Short Film Feature: Devil’s Work

Review written by: J.C.Walsh

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Devil’s work, a short film directed by John Rodas, is a horror thriller about a woman trying desperately to escape her dark past of her psychotic ex-husband.  But what Mary will learn is that obsession runs deep, so deep that not even the grave can contain such a corrupt passion.    .

The Horror short opens with ominous headlines from a newspaper revealing a bad accident had occurred involving driving under the influence. Its ending result was death. The eerie opening with its nerve tingling music sets up the audience for a story riddled with secrets ,that may unravel towards a haunting truth, one with supernatural speculation.

Fast forward to 7 years later, present day.  Mary and her husband Michael are hosting a dinner date with close friends Lexi and Leo.  While in amidst of post dinner drinks, which consist of many glasses of red wine, the conversation between the two couples is light and full of laughter.  Like any close friends enjoying a good buzz, they have fun and poke jokes at each other.  But then the conversation takes a dark and twisted turn. Taking them down a road where things could suddenly appear from the shadows when the headlights are quickly shone on them.  Before she continues on with the conversation Mary puts her two children to bed, knowing all too well where their words would take them.  This is the type of grown up talk children should never hear, best be safe tucked in bed where the boogeyman of grown ups can’t harm them.

When Mary returns to the dinner table, the conversation hasn’t changed while she was gone.  Why should it? It is about her ex-husband Blake, and his grip on their past is something that will always retain its hold.  But even with the terrible things that have happened, the conversation is still full of laughter and jokes, as if this would help ease the pain of the past.  When the lights flicker, the couples joke about Blake’s psychosis and how he believed he had special powers, like controlling electricity.   But when Lexi is attacked in the upstairs bathroom, Mary finds that if she doesn’t confront these demons head on, it’s not jus the life that could be in danger, but she’ll have to fight to save her family as well.

Within its running time of 12 minutes Devil’s work showed us so much.  We shouldn’t dwell on the past, no matter how dark of a shadow it could cast over our lives.  Something could be inside those shadows, hungry, and trailing our every step. Invoking such a thing in any way will give away our scent, and before we know it the past will have us cornered helplessly against a wall. Devil’s work has been in many film festivals.  These include Horror Film Awards 2016, Independent Horror Movie Awards, and most recent Something Wicked Film Festival which nominated Devil’s Work for most atmospheric.  That couldn’t be any more true.  Not relying heavily on gore,  the film uses old tropes from supernatural horror films that have been seen before, but its atmospheric build is truly something that can draw you into its shrouded, mystery from beginning to end.  The rest relies on the performance of the actors.  The way their conversation can transition from casual to an uncomfortable situation and at the same time continue a joking nature is a challenge in dialogue, and is something accomplished through great directorial skills, a well written script and talented acting.  This handling of dialogue helps build the tension and keep it there,  right to its frightening conclusion.  Kudos to Sean Carmichael for fleshing out the character Blake.  His presence is terrifying, and could make for an awesome villain, a new boogeyman for fans to think choice before turning the lights off. If done properly, the story could be brought to life as a full length feature.  Because Devil’s Work showed so much but at the same time left plenty to the imagination within its running time,  the short film could play off successfully as an opening to a 90 minute version of the film.

    If this is the direction John Rhodas and company are going, then horror fans need to keep an eye out for future works in the horror genre.  With Devil’s Work they brought soemthing enjoyable that is short and right to the point. An horror short that has substance to create an atmospheric, and almost gothic film with eerie music and three dimensional characters that bring something fresh within the sub genre of supernatural films.

 

Blood Born Magazine Welcomes: Dan Martin

A Message from Blood Born Magazine Writer/Editor J.C. Walsh:

“When we decided to bring Blood Born back to the bloody world of Horror it was September of 2015.  One of the first things we thought of was that we needed more writers.  So I reached out to one of my best friends, knowing damn well what he was capable of and the different style he could bring.  That came from a history of Horror binging, our own ideas and what we would love to see in the future of the Horror genre.   So I asked him to do a review, something a little different to add to the Mag.  Horror television shows have become a huge thing these days and with the sad passing of Wes Craven, it didn’t hurt to dissect the Scream Series, season 1.  He sent me the final draft sometime in October, and with things being as they were in my busy life I couldn’t get out in time. Now Editing it I couldn’t change anything he written so I left it the way it was with a few minor changes.  If you have not seen season 1, please be aware, spoiler alert!!!  So please sit back, relax, enjoy!”

Dan Martin is the bastard son of a hundred maniacs. Which is to say that he grew up in the cinema. “Nightmare on Elmstreet 3” was the first film he can recall seeing in the theater. 1987 on his seventh birthday. “No one but my childhood bully showed up to my party. So we went to see a movie I picked. He peed himself.” The following year was “Child’s Play” and thus a creative mind was unfolding and a tradition born. The horror genre would lead him to comedies and expose him to the culture of cinema. Presently Dan is a stand up comedian and has been featured in horror shorts such as “They Stole The Pope’s Blood” and podcasts like “It Came From Another Podcast!”

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Hey there Horror fans, it’s my favorite time of the year… Halloween Season! And if you are like me, you are cramming Horror movies and TV shows into your face holes whenever your wife is out of the house. And thankfully Horror and all of it’s sub genres have saturated modern media. Again, if you are like me Zombies were your favorite thing ever until they started putting them in everything like Avocado at a sandwich shop. So what better way to enjoy the macabre than to revitalize a franchise that played with the tropes of scary movies, sent up the Slasher Genre and made us all laugh and cringe at the same time. I’m talking of course about Scream!

The Scream Franchise has made the jump from the silver screen to the boob tube, via MTV of all outlets. This fall the streaming Gods have smiled upon me and I discovered the original four films and the whole first season of the new show on Netflix and Hulu respectively. Since having run out of new episodes of comic book shows to watch and morbid curiosity I dove in. I hadn’t watched a Scream flick in years but I remember seeing the first film in high school, in the living room of Blood Born’s own J.C. Walsh. On VHS no less. (We saw the subsequent sequels in theaters.) We all jumped at the porch scene in the beginning, laughed our butts off at lines like “liver alone” and even marveled at borderline spoofs like, “I’ll be right back!” It was scary, funny and had more twists than Rainbow Road, for my Mario Kart fans. I digress, back to the blood bath. And a blood bath it is.

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As fans of any specific genre or franchise will do, there have been complaints. Especially if it’s a remake or even a dreaded reimagining. I mean let’s face it, Hollywood has run out of original thoughts and theaters are a graveyard of half baked ideas. Television in both forms, be it television proper or straight to streaming, have seen a surge of films being expanded into a series format. Shows like From Dusk to Dawn and Fargo come to mind. One of the biggest fault finding missions with Scream seemed to be, “How will they make an hour and a half movie into a ten hour series?” The contention being that the typical four act formula would not work with the time frame. Coupled with the obvious problem of stretching out a contained story. A debate addressed and expertly squashed in the pilot. In true Scream fashion the series captures the spirit of the first film and runs with it. It doesn’t pick up after the fourth film or even follow the same characters. Viewers are treated to a tense opening scene complete with a phone call from the killer and a gruesome death. After which we are whisked away to a classic Scream style High School backdrop and into a literature classroom in which they are discussing of all things the gothic genre as it pertains to modern Television. The first mention of this being The Walking Dead. The story for the show comes from the source himself, Kevin Williamson and was produced by the now late and great Wes Craven. So we are essentially playing in the same sandbox as the original films. Except now our rule set will be supplemented by modern Horror television as opposed to films. The Gothic genre as it is referred to in the episode. An update to the original approach of poking holes in the fourth wall whenever they can. One student in the classroom quips, “Zombies aren’t literature.” And another counters with genre nods such as the king of the undead George Romero, whose ghoulies are the original inspiration behind the roamers created by Robert Kirkman.

Hypable-‘Scream’-season-1-episode-2-airs-tonight-Who-can-resist-a-murder-selfieThe ultimate nod at the fan’s grievances being a student in the classroom debating that one could never do a slasher film as a television series, claiming that the story of a slasher burns bright and fast and TV needs to stretch things out. During his explanation we get to watch the Horror unfold in a voiced over scene brilliantly paced I might add of our opening victim being discovered as we smash to the next day in school with our students or as we now know them, our potential future victims reading about the murder on their cell phones. In fact technology plays a big role in the show as one would imagine. Though this time we go way past voice modulation. Adding a new element of modern terror, the internet. With the show being set in modern day twenty-fifteen, the updated masked maniac has access to global tracking, social media and computer hacking. With an updated voice modulator our new favorite psycho could not only be anyone but can actually be anyone electronically. The mask has now become metaphysical and that much scarier.scream mask 2

For our purists hoping to click on the show for the iconic Ghostface will be disappointed to find that they in fact changed the look of the mask. Though like any great murder mystery the appropriate cast of stock characters are there. The reporter character has been updated to a podcaster, and our genre expert works at a comic book store as opposed to a video store. Lord, remember those?

Everyone is there including a new approach to the origin of the mask on our new killer.

That said we have come to one of  the biggest gripes of all among genre purists. “Scream, is not a horror movie.” Some will argue that it is a thriller. Some say it’s a dark comedy. I say it takes the classic who done it and melds it well with overblown drama and the splashy kills of a slasher film. The way that they handled the mythos of the killer made it a Horror. It gave the audience a face to fear. A creature of sorts. The mask. Though unlike most slashers and creature movies this was a mask, it could be worn by anyone.scream14

You can’t trust anybody. Instead of knowing exactly who it was that was tormented and driven to donning a crusty face covering they used misdirection and storytelling to build up to a series of killers. This made the character pool much more fun to play in for both the writers and the audience, which I feel is deserving of a prime time TV show. What’s better than a slasher story with a fresh trough of victims every season? As well as a whole new line up of suspects every week. Anyone left alive is a suspect and in that way they have perfectly captured the spirit of the original franchise. Guilty until proven dead. Sub categorize as you may though to me It is a thriller, a dark comedy and a slasher all cozied up under the bloody blanket of The Horror genre.scream-season internet1

So as you may have discerned by now, Scream the TV show falls under the banner of reimagining or reboot. Or as some more hesitant enthusiast may call it, a rehash. Which isn’t as terrible as it would sound. Wes Craven always seemed to have a knack for small town secrets. The types of secrets that comprised the lore of one Mr Freddy Krueger. Craven seemed to have a propensity for the mistakes of parents haunting their children. He also loved playing with the  veil between the audience and the film, blurring dreams and reality. And thank heavens for films like New Nightmare.Scream-season-1-episode-4 On the other end of this double edged sword is Kevin Williamson. The original writer from the film franchise and as we already know Kevin has a knack for teen drama. Lest we forget the horror that was Dawson’s Creek. Williamson penned a few of the zany, tongue in cheek teen driven thrillers of the nineties. Films like The Faculty, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Teaching Mrs. Tingle. Heck, Scream three may have been better if he’d written the script but that’s another blog entirely. Though these may not be the genre staples that Scream has become he has the ability to create characters we can both relate to and want to see die all at once. All the while everyone is suspect and no one is safe from the taboo secrets that haunt every character in some fashion. Craven and Williamson had a talent for taking the thriller genre and injecting it with the chills and spills of a slasher.

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Don’t just take my word for it. MTV picked the show up for season two and you can stream the entire first season on HULU. The release date for season two has yet to be announced but you still have time to get caught up. If you were a fan of the original film like I am just breathe and remember it’s a new universe but one constant remains, the spirit of Scream is alive. I can’t say the same for the residents of Lakewood.

SEASON 2 WILL BE AIRING MAY 30TH, 2016

Blood Born Feature: Scarred

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You can’t go wrong with a good Slasher movie.  Ever since the success of classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, and Halloween, the trend was apparent in the 70’s that Horror films were taking a new direction.   Audience were not just showing a need for a more gruesome film on the silver screen, they seemed to become attracted to psychopaths killing off young people.  It wasn’t until John Carpenter’s Halloween gave fans a real boogeyman, and a good scare became a good time no matter how far the shadows stretched into the night.   Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the more disturbing film, but like Black Christmas and Halloween the kills were visceral and left most to the imagine, and these films mainly focused on dark atmosphere.  The movie that brought the term Slasher to life was Friday the 13th,  giving the viewer viscous kill scenes through the eyes of a faceless killer. It may have been a gory treat for some, while others were simply terrified .  The kill scenes were so realistic many thought they were watching a snuff film.  Nonetheless its success had spawned many sequels,  even inspired John Carpenter to take Halloween 2 to the next level with kill scenes.

IMG_3106Over the years Slasher movies continued to bloody the big screen, and horror icons have become idolized.  Horror fans love the wise cracking child killer Freddy Krueger haunting their dreams, Haddonfield soaked in blood every Halloween, and a bad ass killer slaughtering teens in the woods with a hockey mask on.  But then studios have been feeding the audience over done torture porn films, remakes, first person point of view, and constant supernatural films.  Fans haven’t lost their love for these sub genres of Horror, it just seems the big studios have forgotten about the boogeyman.  Although there had been some worthy killers born though independent filming such as  Chrome Skull, Victor Crowley, The Collector and The Orphan killer are to name a few.  But since then the idea of a boogeyman has died down, and the only successful slasher to hit the big screen was Your Next.  Horror fans are hungry for a villain to love again, to watch slash through young careless people partying and taking life for granted.  Well now they can welcome a new villain to the catacombs of their blackened hearts!  Meet Jonah Kandie, and he doesn’t like the pretty people.

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Fright Teck Pictures presents Scarred (aka Kandie Land),  directed and written by Eddie Lengyel.  This independent horror film brings back the golden days of classic slasher films.  A good ol’ simplistic blood bath.  Instead of chopping up camp counselors or  baby sitters, our would be victims to die at the hand of our killer are four models whom camp out nearby an area that is known to the locals as Camp Kandie Land.    Comically, we watch as the models party out, test each other’s friendship by berating one another behind each other’s back, competing on who will have the best photo shoot, call dibs on who was going to sleep with photographer, really truly showing the ugly side of the modeling business. And Joanh Kanide is seeing it all.  This truly sets the audience up, knowing the killer is lurking in the woods somewhere, just patiently binding his time before he unleashes his wraith upon them.  There are plenty of memorable and entertaining performances, these include the return of a Horror Icon, the original Jason Voorhees Ari Lehman, joining by his side to play as his wife  Pornstar Lisa Neeld. IMG_3112IMG_3113They add to the comedic flavor of the movie with their quirky telling of Jonah’s brutal back story, but also send a cryptic warning that things may not be as quiet as many think at the campground.   The character Bo, has some brilliant one liners  “ Crazy retard fucker running around the woods.”  And “ Psycho killer Dwarf” that are a few that’ll raise a chuckle or two.  Scarred welcomes  a big shout out to Friday the 13th’s  crazy Ralph’s spooky warning of camp blood by sending in  their own crazy elderly character barking her own cryptic warning that the campground has a death wish while she wizzes on by on a golf cart. Fans will appreciate the humor and catch the hidden gems while they wait anxiously for the kill scenes that are spread out through the films slow and steady pace.

The strongest characters are Tiny’s family, her mother Luna and father Roscoe.  Tiny is a young woman with dwarfism plagued by dysfunctional home. Roscoe is an abusive father and Luna, maybe a mother in denial but knows more than she shows and has a strong exterior which is the glue that is fighting like hell to keep her family together.  The father is the typical angry drunk type, but his punishments that he inflicts on his daughter he believes are to be justified,  that his righteousness would snuff out her wild imagination upon believing she has seen Jonah Kandie who has been dead for so many years.   Putting a stop to this behavior will cease any rumors and protect an already  damaged town.   Luna works at the bed and breakfast and has also heeded her own warnings to models the importance of keeping things quiet.  IMG_3115The chain of events that unfold between this family, the models and Jonah Kandie reveals a strong protagonist like Donald Pleasance in Halloween.  But will it all be enough to stop Jonah’s reign of blood? Will Tiny’s family dysfunction push her closer to her dark infatuations towards Jonah?

The soundtrack and score to Scarred varies.  At one moment hard rock music is played to add to the playfulness  of the models and the work hard, party hard atmosphere.  When we get to the scenes with Jonah the score goes to an eeriness like most of old school horror movies would use to tell the story of the killer.  Moments you hear this disembodied voice that is almost alien like that seems to explain what kind of noise is going on in Jonah’s head.  This influence definitely has a Jason Voorhees feel to it, where the audience would normally hear the infamous Cha Cha Cha Kill Kill Kill that warned us he was around.  One of the most effective ways the score is when certain scenes the audience would hear the crashing of symbols, thunder of drums, expressing the sound of dread was on its way.  These sound effects utilized so well has the paralyzing of fear the original Texas Chainsaw used when audience would hear the polaroid camera go off.  These sounds also add to the incredible use of natural light to the film as we reach the conclusion with night falling, giving the intention that the worst is yet to come.

Now let’s get to why everyone loves the Slasher genre, the kill scenes.  The question that’s always asked, how many different ways can someone die in a horror movie?  After countless films with countless death scenes how can you entertain an audience without them feeling they’ve seen it before?  Know your kill scene text book and be creative!  Just to give you readers a little taste without spoiling the film, there are some scenes that definitely take the gore to another level.  One particular scene adIMG_3102ds a little torture porn to the mix, with a model screaming her head off while her mouth is forced wide open with a strange contraption that could only be found in some Dentist torture chamber, once the torment begins even the most desensitized gore hound will cringe, her screeching screams will add to the mounting discomfort.   While most of the kill scenes are more memorable than some, you can tell the FX team work extremely hard on producing old school practical kills for passionate fans within themselves as well as fans who watch the film.  While the effects are great, some kills are visceral before showing the end result, allowing people to use their imagination while they watch Jonah Kandie hack his way through a body part and all you see is the motion of him killing and the blood covering him from head to toe.  And yes there is a chainsaw, why wouldn’t Jonah Kandie have a chainsaw?

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Jonah Kandie, played by Don Kilrain is a menacing force to be reckoned with.  His debut Villain status is a breath of fresh air in the Slasher genre, bringing back the silent killer that hacks his way through his victims.  With a strong simplistic back story and a mask that reflects the face that hides beneath it, this fictional killer reminds us what we loved about Slasher movies.  Throughout the film we are mislead to believe there is no explanation to yet why this dark soul would kill anyone who enters the camp site, for that we the audience await for that hero, the strong male character or that final girl to end the reigning terror that has become a blood soaked legend.  In the end we could be looking through the eyes of the killer the entire time, seeing him as he sees himself, as the hero cleansing the world of the materialistic and vain. Scarred will please Horror fans, leave them hoping for a sequel. Maybe we will learn more of Jonah’s tale, maybe we’ll see his ruined face. Either way Jonah Kandie is upon us in the horror genre, dragging behind him bodies of mangled models.  Giving us a friendly reminder: he does not like the pretty people, and those who survive Kandie land will be Scarred!

Nocturnal Offerings: Novel review and Interview with author Alan Draven by J.C. Walsh

nocturnal-offeringsNocturnal Offerings, the third book by Dark Fiction writer Alan Draven is a treat for fans of the horror genre.  In Part 1: The Midnight Queen, the novel grabs the reader’s attention immediately with a very intense prologue.  A young woman is chased through the woods by some kind of creature, and in moment is killed in a very gory and gruesome way.  From there, in the first chapter we follow Nick Kubrick, a Radio DJ whom also a myth buster in the Foggy city of Bitternest, Louisiana, shares his adventures with his listeners on his show.  Taking a road trip to Montreal Canada, Nick plans to make a surprise visit to his brother, but to his dismay finds that not only his brother isn’t home, but it looks like he hasn’t been home for months.  His mail box is overflowing, his lawn is unkempt and knee high.  So while he sets out in search of his brother he runs into an old high school friend name Lance.  Lance offers to help Nick find his brother, but also lets him stay at his place with he and his wife Nicole in Elysium Cove. Read more…

Dark poetry inspired by the one and only Marcus Miller The Orphan Killer by Anthony Crowley

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 The Devils Footsoldier

 Born from a sacred fire

 Fiercely cried out of the heavens grave

 Bitter red tears of my mother’s womb

 Neglected in the catholic spired shadows,

 I am the apocalypse ,your mental tomb

 Dark reflective thoughts ablaze upon my blinded soul

 Imagery of your suffering and bludgeoning death

 Torturous arousals beckon,

 As I witness your dying breath

 Warm leathered pure skin,

 Reinventing the hallowed deadly sin

 I detach the flesh from your unforgiven weakened life

 Blood stained Axe against your pale moon smile,

 Screaming closer upon my crimson knife

 Gruesome messenger,

 Inbound on the devils highway

 Cruel vengeful soldier with thy dead skin mask

 A one man killing breed, giver of broken evil

 The keeper of your orphaned soul

 I am Marcus Miller, the massacre has only just begun

Murderously I’m a bastard in mind,

I seek out my baby sister

I am the devils lonesome foot soldier

Maybe I deviously slay her

Innocent thoughts of a golden child

Anticipation,

I then shall brutally kill her

From a thought of a family portrait

I shall be remembered, straight from those hellish gates

Written By ANTHONY CROWLEY

twitter at : crowley_anthony

Exclusive interviews with The Orphan Killer and Diane Foster!

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The Orphan Killer may be full of bloody good treats for any gore hound to drool and a story that is compelling enough to keep to its pace, but the realistic and brutal approach to this film can’t hold its own with blood and story, performances of the characters are always key. In most slashers, bad acting really takes away from the strength behind the realistic terror. The acting through the film is very well done and believable, but the performances of Marcus Miller and Audrey are what own the movie. Their chemistry together is chilling, and raw, and you can see that once they are reunited. Read more…

Issue #1: Slasher Mania is finally here!!!

Finally, after a year of struggles, issue #1 has been completed! Thank you to all who have been patient with us and we truly hope you enjoy the final product!

‘Father’s Day’ screenings announced

The urban legend known as ‘The Father’s Day Killer’ began some years after the demise of serial rapist/murderer Chris Fuchman.  Since the 1970’s, the use of contraceptives has tripled in North America alone and a generation of fathers fell asleep with the covers pulled tight, buttocks clenched.  The story has become a fire-side cautionary ritual on camping trips, often used by fathers to warn their sons of the dangers of unplanned pregnancy.  That deep seeded fear of penetration, violation and eventually death waned as the murder and rape of fathers continued to decline all over the world. Unfortunately those numbers didn’t remain low, and it would seem that the legend is not yet complete…
Ahab, a man obsessed with exacting a brutal, violent revenge on the man who murdered his dad, joins John, an eager priest and Twink, a hot-headed street hustler on an epic quest to find and defeat this mythical monster known as Chris Fuchman AKA The Father’s Day Killer.
Check out the screening dates and trailer below:

Get your own ‘Teddy Told Me To’ mask!

If you are a fan of Syfy’s Face Off, I’m sure you remember Tom Devlin’s creepy creation from the create-your-own-slasher-icon episode. Well, Tom’s 1313FX Fright Zone has made a silicone pullover mask for you to call your own! Head over to his site for details.

Don’t forget, Face Off begins this Wed (1-11-12) at 10/9c

Top 7 Of 2011: Matt’s Picks

The big budget films didn’t really do much for me this year, so I turned mainly towards direct-to-DVD releases to fulfill my horror needs. Below are the films that I enjoyed the most whether it was for the good story, originality or just gory as hell! Read more…

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