Digging Up the Marrow (2014) | Adam Green’s monster mash-up is the most fun you’ll have running about in the dark
While attending a Fangoria horror fan convention, Green gets a package from William Dekker (Ray Wise, Big Ass Spider!), who claims that monsters exist in an underground metropolis alongside humanity. Fascinated by the idea, but not quite sure whether Dekker is sane or not, Green and his cameraman (Will Barratt) set out to capture Dekker’s elusive creatures on film…
The best thing about Digging Up the Marrow is that it’s made for horror fans by horror fans having a bit of a lark. The mainly improvised set-up works for the most part, although there’s lots of talk involved as Green tries to convince his buddies (all sporting tees with logos emblazoned with his other projects – from Hatchet to Holliston) that he’s onto something, and we only get to see four actual creatures, all drawn from the warped imaginings of artist Alex Pardee.
As for genuine frights, well they’re more fun than scary, but there’s one that’s a real blast (thanks to Robert Pendergraft’s sfx). Horror fans, meanwhile, will have great fun seeing genre favourite Kane Hodder (who likes his porn) and those masters of horror, Tom Holland and Mick Garris, getting in on the joke.
Digging Up the Marrow is out on DVD in the UK from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, and also available to stream on YouTube
I SHOULD HAVE GONE ON THE SWAMP TOUR
After dispatching serial killer Victor Crowley with a shotgun and a chainsaw, Marybeth (Danielle Harris), the sole survivor of his murderous rampage of Honey Island swamp, takes his scalp to the authorities to prove he’s not just an urban legend.
Suspecting her of the mass killings, Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan from Gremlins fame) locks Marybeth up and sends out a group of officers and medics to recover the bodies. But when they too go missing, Lewis heads into the Louisiana swamp with some reinforcements, where a SWAT team is also looking for answers. And it’s not long before they do… for Crowley (Kane Hodder) has indeed regained his form and is ready to rumble.
Meanwhile, Fowler’s Crowley-obsessed journalist ex-wife Amanda (Caroline Williams) breaks Marybeth out of jail in a bid to find the one thing that will end Crowley’s curse – the ashes of his dead father. It’s then a race against time to get back to the swamp where Marybeth must personally hand over the remains before the SWAT and police teams are completely wiped out by the unstoppable killing machine.
EVIL NEVER DIES
You needn’t have seen the first two films to enjoy this latest Victor Crowley gore-fest, as the dungaree-wearing bayou bad boy’s bloody back story is revisited and expanded on here, and there’s a whole bunch of new victims for him to rip, shred and tear apart.
Creator/director Adam Green hands his monstrous creation over to BJ Connell, who takes great pleasure in poking fun at the contrived events of the previous film, while serving up a bloody brilliant new brew of thrills, spills and irreverent giggles.
The gloriously grisly highlights include a medic having his brains blown out of his skull with some cardio pads, the horrid SWAT leader getting his heart and spine ripped out, and a weedy officer having his arms torn off in revenge for bazookering Crowley’s cabin. The blood gushing is prolific and blackly comic: one poor medic has to choose which death would be worse: Crowley or a crocodile, while another utters the film’s best line: ‘I hid. And that’s the only reason why those are not my balls hanging from that tree’.
Look out for Adam Green playing a drunken Mardi Gras party reveller and the legendary Sid Haig, who has a hilarious cameo playing a racist war veteran who thinks its still 1953.
Hatchet II (2010) | Swamp monster serial killer Victor Crowley delivers another bloody blow to your funnybone
When it comes to tongue-in-cheek horror comedy few films can surpass 1985’s Return of the Living Dead whose comic script, great special effects, neat soundtrack and solid acting really sets the benchmark for these kind of films (as far as I’m concerned, that is).
Adam Green, Horror-dom’s favourite poster boy, made his name back in 2006 with his old-school serial killer horror Hatchet. Since then, he’s stretched his directorial wings with the classy thriller Spiral and the taunt survival chiller Frozen [reviewed here]. But he’s always promised his fans more Hatchet sequels, beginning with this one from 2010.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the original, but it does help to know a little about Friday the 13th, as this film is a pure homage to the horror franchise and its leading man, Jason Voorhees. Here, Green has fashioned his own horror icon-in-the-making in the form of Victor Crowley: a deformed, indestructible, serial killer who haunts a cursed Louisiana bayou and looks like a cross between Troma’s Toxic Avenger, The Elephant Man, and Robert De Niro’s Frankenstein monster.
The sequel follows directly from the first with heroine Marybeth (Danielle Harris) escaping Crowley’s clutches then returning to the dreaded swamp with a pack of hunters in tow, headed by Tony Todd’s flamboyant Reverend Zombie, to avenge the deaths of her father and brother. Only problem is, Crowley (again played by Kane Hodder, aka Jason Voorhees VII-X) also has a score to settle: the deaths of the three boys responsible for his fiery death.
You have to wait 53-minutes of back-story and highlights from the original before you get to your first fresh kill, but once Crowley starts butchering, you’ll find yourself whooping in delight as the body count rises. The death scenes are gory; inventive and well executed with all manner of tools including shovels, boat motor blades, giant double chainsaw and a sander – in addition to Crowley’s trusty hatchet – being used to decimate the cast.
Forget the cardboard story and mostly lame acting (Harris shouts through her role, while Todd seems to be invoking True Blood’s Lafayette with his performance); it’s the jokey violence and bloody pulp of an ending that makes Hatchet II a winner for me. Does it reach the lofty heights of my favourite horror comedy? ‘Fraid not, but it’s still one to enjoy with your fellow horror fiends over a few beers.
Just one question, does anyone know what a ‘Voodoo Fluffer’ is?
Hatchet II screens on The Horror Channel (Sky 319, Virgin 149, Freesat 138), with the next showing on Friday 28 March at 10.50pm.
Hatchet III is released on DVD in the UK on Monday 31 March from Metrodome Distribution[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmgd6_KzV_8%5D
Irreverent to the point of verging on bad taste, Chillerama spoofs the horror anthology with four films being shown at a drive-in that is due to close down. While the patrons munch down their popcorn, infected with zombie blood, the tales (directed by Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green and Joe Lynch) are spooled for the first and last time by veteran projectionist Cecil B Kaufman (Richard Riehle).
Wadzilla is a gloobtastic take the 1950s drive-in classic The Blob as a giant sperm invades New York; I Was a Teenage Werebear turns Grease into a gay musical; The Diary of Anne Frankenstein is filmed in the style of 1930s Universal classic horrors with Hitler creating his own monster; and Zom-B-Movie is just hot moist madness. Wickedly funny and my idea of the perfect midnight movie. Watch out for Ray Wise, Kane Hodder and Eric Roberts who all make cameos.
If you have no head for heights, a fear of falling and hate being cold and wet then stay away from Frozen, for director Adam Green‘s snowbound survival thriller is a relentless exercise in sheer terror and probably the most frightening thing I have seen in years.
The story is simple: three college friends bribe their way onto a ski resort for some white powder fun. But then they make the idiotic decision to get in one last run just as the resort is closing. They pay for their stupid mistake by getting stranded on the chair lift 100-feet from the ground.
Now they must find a way down. But with the resort not due to open for another five days and having no food or proper protection against the elements, how will they survive if they can’t? I won’t spoil what happens next, but safe to say it’s truly terrifying and involves some very difficult decision-making with tragic results that will have you covering your eyes and hiding under your cinema seat.
The three leads (Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers and Emma Bell) give authentic, moving performances and their back story is totally believable; the cinematography is gorgeous, showing the Utah mountains in all its natural though unforgiving beauty; and Green’s direction is suspenseful and well conceived.
Frozen really does live up to the hype that it does for skiing what Jaws did for swimming. Ski and snowboard fans may pick holes in the set-up; but this is not what we are here for. Green wants to scare the pants out of his viewers and I think he succeeds.
I, for one, was squirming in my seat trying to figure out how our tragic trio could get out of their predicament, but got so frustrated as I couldn’t see any solution other than to jump. I certainly won’t be taking up skiing anytime soon. And don’t remind me of the frostbite…
Certificate 15, 93min[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiUNsDVjCbo%5D