may seem odd to read, a beautiful film. Like The Skin I Live In, the framing of the film contrasts wonderfully with the horrors we witness. The Soskas’ direction raises it above what you come to expect from exploitation/horror films and we can’t wait to see what else they come up with.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
Two words: Troma Films. If you’ve seen anything from Lloyd Kauffman’s diseased stable, then you know what to expect. Tromaville’s Native American burial ground has been ploughed over to make way for a new fast food restaurant, and it’s deceased inhabitants are none too pleased about it. Billed as a musical horror, Poultrygeist is almost hypnotic with its low budget, copious amounts of gore and Muslim stereotypes that would make Sex and the City 2 blush.
The ‘musical’ numbers stir up memories of Little Shop of Horrors and Meet the Feebles, but are soon forgot about in the last third of the film. However, it’s very hard to care in a film that seems to happily urinate in the wind with regards to convention. When the undead rise, the bucket of blood is somewhat diluted, in a good way, by jokes that remind us of Peter Jackson’s Braindead, and it’s hard not to be swept along and giggle as a chicken zombie strips the flesh from its victim, acknowledging to a fellow fowl that it knows the skin is unhealthy for it.
Strap yourself in with your favourite bottle of liquor and you’ll be in for a blast.
Grave Encounters 2 (2012)
Grave Encounters was a slapdash affair of YouTube videos wrapped around a plot that was so full of holes it may as well have been used for fishing. So is there any reason to return Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital and it’s ghoulish inhabitants? Well, yes in a way.
Like Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, Grave Encounters 2 works on the conceit that the original is a cult horror film that some people believe really happened. Into the arena steps Alex (Richard Harmon), a film student who wants to expose the truth behind the filming of Grave Encounters.
Grave Encounters 2 is very much the same as the previous entry, but there’s just something about it that seems to work in way that didn’t before. The incessant running around corridors and shouting ‘what the fuck?!’ is all present and correct, but first time director John Poliquen keeps it all ticking along at a pace that keeps you genuinely entertained. It’s just a shame the script, written by the original writers/directors the Vicious Brothers, shoots itself in the foot with an ending that falls apart as soon as you pick at the threads.