Monday, July 27, 2015

INDIEKET 2015 'VERSE RELEASES

This year’s Indieket will be held on August 15 at the Bayanihan Center on Pioneer.
The ‘Verse will be attending, and, given the marked absence of a Summer Komikon this year, we sure hope to see all you mighty fine folk there…

Debuting at this year’s Indieket:

DAKILA: Lumilim
Issue 1 (of 3)
By David Hontiveros and Elmer Cantada


Your name is Brandon Ramirez and you’ve been a geek your whole life: comics, movies, RPGs, cosplay.

And now you’re officially the world’s first superhero, as evidenced by the cape, the mask, the totally ripped physique, and those crazy-awesome powers.

Higher agencies seem to have conspired to steer you right into that skintight outfit.

We have only one question: How’s that working out for you?

It’s been almost 3 months since 18-year old Brandon Ramirez first became Dakila.
And right now, he just wants to cosplay.
But a day at ManilaCon with his barkada turns super weird (and super dangerous!) when creepy urban legend Mr. Alikabok--actually one of Mangilala’s many guises (dude’s a cosplayer too! Who knew?)--shows up with some, err… “friends,” to spoil everybody’s geekery.
Boo! Hiss!

Dakila. 18 years old. Cosmic champion.
All of a sudden, acne and getting a driver’s license are so not a big deal anymore.

URIEL: Hekhalot
Issue 3A (of 4)
By David Hontiveros and Michael Urbano


Uriel is a mighty arel, held in reverence and awe by his fellow arelim, feared and despised by the shedim hordes.
And right now, his fate and existence lie in the hands of his seven-year-old mortal charge, Maleck de los Santos.

Uriel believes the only way he can vacate Maleck’s body without hurting the boy is by facing Malael head on…
But first, he needs to say “Goodbye” to Maleck, in case his plan doesn’t work out.
Meanwhile, Caim pulls the good Doctor further down into the rabbit hole…

TATSULOK: A Vision of Dust Compilation
By David Hontiveros and Xerx Javier


In the many rooms of the House that is the World, there are arelim and shedim. Most men know them as angels and demons.

Three individuals, each related to one race or the other, converge on the stage of Holy Week, 2009, for their own collective Passion Play of transformation and acceptance.

Collecting issues 1 to 4, self-published by Xerx himself, this is essentially a remastered TATSULOK: AVoD.
The page size is bigger than the previously released singles, which means, more art, because:

A)    You’ll get to see the art at a larger size; and
B)    With the captions and word balloons staying the same size, less of the art is now covered by those pesky, pesky words

So, yeah! Remastered!

And there you go.
Hopefully, another title may get a new issue in in time for Indieket, in which case, there’ll be another update here soon. (Send some good karma our way to help with that!)

Hope to see all you mighty fine folk at the Indieket!

you can’t drink just six,

Dave

Saturday, July 4, 2015


¡Qué horror! 2015
Candidate #13

THE HARVEST
(October 2013)


Don't let the less-than-stellar one sheet fool you.

The Harvest is John McNaughton’s welcome (and rather overdue) return to the feature world. Working off a deliberately paced and neatly constructed script by Stephen Lancellotti (apparently his first), McNaughton delivers a chilling portrait of just how far parents will go for their children.
This one takes its time to really kick in, but audience patience will reap dividends.
Plus, there’s a pair of crackerjack names here: Michael Shannon and, in a brilliant Mother. Of. The. Year. performance, Samantha Morton.
The younger set is ably represented by Charlie Tahan, currently on Fox’s Wayward Pines, and The Possession’s Natasha Calis.
Plus, Peter Fonda in a supporting role!

So, yes, some may not actually think of The Harvest as “horror,” but really, the onscreen situation is by turns horrific, tragic, and disturbing.
So, ¡Q horror! stamp of approval right there…

(The Harvest OS courtesy of impawards.com.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


¡Qué horror! 2015
Candidate #12

CREEP
(March 2014)


The set-up: Aaron (feature debut director Patrick Brice) is a videographer-for-hire, who goes to work for Josef (Mark Duplass), without initially knowing any pertinent details other than how much the job’s worth, and that “discretion is appreciated.”

That’s really all you need to know too, and I’ll leave Mr. Brice himself to say why.

“I wholeheartedly agree that Creep is a better, more full experience the less you know going into it. We were really trying to make something that a large part of the enjoyment would be the discovery of the film itself.”

Suffice it to say that Creep is pretty much a two-man op. Or, at least, a two-man op with some invaluable help from Blumhouse maestro, Jason Blum.
Working from a rough treatment, Brice and Duplass went off to shoot a majority of the film, which, under the guiding hand of Blum (whose input was, in Brice’s words, meant “to make [Creep] marketable as a horror film”), has resulted in a piece that’s both disturbingly intimate, and intimately disturbing.

“If you want to see a movie like Creep it's because you have two very relationship-oriented filmmakers, guided by Jason Blum, so what you're going to get is a movie that does not follow all of those rules of what a horror movie is. When Jason saw this, he told us, I've seen every piece of shit found footage horror movie, because I'm the guy they came to, but he liked we were not horror filmmakers, that we got the performances right, the relationship dynamics right.”
--Mark Duplass

Parting Shot: As much as Creep impressed (and disturbed) me, I honestly don’t know how to feel about hearing there are plans for sequels…

(Creep OS courtesy of impawards.com.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015


¡Qué horror! 2015
Candidate #11

IT FOLLOWS
(May 2014)


I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
--T.S. Eliot

Premiering at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, It Follows utilizes the blasted zones and landscapes of economy-ravaged Detroit as the backdrop for a tale shrouded heavily under a veil of dread and unease.
While I will refrain from revealing the film’s premise (best to come into this one as cold and unknowing as possible), I will say that it’s the kind of cinematic experience that gets underneath the skin, that leaves the audience, post-viewing, acutely aware of anyone and everyone you see out on the streets, and the unnerving threat potential they represent.

Things of note that I choose to speak of, in lieu of What the Film is About:

1)      Along with the excellent thriller The Guest (from the director-writer tandem of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett*), It Follows is part of lead actress Maika Monroe’s resounding one-two punch on the face of the genre landscape. Keep an eye on this girl… Aside from appearing in The 5th Wave (J Blakeson’s long-awaited follow-up to The Disappearance of Alice Creed), she’s also going Big Time Hollywood in Independence Day 2!
2)     Though I have yet to see writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s feature debut, The Myth of the American Sleepover, based on what he displayed in It Follows, I’ve now become more curious to check it out.
3)     I particularly appreciated the Creepy Classroom Scene orchestrated to a reading of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (along with some help from Richard Vreeland, AKA Disasterpeace). And speaking of Disasterpeace? The soundtrack for It Follows… Creeptastic awesome sauce!
4)     One of the most potent takeaways from It Follows: it's not so much that these kids have no future. Perhaps even more tragically, while they do have a future, it's a future that's going to be constantly weighed down by the dread and unease I mentioned earlier...

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
--T.S. Eliot


* Whose names should be familiar 'round these parts for their work on A Horrible Way To Die and V/H/S.

(It Follows UK quad & French OS courtesy of impawards.com)

Monday, March 2, 2015


¡Qué horror! 2015
Candidate #10

CLOWN
(November 2014)


"I loved how ballsy they were, issuing a trailer that said, ‘From the Master of Horror, Eli Roth.’”
--Eli Roth

Beginning its life cycle as one of those fake trailers that seem to be strewn all over YouTube, Jon Watts’ Clown is a nasty piece of work.
Helped along in its evolution into full-fledged feature by Eli Roth--who was billed as the film’s director in the initial fake trailer, and was suitably impressed, not just by the conceit, but by the makers’ cojones--Clown wastes no times before plunging into its simple but brutally effective premise: loving father turns into scary, evil supernatural creature thanks to a demonic clown costume.

There’s some solid cinematic storytelling here by Watts (in his feature debut), ably assisted by a cast that includes Awake’s Laura Allen and familiar genre face Peter Stormare.
It should also be noted that just beneath the onscreen horrors--right underneath the clown make-up, if you will--is the insidious and despicable real life horror of child predators, of the horrendous urges some individuals have, and their choice whether to struggle against them, or succumb.
So yeah, there’s some disturbing child endangerment (and fatalities) in this one, so be advised accordingly.

(Italian Clown OS courtesy of impawards.com.)

Saturday, February 7, 2015


¡Qué horror! 2015
Candidate #9

THE VOICES
(January 2014)


"I don't have to listen to you. You're just a cat."
"Well, a cat that can talk and reason, that’s a miracle for the ages.”
"So what?”
“But a guy who talks to his cat, well that’s one step away from the loony bin. Find someone else, kill them, and you’ll discover what it feels like to be truly alive.”

Jerry Hickfang (Ryan Reynolds) is the “new guy in Shipping” at Milton Fixture and Faucet International and outwardly, he seems the likeable sort. He lives alone above the shuttered Mellow Lanes bowling alley, and he’s doing “a great job” at work.
The thing is, he’s not taking the meds he’s supposed to be taking, and, as a result, he’s hearing the titular voices, apparently coming from his pets, Mr. Whiskers (the mean and nasty cat), and Bosco (the gruffly positive and supportive dog).
And, as you can probably tell from the above lines of dialogue, Mr. Whiskers starts telling Jerry to do some very dark and morally questionable things…

Marjane Satrapi, whose entry into the feature film world was via co-directing the adaptation of her own graphic novel Persepolis, takes the Black Listed screenplay by Michael R. Perry* and gives us what is, by and large, a very black comedy shot through with some dreadful, horrific moments, and some potent emotional weight.
And that’s all topped off with a pretty gonzo climax which segues into a pretty gonzo (yet oddly moving, given the context) end credits sequence.

Reynolds (who also provides the voices of Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, among others) does an excellent job at portraying a troubled yet sympathetic character who, over the course of the film, does some very dark and terrible things. And he’s backed up by a commendable supporting cast that includes Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, and Jacki Weaver.
Oh, and props go out to Cairo and Hamish, for embodying Mr. Whiskers and Bosco.

As with many a ¡Q horror! title before it, The Voices is not for everybody, but if you like your horror laced with some strong black comedy (or vice versa), then you should really check it out.


“The medication, it smooths things out, and that’s okay, right? But even though there are bad moments…”
“Very bad moments.”
“Very bad. There are also moments of inspiration and beauty, when all the world makes sense, and the elegant secret mechanics of Man and God are revealed in their many dimensions, and the universe is laid out before mine eyes and it is a blessed place.”
“You totally stopped taking the pills, didn’t you?”
“Totally.”

* The Voices took the number 3 slot on the 2009 Black List, a mere two votes behind Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for The Social Network. (For the uninitiated, the Black List is an annual year-end rundown of the most notable as-yet unproduced screenplays as voted for by a variety of executives in the Hollywood film industry.)

(The Voices OS’ courtesy of impawards.com.)

Monday, November 24, 2014


¡Qué horror! 2015
Candidate #8

LATE PHASES
(March 2014)


After barging onto the ¡Q horror! 2012 rundown with Penumbra, Argentinian director Adrián García Bogliano is back with his English language feature debut, Late Phases, working off a script written by Eric Stolze.
Here, Nick Damici plays retired US Army officer Ambrose McKinley, who has only just moved into the Crescent Bay Retirement Community, when he is rudely made aware that something beastial seems to be active in the area, something that seems to have a monthly cycle…
So, yes, no need to be coy, it’s all over the trailer and the one sheet below: werewolf.

The beauty of Late Phases is, it doesn’t quite play like any werewolf film I’ve seen.
True, it’s got the familiar horror movie trope of the protagonist who seems to be the only one aware of the nature of the threat, but Damici’s crotchety (and blind) McKinley isn’t your average misunderstood horror movie lead.
With some excellent supporting performances by Ethan Embry and Tom Noonan, a practically unrecognizable Lance Guest, brief appearances by Dana Ashbrook and Larry Fessenden (also one of the film’s producers), and some noteworthy creature effects courtesy of Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps, Late Phases is a solid entry in the annals of werewolf cinema, which, let’s face it, needs a whole lot more of this kind of title to beef up its hairy, lupine ranks.


(Late Phases OS’ courtesy of impawards.com.)