GRIND MIND: TO HAVE AND TO HOWL
Grind Mind Productions
By Dave Wolff
To Have And To Howl is a film short released online by Newfoundland’s Grind Mind Productions, in time for Valentine’s Day. The indie company, comprised of horror fans, actors, producers and first time filmmakers, is relatively new and learning as they go, so they say on their Facebook community.
The five minute short is about a werewolf and a vampiress booking a session with a marriage counselor after living together hundreds of years. Now I’m sure this isn’t the first time this premise was devised by an indie director; however the humor intended here seems to be the idea of what happens when monsters from the classic era get caught up in modern mediocrity, working night shifts at a warehouse, shopping for groceries, fixing around the house and resolving issues with a professional.
I should add this is Grind Mind Productions’ entry into the Nickel 48 hour Romantic Comedy Challenge. The contest guidelines were that a five minute romantic comedy be written, shot, edited and submitted within two days.
In the time frame they were allowed, the team behind the short managed to put something together that carried well from start to finish. Some of the main characters’ one-liners were corny, others were witty and had me thinking that I hadn’t considered approaching werewolf/vampire horror in such a way.
To Have And To Howl reminded me somewhat of a film series from 2009 called Monsters Anonymous, in which classic horror icons interacted together in the modern world in much the same way as the average human.
A major difference is the subtleties presented in the short, such as the marriage counselor being named Dr. Herbert Lectar (I’ll allow you to guess the reference there).
Be Here Now:
The Andy Whitfield Story
Date of Release: 2015
Director: Lilibert Foster
Staring Andy Whitfield, Indigo Whitfield, Jai Courtney
By Roberta Downing
Many of us came to know him as the main character in Steven S. DeKnight’s Spartacus but not many of us know just how strong Andy Whitfield was or the hero he became. This documentary walks us through a very personal journey with Andy and his family as he finds out that his cancer has returned and the lengths he goes to in order to beat it.
We come to know the man not the actor and I have to say he is one of the bravest souls I’ve ever been privileged to get to know (even if through a documentary.)
This is not your typical biography. Andy and his family really let you see into the real situations, they let you feel the real fear, trepidation and inspiration – all the ups and downs. It’s not a roller coaster ride by any sense of the word but I can tell you that after watching this, you will have a new found appreciation, admiration of the man who played Spartacus and perhaps a piece of him and the way he approached his disease to carry around with you.
I strongly recommend this to anyone who fell in love with the man who was Spartacus, likes Andy Whitfield or perhaps has someone who might be going through something similar. Truly inspiring! He will teach you about Being Here Now.
Horror / Sci-Fi
Released: June 1, 1979
Director and written by: Don Coscarelli
Starring: A. Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm
By Roberta Downing
September 29, 2017
A boy and his adult brother along with a guitar playing ice cream man must protect themselves from a mortician who is only known as the “Tall Man.” This mortician not only has minions but he has the most terrifying weapons anyone has ever seen.
Mike’s curiosity has gotten the best of him when he sees something he shouldn’t have seen. He can’t help himself but to go nosing around the funeral home after hours. The poor boy becomes terrified after seeing what I can only describe as demonic ewoks that try to keep in locked in and moreover, tries to harm him. He makes it back home to inform his big brother Jody who chalks it up to just a teenager’s imagination.
Jody takes his date to the local grave yard where the young lady is murdered. Jody scurries back home avoiding getting into trouble.
Later that night, the real trouble begins. Oh yes, the “Tall Man” (Angus Scrimm) in all his creepiness makes his reflection seen through the mirror. The tall thin man udders his most famous word; “Boy” and the way in which he says it isn’t like a father. Oh no. His voice is most menacing and threatening.
The next night, Mike, Jody and Reggie head off to the funeral parlor only to find that the Tall Man had been expecting them and in fact, pulled out the most evil of weapons, that quite honestly when I saw this as a child scared the holy hell out of me, to unleash. A silver ball. Oh this is not just any silver ball. This ball flies through the air and has two metal spikes that come out of it. I not going to give away all of the ball’s little secrets!
This film won both the Saturn Film Award and the Special Jury Award. If you have not seen this film yet, this is a must! This is a true classic and the first of its kind in the type of horror it represents. The Tall Man will leave you wanting more, you’ll be rooting for Mike and grow to love Reggie. Be prepared for lots of jumps and some really awesome gore! Also as a warning, don’t be shocked and shaken if you end up with nightmares. And whatever you do, try not to laugh at the evil ewoks!
The chase is on but, who is chasing who? This single movie spawned several sequels that are just as good as the first. Truly brilliant!
Release Date: August 25, 2017
A Netflix Film
Producer: Jonathan Eirich and Brendan Ferguson
Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Lakeith Stanfield, Nat Wolff, Jason Liles and Margaret Qualley
By Roberta Downing
Light, a high school boy, finds a mysterious book titled Death Note that fell from the sky. The demon or Death God has rules but the jest is that who’s ever name you write in the book dies. Light decides to go on a crusade of justice and write the names of people who have done wrong that he feels doesn’t deserve to live. It isn’t long before “L” who is a specially trained investigator is hot on Light’s trail.
Death Note has been popular for many years in Asian countries however Netflix with the help of Adam Wingard who is very well known for his horror movies, decided that it was time to bring the animated series to the silver screen in a non-animated way and with a bit of a different twist.
There have been a few mixed reviews since it was previewed at the San Diego Comi-Con earlier this year however, I think that those who gave it negative reviews are far more fixed on the anime series rather than something that was adapted for those in the United States.
Defoe delivered the Death God’s voice and personality flawlessly and I mean the voice was believable from the raspy voice right down to the evil laugh.
Having never seen the animated series that was so popular in the Asian countries, I can honestly say that this is a movie that I found to be very memorable, it held my attention and I loved how Wingard embedded some scenes from some other horror movies in the back ground on the television.
Light decides he’s going to use this book to rid the world of those who have committed crimes such as murder, rape, robberies and the like rather than to use the book for nefarious reasons. Little does Light know that even trying to be the hero also comes those who would hunt him down to stop him, label him as a murderer or worse, betrayal by those who would want to take possession of the book to do worse things like taking revenge.
I think that perhaps people should watch this as it is rather than compare it to its counterpart. Though some things are the same most is not and since when is adapting something to fit another culture such a bad thing?
I look forward to watching this movie many times over the years!
British Black Metal: The Extreme Underground
By Andy Horry in association with Ukem Records
Release Date: Feb 16, 2016
From Motorhead to Venom to Napalm Death to Cradle Of Filth to Akercocke, it’s undeniable how much England has contributed to heavy metal and extreme metal. Of these bands, Napalm Death came from a post-punk scene that would go on to make an impression on thrashers in North and South America who sought to take thrash to the next level. This led to the second wave of death metal that swept the world like a relentless, insurmountable wave, the likes of which would never have been expected. It’s important to remember how it was rooted in a self-sustaining industry that in many ways was deliberately exclusive, made up of radical free thinkers opposed to the government and corporate greed (not to mention the possibility of nuclear war) and not afraid to voice their convictions. A point made at the beginning of Tourmaline Films’ half hour documentary British Black Metal: The Extreme Underground is that English fans had Cradle and could listen to and be inspired by bands from Scandinavia, but they never a black metal scene they could call their own on a similar level to the grindcore scene. Now in the 2010s there is an exclusive English scene in which the bands pay tribute to their heritage and cultural traditions going back to the Victorian era. There are a few differences between this scene and those that emerged from other countries in the early 1990s, and the various controversies that surrounded them at that time. Instead of being fueled by Satanism or dark paganism, many of the new English bands (including Winterfylleth, A Forest of Stars, Old Corpse Road, Fen, Eastern Front and Ethereal) center on spirituality and metaphor, actively applying their traditions, history and folk tales to a modern context. Reflecting on the contemporary social and political state of the United Kingdom, and how religion comes into play when used to rationalize wrongdoing, the scene has a bit more in common with the grindcore scene than Scandinavian. Comparisons are made to My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, two U.K. bands whose music reflected on depresson and desperation. Individuality is an important theme in this new wave of black metal, besides what the themes cited above mean to each musician and songwriter in the scene. The music is quite decent, it relying on atmosphere along with the aesthetics black metallers are familiar with and occasional death metal guitars. I should add the theatrics are different as not all of the bands wear corpsepaint. The live performances have more in common with traditional metal, through the onstage light shows are not intended to overshadow personal connection with the fans. This is a scene that is striking out to become its own entity rather than emulate those of yesteryear, and it seems there is much headway being made here. See for yourself. -Dave Wolff
Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Released: December 22, 2016
Directed by: David Ayer
Produced by: Netflix
Written by: Max Landis
Starring: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomie Rapace, Jay Hernandez, Lucy Fry
IMDb URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5519340/
By Roberta Downing, movie critic at AEAzine and owner of The Critic Cornerzine
Plot: In this fantasy world where magical creatures live among humans, the first Orc police officer (Joel Edgerton) is partnered with a human (Will Smith) and despite the human and Orcish racial tension, together they must find a way to work together to stop a sect of Elves that will stop at nothing to raise the Dark Lord who created much chaos and devastation to the planet more than 2,000 years ago.
I had long been waiting the debut of this movie and from previous reviews that were done prior to its release, had thought that this movie (due to the low funds available for it) would end up being something very similar to Independence Day but, I was wrong (but in a good way.) The reviews that were issued prior to the release of this film, I honestly believe, were not viewing this movie with an open mind and honestly underestimated it.
The movie is set in a world where Elves, Humans, Orc and other magical and mythical creatures sort of co-exist. Of course the Elves are wealthy and high class rulers of the world and the Orc are the reviled evil beings who chose the wrong side of the war.
A non-blooded Orc police officer is placed with a human partner and they are part of a prophesy and must stop the evil Elvish sect called the Inferni from raising the Dark Lord who is determined to change the world to his malevolent views.
This movie is action packed. The police duo must fight against the Inferni, human gang members and corrupt police officers in order to protect a reformed Inferni Elf that is a Bright (someone who possesses the ability to wield magic) and has a magical wand that is coveted by everyone. The car chase scene is most impressive that included something I have yet to see in any other movie.
The FX effects are very well done and the special effect of the use of the magical wand is remarkable. I was rather captivated by the makeup that captured the visage of the Elves and Orcs.
I rate this a 4out of 5.
Various movie reviews from many critics.