Monday, March 25, 2013

Mother's Day (2010)

Just saw this flick last night. Back in 2009 or so when I heard they were remaking the goofy classic I was a bit off put, as I usually am when it comes to remakes. They're rarely any good, usually quite shitty, and often a complete waste of time. Like the remake of such similarly themed classics as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, and Last House on the Left, my guess is that the producers wanted to bring this story to a generation that may not have rented Mother's Day at their local video store that way I did when I was a youngin. Of the aforementioned films (all of which I am a huge fan of the originals), Mother's Day was probably my least favorite. I always liked that film, but it is pretty kitschy.

Going into the 2010 version of Mother's Day I was a apprehensive. I think we missed the first five or ten minutes (we certainly missed the credits sequence) so I was already confused since the story didn't really match the story in the original about three girls going on a annual trip and being ambushed in the woods. No, it wasn't anything like that, and the story was better for it. In fact their were so many changes that, at first, I thought they'd have been better off making it an original film, but as I watched and became engrossed in this brutal horror film I realized that, for a change, this one was spot on.

The plot was not only updated, but more believable and intense than the original, which was off-key and even silly at times, more of a black-comedy-horror. That they took the idea of a mother who rules her psycho family with an iron fist and made it into a terrifying and violent horror film was brilliant. This is what I want to see in a remake. It didn't feel like they were remaking the film just to cash in on the name (I mean can you really cash in on a cult film title like Mother's Day? Don't think so.) In the world of remakes and do-overs, this one was not only justified (unlike such terrible remakes as Psycho, the Haunting, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, all of which should have been left the fuck alone), but done quite well. Yes, I like the original, but just a day after watching this psychotic display of brutality, I want to watch it again. Coming from me, that's a pretty big compliment for any horror film this day in age, much less a remake. I'm very opinionated and not a big fan of modern horror film, preferring more classic horror films of the early eighties and older (not that there weren't great horror films in the 90's or 00', but they're getting worse as time goes on).

I highly recommend this to any fan of horror and even fans of the original. I give it a solid 5/5 stars.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

MUTE by Jeffrey Hale

Mute by Jeffrey Hale, the latest release from Grand Mal Press, is now available: HERE.

They came from the sea. They came from the shadows. They came from the sewers. But what are they, and what do they want? No one knows. Their thirst for blood is insatiable. They scramble from city to city, spreading destruction and death in their wake. Some call them “Mutes.” Some call them “Mimes.” Their names are synonymous with terror.

Fortunately, there are a few brave enough to stand against the monsters and risk their lives for the greater good; for the survival of the human race. Will they withstand the brutal assault? Or will they fall in the attempt?

Only time will tell.

"Hale knows how to keep the apocalypse fresh while hitting those classic decaying notes. A worthy addition to the genre."
David Dunwoody. author of EMPIRE and THE HARVEST CYCLE

"Mute is a classic horror B-movie in book form, and I mean that as a major compliment. Hot chicks, sex, psychotic mental patients, and cannibal mutants – and that's just the first few chapters! This book is rollicking good fun!" – JG Faherty, author of The Burning Time, Carnival of Fear, Cemetery Club,and the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Ghosts of Coronado Bay

"Mute reads like a young Stephen King." -Iain McKinnon, author of Domain of the Dead

“Jeffery Hale brings us a frightening and very human look at a savage world in ruins, but this isn't your average post apocalypse novel. Forget zombies; beware the Mutes! This book will keep you turning the pages and yearning for another taste, and the ending will leave you speechless!” – Robert Essig, author of Through the In Between, Hell Awaits

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Sequels

I'm not a fan of sequels. Film or book, sequels are generally made for the sake of the almighty greenback...or are they? You can't put a blanket statement like that on anything or else white heterosexual males would all be serial killers, right? Right. So I suspect there are a lot of reasons for sequels, as there are a lot of reasons for people to start killing.

Having grown up just after the horror movie heyday of the 80's and watching all of those shitty sequels on VHS in the early 90's, I became well acquainted with the method of rehashing the same old shit on a shoestring budget to cash in at the box office. Sure, some of those sequels aren't total shit, but let's face it, most of them would have been better left on the cutting room floor. If it wasn't for my love of horror I wouldn't have watched every Friday the 13th, Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street film, but of course I watched them all and still do from time to time, so maybe there's something there. Why not milk a good franchise, right? Wrong.

What I'm tired of is a horror film doing well (or even just okay) and promptly there's a sequel in the works, even though the film itself was wrapped up neatly in the end and would have stood alone nicely in the annals of horror film. I ask myself: why? Why was there another film after Saw and Hostel? (Strangely enough I thought Hostel 2 was better than the first--whaddya know!) Why was there a sequel to the Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity? Wishmaster, The Omen, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, The Descent, Jaws, The Hills Have Eyes, and so many, many more should not have had sequels. These are just off the top of my head, though there are much better examples out there. Then I have to ask myself: Did A Nightmare on Elm Street really need one, much less seven sequels? Probably not, though I'm a sucker for Freddy and pretty much like every one of them with the exception of that ridiculous Freddy Vs Jason flick. But...the first is the best and would have remained more terrifying a film had Freddy not turned into a bad one-liner.

I think maybe I'm just getting older and more ornery and it bugs me to see so few original ideas, always waiting for the summer string of sequels to hit the theaters, uninspiring, tired and pulling in far too much cash from what can only be described as a sheep-like or desperate populace. There are something like five Saw films, five or six Final Destinations, and Paranormal Activity is well on the way. But, in retrospect, I suppose it's been this way at least since the slasher films of the late seventies and eighties, and it will continue in the name of supply and demand. I mean, why try to adapt a wonderful book or come up with something fresh, or even a twist on an old trope, right?

But what about books? How do sequels fare when it comes to the written word, and why are sequels so popular? I couldn't tell you from experience, because I can count how many sequels I have read on one hand. I'm not including a numbered series of books such as King's Dark Tower series, but sequels along the lines of Jack Ketchim's Off Season, Peter Giglio's Beyond Anon or Stephen King's Dr. Sleep. I have noticed a trend towards the trilogy, particularly in zombie fiction (a sub-genre I'm bored to death with). Perhaps that means the author has an epic story that can only be told in three parts. In many cases that falls under the same category as King's Dark Tower series (not that he really knew where it was going from the beginning back in the early eighties!). Like film, I can assume that the popularity of a story can merit the author penning a sequel for the sake of their fans. It's something I don't understand. I've read stories that I enjoyed so much I wished they would never end, but when I finish a book like that I don't yearn for a sequel. I say leave it be. Don't stir the ashes looking for a few pieces of charred wood for a smaller, less comforting fire. It's not that sequels don't work, they can, but I think more often than not they fall short and I'd much rather see fresh ideas. That being said, for the first time in my life I am looking forward to reading a few sequels: the aforementioned Beyond Anon by Peter Giglio, Kayla Undead by Bryan Smith, and Dr. Sleep by Stephen King. Perhaps these books will shift my view of novel sequels. I'll get back to you on that.

Guts and good cheer to all!

Robert Essig

Monday, March 4, 2013

DOA II TOC Announced

This Fourth of July, celebrate your 1st amendment rights with the release of DOA Volume II.

 Blood Bound Books' most popular anthology is back. Loved by some, hated by others; DOA is unlike any other anthology they've done before. And DOA II will shatter whatever taboos you had left from the first round.

Authors include:
Wrath James White
Jack Ketchum
J. F. Gonzalez
Robert Devereaux
David Quinn
Monica J. O’Rourke
Shane McKenzie
Daniel I Russell
Raymond Little
Laura J. Campbell
Calie Voorhis
Thomas Pluck
Ken MacGregor
Kristopher Triana
J.S. Reinhardt
Harper Hull
Joshua Dobson
Kerry G.S. Lipp
Anton Cancre
K. Trap Jones
D. Lynn Smith
Robert Essig
Kelly M. Hudson
Gregory L. Norris
Matt Kurtz
John McNee
David Bernstein
Here's the link to the virtual release on facebook: DOA II. There will be giveaways, story samples and more!