From the same author that brought you SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST comes…
Jeff Burk is the cult favorite author of several books including SHATNERQUAKE and CRIPPLE WOLF. He is also one of the most original, ridiculous, and nerdy voices in the bizarro genre. B-MOVIES AND BEER RUINED MY LIFE! contains six short stories and two non-fiction pieces by Jeff Burk. From the filming of a hentai where a monster can’t get it’s tentacles up to a house made literally of cats, this collection shows why Wil Wheaton described his writing as “Lloyd Kaufman and Sam Raimi’s mutant offspring,”
This ebook also contains two non-fiction essays. One about his worst reading ever where someone called the cops and an essay on loving extreme horror.
This collection contains:
I’VE SEEN ENOUGH HENTAI TO KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING…
THE DOG WHO STARED
HOUSE OF CATS
FROSTY AND THE FULL MONTY
THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED CRACK HEAD IN THE WORLD
PUNK ROCK NURSING HOME
WHEN THE COPS CAME FOR SHATNER OR MY WORST READING EVER
YOU SICK FUCK OR WHY I LOVE EXTREME HORROR
Available only on Kindle
Ultra David Vs. Mecha-Goliath by Michael Allen Rose
Dieselpig by Garrett Cook
Violins for Sale by Scott Cole
The Slobbering Tongue That Ate The Frightfully Huge Woman by Robert Devereaux
The Corpsefucker Blues by Ryan Harding
Ogner Stump’s One Thousand Sorrows by Andrew Goldfarb
Wild Bushpig Grrrls by S.C.A.R.
Head Humping and Tentacle Fucking: Author Profile on Edward Lee by Jeff Burk
BizarroCon 2013: The Scandalous Version by Tiffany Scandal
Alan M. Clark’s Advice for Aspiring Illustrators : Part One
Fear and Loathing in Portland: An Unexpurgated Interview with Lucius Shepard by Edward Morris
A Decade of Weird Fiction And Doing It Right: A Spotlight on Raw Dog Screaming Press by Gabino Iglesias
Conversations with the 2012 New Bizarro Authors by Spike Marlowe
Click here to buy!
BY JEFF BURK
It’s that time again – time for my favorite movies of the year! Like always, if you want to catch up on my previous Top Ten lists, you can check them out here:
2000 to 2009
I know this list is a little late but this time I waited until I saw every movie released in 2013 that I had an interest in seeing. I learned my lesson last list when I missed DJANGO UNCHAINED (which would have most likely placed at spot three). But I’m finally done with movies released in 2013 and saw a shit ton! Some of them were really good!
I’ve heard a lot of negatives about this year in movies and when I first started working on this list I was inclined to agree. Most of the offerings from major studios were pretty crappy (with two notable exceptions – we’ll get to them). But the realm of independent films was crazy awesome. If you knew where to look, you could find a treasure-trove of original and amazing films.
But it wasn’t all good. To get it out of the way, here are the two worst movies I saw in 2013:
ONLY GOD FORGIVES (Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark/France) – If you want to watch ninety minutes of beautiful people staring blankly in well-shot scenes, this is the movie for you. If you care about pacing, plot, story, originality, or just aren’t a sucker for hipster wankfests, then stay far away.
LORDS OF SALEM (Rob Zombie, United States) – Holy shit, if there’s one person that should not make a tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky – it’s Rob Zombie. Yet someone allowed him to. It was just a boring mess until the last twenty minutes when it plummeted into a laughably bad attempt at being “deep.” Also, how Zombie managed to get so many details of the music and radio business wrong is totally mind-blowing (and not in a good way).
Enough shit-talking, now let’s be positive!
TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2013
10: AFTERSHOCK (Nicolás López, United States/Chile)
Taking place in Chile, this is the first torture porn natural-disaster movie (at least that I’ve seen). Considering it was produced, starring, and written by Eli Roth (HOSTEL and CABIN FEVER), that should give you an idea of what it’s like. After an earthquake devastates a major city, the survivors must battle each other and the many aftershocks to stay alive. Vicious, violent, and willing to kill any character at any time – AFTERSHOCK is a fun romp for the viewer with a sadistic-streak.
9: WRONG (Quentin Dupieux, United States/France)
From the same twisted genius that gave the world a movie about a sentient car-tire that could make peoples’ heads explode (RUBBER), comes WRONG. This sophomore film is about a man whose dog is petnapped by a company that steals pets to teach the owners to love them more. But when the company loses his dog for real, the man begins a surreal and strange journey to track down his beloved pet. Nowhere near as meta as RUBBER but in many ways just as strange, WRONG is a bizarro film about how much of our heart our pets take with them when they leave.
8: V/H/S/2 (Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Timo Tjahjanto, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard, Indonesia/Canada/United States)
The past few years have been great for horror anthology films. The sequel to 2012’s found footage horror fan-favorite V/H/S and this one example of the sequel blowing away the original . Almost all of the shorts surpass everything from the first entry in the series but special shout-outs need to go to Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans for the horrifying and intense Satanic-cult thriller “Safe Haven” and to Jason Eisener for the ridiculously original “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” – the only horror film I can name from the POV of a dog.
7: FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY (Richard Raaphorst, Netherlands)
During the end of WWII, a Russian special-forces team infiltrated a top-secret Nazi facility where they were attempting to make grotesque “super-soldiers.” Soon the Russian soldiers are caught in a fight-to-death battle with horrible monsters sprung from the mind of a fascist mad-scientist. The movie as a whole is fun and well-written but the special-effect designs are the true highlight. The creatures the soldiers must battle are surreal and grotesque and the most interesting monsters since HELLRAISER.
6: THE ABCS OF DEATH (Twenty-eight directors from fifteen countries)
The premise of this movie is insane – twenty-six short horror films, each by a different director(s), and each themed around a letter of the alphabet. This could have been a disaster but the fact that the shorts are (mostly) really good makes this one of the most interesting genre experiments in recent memory. While some of the directors obviously didn’t give a shit (I’m looking at you Andrew Traucki and Ti West) most of the directors used the opportunity to try and make a serious impact on the audience. The very fact this movie features a robot biting the head off a baby guarantees it a spot on my list.
My favorites shorts – D, H, L, P, Q, R, T, V, W, and Z
Before anyone points it out, the movie is in fact directed by twenty-eight people – two of the shorts are co-directed. The movie poster is wrong.
5: RESOLUTION (Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead, United States)
A man goes to the middle-of-nowhere to try and save his friend from meth addiction by Tasering him and handcuffing him to his shack’s wall to force on detox. But while staying in the drug-den, the man begins to get strange packages of film and photos detailing scenes of horror and pain. To say much more would spoil the movie’s many surprises – but what starts off as a dark drama later turns into cosmic horror that would delight any fan of Lovecraft.
4: GRAVITY (Alfonso Cuarón, United States)
Two astronauts are stranded during a space-walk after an accident destroys their shuttle. So begins a ninety-minute survival tale in the vacuum of space. Simple and to-the-point, GRAVITY was the most thrilling most experience I had all year. Plus I saw it in IMAX 3D and this movie was the best use of the technology to date.
3: THE WORLD’S END (Edgar Wright, United Kingdom)
Finally, after too many years, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (the brilliant minds behind SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ) have been reunited! Their third film is another work of amazing genre inspired comedy. A man cons his five childhood best friends into joining him on a twelve-stop-pub-crawl in their mutual hometown that ends at a bar named “The World’s End.” But aliens and robots are going to get in the way of their attempt to reclaim lost youth. While a fun and drunken romp, at its core the movie is story about how you can never go home and why you’d never want to.
2: AMERICAN MARY (Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska, Canada)
A med-school student is raped by her professor which causes her to quit her program. To make money, she takes what she learned of medicine and surgery to the underground body modification scene. And after some time learning new skills there, she uses her knowledge of extreme body-modification on the man who harmed her. Visually striking and horrific, all the scenes of bloody and grotesque horror are done with in-camera practical effects or with real-life members of the extreme body-mod community. Equally influenced by David Cronenberg and Eli Roth, AMERICAN MARY is the best hardcore horror flick of the year!
1: PACIFIC RIM (Guillermo del Toro, United States)
Giant robots punching giant monsters for two hours!
This panders so much to my personal tastes that in the hands of almost any director it would still place in my top ten. But instead we got one of the best modern filmmakers giving us something that makes me wish I could have seen this when I was nine-years-old . Can you imagine how much fun this movie must be for kids?
The best summer blockbuster since JURASSIC PARK.
I saw so many awesome movies this year, that they couldn’t all make my top ten list. Here are a few that were also great and worth your time:
Honorable Mentions: House Hunting, Spring Breakers, Big Ass Spider, Jug Face
So those were the best movies I saw in 2013. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.
MOVIE COMING OUT IN 2014 THAT I’M MOST EXCITED FOR:
It’s a good time to love giant monsters.
(Jeff Burk is the head-editor of DEADITE PRESS, ERASERHEAD PRESS’ horror imprint. He is also the author of SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST. He has been a life-long horror fanatic and learned to read with reprints of TALES FROM THE CRYPT comic books.)
I love horror movies! I am completely obsessed with them. I try to watch every horror movie that comes out and seek out any title anyone recommends to me. My parents are responsible for this addiction. They were both horror freaks that introduced to me many classics of the genre at an early age. My Mom use to get me a Halloween present every year of a horror movie that she thought I should see (for the record, her favorite is THE HILLS HAVE EYES).
Over the years I’ve seen hundreds (goddamn, maybe into the thousands) of horror movies. From any country, any era, any budget – if it’s horror, I’ll watch it.
The Halloween season is upon us and I use to host horror movie marathons every year for my friends (now I lean more towards crazy parties but that’s another story). But I still like to rewatch my favorites during the season when I can find time. With that in mind, I spent a lot of time (maybe too much) internally debating and came up with the list of my twenty-three favorite horror movies. These are not what I would argue are the objectively “best” horror movies ever made – these are my personal favorites. These are the movies that I rewatch all the time and when someone asks for recommendations it’s something from this list.
Now let’s get this corn-syrup-and-red-dye-soaked party started!
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
1981, John Landis, USA/Britain
It seems so goddamn difficult to make a decent werewolf movie. But not only is AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON the best werewolf movie ever made (nothing comes close) it’s one of the best horror movies of all-time. Few movies can seamlessly switch from comedy to horror.
Rick Baker’s special effects are outstanding. The transformation has gone down in history as one of the best horror scenes ever put to film.
1980, Ruggero Deodato, Italy
In what may be the first found-footage-movie, a documentary team has gone missing in the jungle. When their footage turns up, a ground of producers watch it to decide if they want to release it as a nature documentary. What they find is the film crew being cruel and abusive to the natives and their eventual mutilation and devouring by the natives (no spoiler – it’s in the title).
For a low-budget exploitation gore flick, there is a surprising amount of intelligence on display. The movie asks a lot of questions about the differences between media and reality and the complicit role of the audience in violent entertainment.
But the real reason you watch this movie is to see how far it will go. This is one of the founding films of the hardcore horror sub genre. And there’s a reason why, to quote the film’s taglines this movie is “the one that goes all the way.”
Warning: this film does contain scenes of real animal death. The Italians just didn’t give a shit back then.
2005, Neil Marshall, Britain
Five women go on a spelunking trip to the middle of nowhere. But the cave they choose to explore is home to a race of monsters that eat anything they can catch. Now the five friends must battle their way out of the darkness if they don’t want to be dinner.
Marshall’s second film (his first being the awesome werewolf vs. soldiers epic DOG SOLDIERS) is an excellent study in intensity. The first act slowly introduces the characters and shit starts goes wrong in the cave immediately. By the time the monsters are introduced you’ll be practically falling off your couch with shock after shock. This movie also features my all-time favorite jump-scare – the camcorder scene (those that have seen the movie will know what I’m talking about).
Just make sure to see the original British cut of the film. The American edit cuts the last scene from the movie. It’s only about thirty-seconds missing but it changes the entire context of the story and neuters the film.
THE WOLF MAN
1941, George Waggner, USA
I said earlier that AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON is the best werewolf movie ever made so why is this higher up on the list? Because THE WOLF MAN is my favorite of the old classic gothic horror films. Swamps shrouded in fog, old gypsy curses, classic special effects, and stellar performances from Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bela Lugosi make this a genre defining work.
While my tastes tend to lean towards the hyper-violent and sadistic, there is no denying the power and unique aesthetic the Universal horror line had.
THE WICKER MAN
1973, Edward Woodward, Britain
My favorite horror/murder mystery/occultic/musical. There has never been anything like THE WICKER MAN before or since. A fundamentalist Christian policeman is summoned to a small British island to investigate the disappearance of a little girl. To say anymore would spoil one of the most unique experiences in the horror genre.
THE WICKER MAN has been the victim of an extremely laughable remake and disappointing sequel (amazing mishandled by the writer/director of the original) but don’t let that dissuade you. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore and they never did.
TETSUO: THE IRON MAN
1989, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Japan
A style-over-substance (and I mean that as a compliment) masterpiece of nightmare filmmaking. A man gets a literal infection of technology that results in wires and machine parts overtaking his body and the loss of his humanity. Shot in grainy black-and-white, the movie is one surreal scene of horror after another.
TETSUO: THE IRON MAN is the perfect combination of American-style exploitation sensibilities with the genre-defying-craziness the Japanese horror scene is known for.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2
2011, Tom Sixx, USA/Britain/Netherlands
The first HUMAN CENTIPEDE movie was a fun little mad scientist flick. Somehow it developed a reputation in the mainstream as one of the most extreme and gross movies ever made. Exactly how that happened completely escapes me considering A SERBIAN FILM was released around the same time – but we’ll get to that later in the list. The first was original but far from graphic.
Sixx heard criticism that the movie wasn’t that extreme from the horror scene and took it to heart for his sequel. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 takes place in “the real world” and stars an obsessed fan of the first film trying to create his own Human Centipede. What the first film only suggested at, the sequel shows in explicit detail. For someone twisted like me that seeks out the most outrageous and sick movies, this is a goldmine.
What really elevates this movie is how it is filmed in pseudo-art-house style. The first half of the movie almost comes across as a parody of David Lynch’s ERASERHEAD. The use of black-and-white actually makes the gore even more graphic. But there is one use of color in the movie. Brown. Can you guess how that is used?
1981, Lucio Fulci, Italy
THE BEYOND is a psychedelic nightmare captured on film. It ignores logic for the sake of creating an atmosphere in which any kind of horror could happen at any moment. Fulci’s vision of a small town that contains a gateway to hell itself is a ignores any sense of rationality in favor of sheer madness. Zombies, eye-violence, and exploding heads litter this surreal and unnerving piece of European art-house exploitation. While Fulci made many other films worthy of praise (notably CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and ZOMBI 2) he never matched the mind-bending terror of THE BEYOND.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
1974, Tobe Hooper, USA
I would argue that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (which I’ll talk about later) and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE have defined modern horror. Everyone in the genre owes a huge gratitude to those two movies. Made during the height of the Vietnam War, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE perfectly reflects a world gone insane with no one seemly in control. The flower-power hippie generation was over and this movie was one of the nails in their coffin.
Horror fanboy pet peeve – It bugs me so much when people reference how bloody this movie is. There is almost no blood or gore in the entire film. Almost everything is very cleverly implied. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE should be held up as a masterpiece of suggestive filmmaking instead of cheap gory horror.
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
1945, Jack Arnold, USA
Breaking from Universal’s trend of adapting novels, plays, and legends – CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON stands out as the only truly original creation from the classic movie monster line. Set not in a gothic castle or a dank swamp but the sunny Amazon River, there is little that invokes the Universal style but for one thing – the monster. The Creature is the pinnacle of man-in-a-rubber-suit monster design. Played by two talented, and uncredited, actors, the Creature demands awe every time it appears on screen.
It was originally released in 3D and it always had been a dream of mine to see it that way. Recently I got to attend a revival showing in the original 3D – wow! The classic scene of the Creature swimming beneath Julia Adams never looked more beautiful or surreal.
IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS
1995, John Carpenter, USA
The best Lovecraftian movie ever made to never reference H. P. Lovecraft, Cthulhu, or black magic spell-books. Sam Neil (aka “hey, it’s that guy from JURASSIC PARK”) stars as an insurance investigator hired by a book publisher to investigate the disappearance of superstar horror author Sutter Cane. So begins a film that starts as a dark murder-mystery and veers very quickly in surreal nightmare territory.
What Carpenter got right that so many directors of more explicitly Cthulhu Mythos films got wrong was the sense of meaningless and mind-bending terror in the face of forces much greater than yourself.
1992, Peter Jackson, New Zealand
The goriest (in terms of gallons of blood on screen) zombie movie ever made! This ultra-gore/comedy is one of the most fun films ever made. Each scene will have you squirming and howling with laughter. There is a kinetic energy in this movie that is unmatched. Once you make it to the scene of the Kung-Fu Priest kicking ass for the Lord, you’ll be completely in love. There is no greater crowd-pleaser than DEAD ALIVE.
It still shocks me that the man who made this would later go on to adapt THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
1994, Nacho Cerdà, Spain
The easiest way to sum up this short film is it’s the most beautiful film about necrophilia that you will ever see. No joke. The movie is essentially one long scene of a mortician fucking a corpse. Cerdà took an extremely ugly subject matter but presents it through stunningly gorgeous filmmaking techniques to create an extremely affective art-house gore flick.
1982, John Carpenter, USA
The best sci-fi/horror film ever made. A research expedition in Antarctica finds an alien spaceship buried in the ice. But when it turns out the creature onboard is not dead and can shape-shift at will while infecting other life-forms, the team must stop the monster before it can reach the mainland and take over civilization.
THE THING is a masterclass in paranoia. No matter how many times you see it, moments like the blood-test scene and the creature’s amazing transformations never lose their power to shock.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
1968, George A. Romero, USA
The first modern horror film. Before this almost all horror movies were in the Universal/Hammer vein. But NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD took the horror out of gothic castles and English swamps and placed it modern America. It also single-handedly created the modern concept of zombies.
Romero’s first film still has the power to shock. The scenes of the zombies eating flesh were amongst the most graphic images put to film for its time. Some of the scenes involving race and child death are still too ballsy for many directors working today.
And that ending. Dear god. It might be the best ending to any horror movie. Unlike PYSCHO, the shocking finale surprise has not become a pop-culture stable. If you somehow haven’t seen NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, drop what you’re doing and go watch it. Even all these decades later it’s still a bleak and soul-crushing vision.
2006, Eli Roth, USA
The film to kick-start the torture-porn trend. Because of how influential it was, many forget what a breath of fresh air it was after the SCREAM-rip-off and PG-13 ghost dominated 90’s. HOSTEL brought the viciousness back to horror.
It was also the quintessential post-9/11 film. It’s world of Americans being bought and sold for torture perfectly reflected the nation mood in the same way the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE did for the Vietnam-era.
Roth also showed filmmaking techniques and intelligence that his many imitators and detractors missed. The film half of the film with the tourist’s exploitation of local women is directly mirrored in the second half with their own violent exploitation. Shots and music cues are directly reused but under dramatically different circumstances.
While torture-porn has been regarded as nothing more than cheap prurient trash, Eli Roth proved with HOSTEL that it can be used to make real art.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD
2004, Edgar Wright, Britain
The funniest horror comedy ever made! A group of slacker friends decide to wait out the zombie apocalypse at their favorite bar. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg demonstrate a hopeless love and adoration for the horror genre as they go through shout-outs to almost every zombie film you could name. And you don’t have to be a horror-nerd to love the movie. Their wit and creative gags will entertain anyone who watches. While Wright and Pegg have an incredible body of work (the TV series SPACED and films HOT FUZZ and THE WORLD’S END), their tribute to the horror genre is far and away their best work.
THE EVIL DEAD
1981, Sam Raimi, USA
The originator of the “Cabin in the Woods” horror archetype. Five friends go to a cabin, find a cursed book, and accidentally release demons. While the series is remembered as a comedy because of THE EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS. The first film is straight-up hardcore horror.
DEADITE PRESS is named after the villains of this movie. To me THE EVIL DEAD is in many ways the ideal horror film. Graphic violence, colorful monsters, and surreal breakdowns all combine into a genre-redefining experience that still shocks.
That pencil scene still makes me squirm.
POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD
2006, Lloyd Kaufman, USA
All hail Troma, the kings of trash! No one does low-budget gore, tasteless nudity, and bad taste better than Troma Studios. Founded by director Lloyd Kaufman, they are the oldest independent film studio in the world and have never backed down from their mission of genre anarchy.
While they are best known for THE TOXIC AVENGER and THE CLASS OF NUKE’M HIGH, Kaufman’s greatest achievement is the zombie/gore/comedy/musical POULTRYGEIST: NIGHT OF THE CHICKEN DEAD. There is no taboo that director Lloyd Kaufman does not approach with gleeful abandon. A corpse finger butt-plug, a talking Hispanic sloppy joe, and dancing-and-singing zombie-chicken-demon hybrids are just some of the insanity in this masterpiece.
TOKYO GORE POLICE
2008, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Japan
This is just totally bat-shit insane! Taking place in the future, the Japanese police force is dedicated to taking out “Engineers,” which are basically genetically-mutated living weapons. There is little disputing that the Japanese make some of the most genre-defying films in the entire world and this is the cream-of-the-crop. This is part horror/sci-fi gore and part anarchist satire. TOKYO GORE POLICE is ROBOCOP for the torture-porn generation.
Stunning special effects, outrageous creature design, and fountains of gore make this a truly unforgettable viewing experience.
A SERBIAN FILM
2010, Srdjan Spasojevic, Serbia
Milos is a retired porn star but financial troubles and the promise of a huge payday have pulled him back to do one last film. The catch is he can’t read the script or know what the scenes are about until they start filming. If you think you already know where the movie is going – you’re wrong. It goes to much darker and nastier places than any other movie has dared.
This and THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 are easily the two most visually graphic movies ever made. Nothing is left to the imagination and everything is shown in explicit detail. But the obscenities that A SERBIAN FILM revels in are unrivaled in all of hardcore horror (only SALO comes close).
It’s difficult to recommend this film due to how far it goes. This one’s only for the real fans of extreme cinema. It makes the SAW series look like Disney flicks.
1983, David Cronenberg, Canada
The concept of losing one’s identity is common in horror but no film does it better than VIDEODROME. Max Renn runs a television station that specializes in cheap sleaze and he’s always looking for the next perversion he can market. When he stumbles across a pirate TV broadcast of what might be a real snuff show, he gets sucked into a dark underworld of sex, torture, and technology.
Cronenberg is known for his intellectual body-horror and nothing shows off his skills better than VIDEODROME. This film almost makes more sense if it were to come out now instead of thirty years ago. It’s commentary on losing one’s identity to social technology is shockingly relevant to today’s age of Facebook and Twitter. It’s not often that one can say a film is truly visionary but Cronenberg did it here.
DEATH TO VIDEODROME! LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!
1987, Clive Barker, Britain
My all-time favorite horror movie! From the incredible monsters, the puzzle-box, the moody soundtrack, and gothic set-up – this one has it all!! From the iconic opening scene to the many creative tortures and deaths, this movie never lets up.
What really separates HELLRAISER from the rest of the eighties horror boom is its villains are not motivated by unexplained cruelty or revenge but pleasure. The characters are seeking the ultimate pleasures of heaven and hell – they just have to kill a few people to get there. I once read a review that put forward the idea that you could replace every moment of spurting blood with cum and the movie still makes sense.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful horror film ever made. Every shot oozes with equal parts moody atmosphere and body fluids. Clive Barker’s design work for the Cenobites and Hell are unmatched in how they combine equal parts fetish-sex and terror.
The title HELLRAISER wasn’t decided upon until well into the movie’s production. Fun titles that were tossed around by the crew include SADOMASOCHISTS FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE and WHAT A WOMAN WILL DO FOR A GOOD FUCK. I think both capture the movie’s themes quite well.
What do you think of my list? What are your favorite horror flicks? Let me know in the comments.
This Thursday in Portland, Oregon!
Bizarro Central Presents an evening of Bizarro Fiction, Comedy, Music, and Circus Acts in Celebration of H.P. Lovecraft at Portland’s only H.P. Lovecraft themed bar!
This is a very special event celebrating the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival – a Portland institution and horror tradition. Come get drunk beneath the elder sign with us!
AND THAT’S NOT ALL – this is also the book release party for SHATNERQUEST by Jeff Burk. The sequel to Eraserhead Press’ 2009 cult hit SHATNERQUAKE.
Sideshow performer extraordinaire performing death defying feats and nauseating stunts!
The author of CTHULHU COMES TO THE VAMPIRE KINGDOM will summon the deep one himself.
Dark noise and electronic music from one of Portland’s premiere nightmare sound designers.
ROSS E. LOCKHART
The author of CHICK BASSIST and editor of BOOK OF CTHULHU VOL 1 & 2 with some hard-knock punk rock life lessons.
HOSTED BY JEFF BURK
The author of SHATNERQUEST with a guide of what to do in case of a giant William Shatner Attack
You don’t want to miss this weirdo literary musical sideshow!
Thursday, May 2
8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
The Lovecraft Bar
321 SE Grand Ave
Facebook Event Page
Bizarro Central Presents is a continuing series of Portland events curated by Jeff Burk featuring bizarro authors and friends of bizarro.
After the apocalypse, three Star Trek fans and their morbidly obese cat embark on a quest to save their beloved idol, the one and only William Shatner, from the hostile world America has become.
But their journey will not be easy, for the wasteland is filled with cannibal cults, Klingon biker gangs, Zombie Borg, and all manner of mutant creatures. And once they arrive at their destination, they discover that William Shatner has been transformed into Shatzilla – a giant 100-story radioactive monster hell-bent on destroying all of Los Angeles.
Now instead of saving Shatner from this new apocalyptic world, these three fans must save the world from this new apocalyptic Shatner. If only there was another giant monster who could take him down…
From the author who brought you the cult hit Shatnerquake, comes another Shat-tastic sci-fi comedy that proves once and for all that there actually is something even bigger than William Shatner’s ego. And it is… William Shatner!
Click here to buy from Amazon.com
by Jeff Burk
I first became aware of Lee Hardcastle’s films from the short, T IS FOR TOILET. It is one of 26 short horror films that will be included in the upcoming movie THE ABCS OF DEATH. While 25 directors were sought out for the movie, the producers opened up the spot for the letter “T” for anyone to submit. Hardcastle did and his short will be included in the final film.
Curious over who this newcomer was, I looked up his short after I discovered it was on Youtube.
Holy. God. Damn. Motherfucking. Shit.
Take four minutes and watch this. No, seriously. Do it:
After seeing that, I quickly became addicted to Hardcastle’s films. His constant inventiveness with violence and the palpable sense of glee in downright infectious.
Not to mention that I’m a sucker for adult stop motion animation. I love the strange otherworldliness the technology gives across – yet while still retaining a sense of being physically real, something CGI sorely lacks.
I reached out to Hardcastle and had a short conversation with him about his influences and creative process.
Jeff Burk: Your short T IS FOR TOILET will be featured in the upcoming feature film, THE ABCS OF DEATH. How did that come about?
Lee Hardcastle: The ABCs of Death held a competition open to the public, where people could submit their own videos to represent the letter T in the film. And my entry Toilet won the competition, it was a dream come true and possibly my greatest achievement ever.
JB: How did you start working in stop motion animation?
LH: It was a bit of an accident, I did it as a hobby because I liked to make films but never thought it was possible to make a living from it until I started to build a bit of a following online! It all started with YouTube and the internet. Without it, I wouldn’t stand a chance in the film festival circuits.
JB: Are there any stop motion animators that you would site as an influence?
LH: Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish were my biggest inspiration with their “toy movies” on the Adam and Joe show, they didn’t demonstrate amazing stop motion a lot but it was charming and fun and made me want to have a go at it too.
JB: Your work shows an overwhelming love of horror movies with references to many classic films (THE EVIL DEAD, THE THING, DEAD ALIVE, etc…). Where did your love of horror come from?
LH: I dunno, I’m not really into horror films these days now – it’s horrible. I remember that feeling growing up, how excited I was about horror films and how I felt when I watched them, it was beautiful fine art to me. And now, I’m nostalgic and sad that I never feel like that anymore. I can’t say where it came from but I reference them out of my own bitter nostalgic reasons.
JB: Extreme violence and gross-out are becoming calling cards of your work. What were your biggest inspirations in regards to how you present your gore?
LH: I don’t know, I remember when I first watched The Thing and there were those two sequences back to back, first the guy whose chest opens up and then the blood test scene? It’s just there, all gory and crazy and it was a serious. That was love, I like to shock people and watch their reaction. It’s all about an audience reaction, it cracks me up. If I can disturb someone or make them jump, to me that’s like making a woman orgasm.
JB: Which film would you consider your greatest accomplishments?
LH: T is for Toilet, I am really happy with. It really came together, as it was for a competition I came up with an idea that would express everything I can do, my writing, my acting, my animating, my directing, my camering, my breathing, everything!! I wanted it to be the greatest representation of what I can achieve, and I achieved it against all odds too. I couldn’t even afford the 100 quid it cost to make! I had friends wire money to me via pay pal.
JB: What is the most demanding aspect of working in stop motion animation that others may not realize?
LH: It takes a lot of planning, you have to know exactly what you are shooting and in what sequence. Planning is everything, you gotta visualize for whole video frame for frame before you can pick up the camera.
JB: All of your videos are available to view via YouTube for free. As a new and independent artist, what made you choose that route of distribution? Any plans for hardcopies (i.e. DVDs) in the future?
LH: Actually, i think dvds/hardcopies are dead. The future is online.
JB: You’ve done a few music videos for a variety of groups and styles. How did that come about? Are there any special demands with music videos?
LH: Nah;, I get asked if I’ll make a music video every now and again, and I love the art of music videos. That is something I love.
JB: Several of your films are in 3-D (if you have the glasses) on YouTube. That’s not something I come across too often. What attracted you to making 3-D films?
LH: I think video is such a fun gimmick, I’ve always been obsessed with 3D and I love it when I show someone my work in 3D, they’re usually really amazed.
JB: What can we look forward to in the future from you?
LH: I don’t know, I’m a floater in a calm river this very moment, I haven’t a clue where it’s taking me or how rough/calm the ride is going to get. My goals are to employ people to work for me and get a lee hardcastle studio going so i can get bigger/longer videos out the door quicker.
JB: What is your advice to the aspiring filmmaker?
LH: Have goals, make them realistic. Don’t run out of batteries, keep going like the Duracell bunny.
JB: Thanks for your time!
You can go to Lee Hardcastle’s official website to watch all of his films for free. I highly recommend that you do.
You can also stalk him on Facebook and Twitter.
I leave you with this, AN ALIEN CLAYMATION, his latest film:
by JEFF BURK
2012 is coming to a close and it’s time, once again, for my annual Top Ten Movies of the Year!
If you want to catch up on past lists, here they are:
2000 to 2009
With that out of the way, let’s get on to 2012. Coming up with just ten best movies of the year was extremely difficult. This was one of my favorite years for movies in recent memory. I could have easily have done a top fifteen but I wanted to keep with tradition and limit it to just ten.
Starting off, here are the movies that I enjoyed but just not enough to make it into the top ten. Seriously, this year’s list was a hard one to narrow down and these movies are still totally worth your time:
Honorable Mentions: Excision, The Woman in Black, Argo, The Bay, Sinister, Chronicle, Grave Encounters 2
But with all my praise, 2012 wasn’t totally without its failures. Here were my least favorite movies of the year:
Biggest Disappointments: The Divide, Paranormal Activity 4, The Expendables 2, ATM
Alright, let’s move on to the ten best movies of 2012!
10: THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS
Rza and Eli Roth made a gore kung-fu flick! In the tradition of the best grindhouse movies, it’s bloody, filled with nudity, and has a kick-ass soundtrack. The plot barely makes sense. There’s a guy whose body is made of metal and there’s another guy who has iron fists and then there’s some seven clan rivalry…really it’s Rza and Eli Roth, you should already have a good idea what you’re in for.
9: THE RAID: REDEMPTION
As one of the movie posters says, “One minute of romance, one hundred minutes of non-stop carnage.” The movie follows twenty cops launching a raid on a thirty story building filled with gang members and drug addicts. After they get found out, everyone in the building tries to kill the cops before they can arrest a drug lord on the top level. It’s ridiculously over the top in it’s brutality and violence and never gets bogged down by things like plot or characters. Just how action movies should be.
8: INDIE GAME: THE MOVIE
The best art documentary of the year. The movie follows three independent game developers and their trials and joys over trying to create a video game. These are not people doing this as a hobby, they are artists that have invested everything they have into their creative goals. It’s unflinching and brutal in its honesty over how hard it is to make your dreams come true.
Part slasher, part teen drama, part meta-pop culture comedy, and completely insane, DETENTION never found its proper audience. If you’re looking for a straight forward genre flick, you’re going to be very disappointed. But if you’re looking for a experimental mash-up that features a time traveling alien bear (you’re on Bizarro Central so I assume you are), this is the movie for you.
I love found footage movies, or I should say I love the concept of found footage. Sadly, most filmmakers use the style to tell lazy stories and save money. V/H/S is not like that at all. Five filmmakers turn in found footage shorts that are all totally different and effective. It’s worth watching just for the haunted apartment story told completely through Skype conversations.
All the directors use the found footage to their maximum advantage and create stories that are shocking, claustrophobic, and vicious. Easily the scariest movie of the year.
5: THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
The horror movie that everyone was talking about this year, and rightfully so. Josh Whedon took every horror cliché out there and turned them upside. The end result was wickedly original and fun to watch. I can’t really talk about the movie outside of saying that it’s one of the most original horror films in decades. If you’ve seen it, you know why. If you haven’t seen it, what’s wrong with you?
4: THE AVENGERS/THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
If only my eight-year-old self knew that this summer I’d be seeing big budget battles between Batman and Bane and The Avengers and Loki…
While both superhero movies, both of these films take dramatic different approaches to the concept. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is philosophical and dark, while THE AVENGERS is all bright colors and huge set-pieces. The reason I grouped them together on this list was because I liked them for the same reasons—they are both comic book movies that took their source material seriously. If you enjoyed either one of these movies, you should check out the comics they are based on.
You all already know what these movies are about so you don’t need a trailer—check out this instead:
3: IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY
Don Hertzfeldt is best known for his surreal and violent short animated films like BILLY’S BALLOON, LILY AND JIM, and the cult favorite REJECTED. With his past few films his ditched the madcap humor and has opted instead for deeply personal pieces about lose and depression.
IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY is the third film in his trilogy that started with EVERYTHING WILL BE OK and I AM SO PROUD OF YOU (note: it is necessary to watch all three films in order). The three films form the story of a young man coming to terms with an early onset mental illness that has affected many previous generations of his family. It’s soul crushing and stunningly beautiful.
2: FATHER’S DAY
Troma Studios is responsible for many of my all-time favorite movies. While you can normally expect Lloyd Kaufman to deliver a killer movie, the films that Troma distributes normally either pure genius or utter dog-shit. And they’ve put out a lot more shit than anything else.
Enter FATHER’S DAY, the first feature from the filmmaking collective, ASTRON-6. A hilarious gore-comedy about a supernatural serial killer who rapes and kills fathers. The movie is inventive and constantly pulling the rug out from beneath the viewer.
The brain-blasting third act makes this movie so completely brilliant and it has my favorite ending of any movie this year. I wish I could rant about how awesome this is but it would spoil too much. Just go watch it yourself.
1: GOD BLESS AMERICA
While it had its festival premier at the very end of 2011, it didn’t get any kind of distribution until 2012, so fuck it. I’m counting it (just like last year’s number one, TROLL HUNTER).
After finding out that he has inoperable brain cancer, Frank, and his teenage side-kick, goes on a cross-country killing spree to make America a better place.
GOD BLESS AMERICA is a gloriously nihilistic revenge fantasy on modern culture. It is for every person who hates religious fundamentalists, vapid entertainers, and the political right and the left. It’s dark, violent, funny, and fiercely smart.
No film better captures the current cultural divide in America. It’s a more modern FALLING DOWN but without any moral ambiguity. The film never questions the main characters’ actions. It gloriously embraces their psychotic tendencies while making an argument that America would be a better place if some people were dead.
Those are my ten favorite movies of 2012. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. But there is still just one more thing:
MOVIE COMING OUT IN 2013 THAT I’M MOST EXCITED FOR:
Giant Monsters + Giant Robots + Guillermo del Toro = Nerdgasm
4:00pm: REGISTRATION OPENS (Location: Ad House)
8:00-9:00pm: OPENING CEREMONIES (Location: Ad House)
9:00-10:00pm: THIRSTY THURSDAY LIVE (Ross E. Lockhart) — Beer enthusiast and editor extraordinaire Ross E. Lockhart will review a craft beer and suggest possible book pairings. (Location: Ad House)
9:00-10:00pm: NEW BIZARRO AUTHOR SERIES MEETING (Kevin Shamel, Kevin Donihe, Bradley Sands) — Meet and greet for the New Bizarro Author Series authors and editors. If you are one of this year’s NBAS authors, this is where you will learn what will be expected of you over the next twelve months. (Location: Ad House)
8:00-11:00am: WRITER’S WORKSHOP: HIGH CONCEPT BIZARRO (Jeff Burk)— Pitch and critique bizarro book ideas with your bizarro peers and learn what it takes to write bizarro fiction novels that sell based on their ideas alone. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. WORKSHOP FULL (Location: The Mt Hood Room)
8:00-11:00am: WRITER’S WORKSHOP: CHOREOGRAPHY OF VIOLENCE (John Skipp) — Learn how to craft nail-biting edge-of-your-seat action sequences in a workshop setting with your pal, John Skipp. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. WORKSHOP FULL (Location: The Barley Room)
11:30-12:30pm: WRITING FOR A CULT AUDIENCE (Carlton Mellick III) — A one hour lecture and Q&A. Topics will include: cult vs mainstream marketing, the pros and cons of writing fiction with cult appeal, how to build a cult audience, and how to make a living as a cult author. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. WORKSHOP FULL (Location: The Barley Room)
11:30-12:30pm: BIZARRO WRITING EXERCISES (Cameron Pierce) — Feeling creative? Participate in some quick writing activities with your fellow bizarros, including one Cameron Pierce method involving Call of Cthulhu trading cards. (Location: The Mt Hood Room)
12:30-1:30pm: BOOK MARKETING AND AUTHOR PERSONA (Brian Keene) — A one hour lecture and Q&A with bestselling horror author Brian Keene. Learn how to market your books and develop a public persona in the digital age…without being a douche. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED. WORKSHOP FULL (Location: The Barley Room)
12:30-1:30pm: THE ARTISTS OF BIZARRO (Alan M. Clark, Nick Gucker, Andrew Goldfarb, Paul Groendes, Chrissy Horchheimer, Liv Rainey-Smith) — Come meet the artists of the bizarro scene and discuss their creative process. (Location: The Mt Hood Room)
1:30-2:30pm: BIZARRO BRIGADE MEETING (Kevin Shamel) — Ask not what the bizarro genre can do for you—ask what you can do for the bizarro genre. Come brainstorm ways that you, the bizarro reader and writer, can help spread the word of bizarro to the world. Bizarro Brigade members are encouraged to attend. (Location: The Barley Room)
1:30-2:00pm: READING BLOCK ONE — Justin Grimbol and David W Barbee. (Location: The Ad House)
2:00-2:30pm: READING BLOCK TWO — Brian Keene and Robert Devereaux. (Location: The Ad House)
2:30-3:00pm: READING BLOCK THREE — Michael Allen Rose and Spike Marlowe (Location: The Ad House)
3:00-5:00pm: BIZARRO WRITER’S ASSOCIATION MEETING — Annual meeting for the BWA. Due to space limitation, this year’s meeting will be limited to BWA members only. (Location: The Barley Room)
3:00-3:30pm: READING BLOCK FOUR — Christopher Reynaga and MP Johnson (Location: The Ad House)
3:30-4:00pm: READING BLOCK FIVE — Bix Skahill and Edmund Colell (Location: The Ad House)
4:00-5:00pm: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BIZARRO BOOK? (Simon Ore, Mike Antonio, Zoe Welch)— Here’s a panel where you can voice your opinions as bizarro readers. What elements of bizarro would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less? Your feedback will be given to bizarro editors for consideration. (Location: The Ad House)
5:00-7:00pm: DINNER BREAK
7:00pm-3:00am: ERASERHEAD PRESS PARTY — Time again for another legendary Eraserhead Press Party! Featuring Bizarro Beer and performances by Kevin L Donihe, Carlton Mellick III, Shane McKenzie, Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Alene, and The Slow Poisoner. (Location: The Ad House)
9:00-10:00 am: BIZARRO BRUNCH—Have an excellent gourmet brunch. (Location: The Barley Room)
9:00-10:00am: NBAS BREAKFAST—This year’s new bizarro writers will have a private breakfast with last year’s new bizarro authors and discuss their experiences, give survival tips, and help brainstorm possible promotion methods to better prepare this year’s group. (Location: The Mt. Hood Room)
10:00-10:30: BIZARRO RAFFLE—After breakfast, enter a raffle to win free books, artwork, and other prizes. (Location: The Barley Room)
10:30-11:15 am: CONTROLLED ACCIDENT DEMO—Watch award-winning artist Alan M. Clark as he uses his controlled accident method in a live painting demonstration. (Location: The Ad House)
11:00am: BIZARRO BOOK NOOK OPENS — Your one stop for bizarro books (Location: Mt Hood Room)
11:30-12:15pm: VIRAL BOOK MARKETING (Jeff Burk, Rose O’Keefe, Cameron Pierce, Kevin Shamel) —Tips and tricks for marketing your book online, using blogs to your advantage, and the four emotions that make something go viral. (Location: The Barley Room)
11:30-12:15 pm: FORCED HALLUCINATION DEMO—Watch award-winning artist Alan M. Clark as he uses his Forced Hallucination method in a live painting demonstration (Location: The Ad House)
12:30-1:15pm: THE WRITING LIFE (Brian Keene, Robert Devereaux, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Mykle Hansen, Kevin Shamel) — Maintaining productivity and staying focused on your goals as a writer while facing self-doubt and the obstacles of daily life. (Location: The Barley Room)
12:30-1:15 pm: ALAN CLARK PAINTS WITH THE EXQUISITE BRUSH, JEFF BURK—Watch award-winning artist Alan M. Clark as he uses Jeff Burk’s dreadlocks in a live painting demonstration. (Location: The Ad House)
1:30-2:15pm: WHAT TO DO WITH A POO-FLAVORED DICK (John Skipp, Brian Keene, Shane McKenzie, Robert Devereaux, Jeff Burk) — Shock in bizarro and horror fiction—what has been done, what not to do, and what the hell is even shocking anymore anyway? (Location: The Barley Room)
1:30-2:15pm: READING BLOCK ONE — Alan M. Clark, Ross E. Lockhart, Bradley Sands, David Agranoff (Location: The Ad House)
2:30-3:15pm: READING BLOCK TWO — Andrew Goldfarb, Laura Lee Bahr, Eric Hendrixson (Location: The Barley Room)
3:30—4:30 pm: THE NEW BIZARRO AUTHOR SERIES READING BLOCK—Meet this year’s New Bizarro Author Series. Hear readings and performances from Shane Cartledge, Tamara Romero, G. Arthur Brown, Andrew Wayne Adams, Joe Wargo, and Gabino Iglesias. Hosted by Kevin Shamel and Kevin L. Donihe. (Location: The Barley Room)
5:00pm: BIZARRO BOOK NOOK CLOSES
5:00—5:30 pm: ASK KEVIN L. DONIHE — All the secrets of the universe are hidden within a single perfect being. And that being is known to us mere mortals as the Kevin L. Donihe. Come and he will bestow upon you his great wisdom. You may ask the Donihe anything you wish. He is never wrong. (Location: The Ballroom)
5:30 pm: GROUP PHOTO SHOOT (Location: The Ballroom)
5:30-6:30 pm: WONDERLAND BOOK AWARDS DINNER—The Fifth Annual Wonderland Book Award for Best Novel and Best Collection. Come find out the winners and enjoy a fajita buffet. (Location: The Ballroom)
7:00-10:00 pm: THE ULTIMATE BIZARRO SHOWDOWN—After the awards dinner, bizarro authors compete to see who is indeed the weirdest of the weird. Each author must give the most unique and entertaining three minute reading performance of their lives or risk being yanked off stage by the drunk and annoyed audience members. Winners will be given snazzy prizes. Hosted by Mykle Hansen. Judges: Robert Devereaux, Brian Keene, John Skipp (Location: The Ballroom)
11:00-Beyond: BIZARRO AFTER-PARTY—(Location: The Ad House)
10:00-11:30 am: BREAKFAST BUFFET—Nurse your hangover with screwdrivers and bloody marys over a gourmet breakfast buffet. (Location: The Barley Room)
11:30-12:30pm: THE KEVIN L DONIHE ART TOUR — Professional art critic and walrus-tamer, Kevin L. Donihe, takes you on a tour of the works of art displayed in the hallways of Edgefield Manor and explains the meaning and history behind these profound masterpieces. (Location: Meet outside the Barley Room)
12:30-1:30pm: SPACEFISH SCREENING (Simon Ore, Gaetano Evangelista, Jim Agpalza, Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Alene) —Watch the pilot episode for the bizarro animated series Spacefish, plus a behind the scenes discussion on the process behind bringing it all together with the creators of the show. (Location: The Barley Room)
1:30-2:30pm: CRAFTING THE SHORT STORY (Cameron Pierce, John Skipp, Ross E. Lockhart, Mykle Hansen) — Advice on the craft of writing short stories versus novels.(Location: The Barley Room)
2:30-3:30pm: HOW TO CREATE A KICKASS LITERARY EVENT (Rose O’Keefe, Mykle Hansen, Jeff Burk) —Want to throw an awesome reading, book release party, or other writerly shindig? Learn the ins and outs of event coordination with bizarrocon staff members. (Location: The Barley Room)
3:30-4:30pm: CLOSING CEREMONIES (Location: The Barley Room)
Congratulations. Just think of all the awful ways you could have died.
Your daily dose of awesome:
UPDATE: Apparently some sensitive types are really offending by the video. Most websites are now taking it down. You can still check it out here.
The latest book from Carlton Mellick III is available now. It is a “mysterious island” story for the bizarro audience.
If they don’t act fast, they’ll never get out alive…
Eight desperate castaways find themselves stranded on a mysterious deserted island. They are surrounded by poisonous blue plants and an ocean made of acid. Strange creatures lurk in the toxic jungle. The ghostly sound of crying babies can be heard on the wind.
Once they realize the rescue ships aren’t coming, the eight castaways must band together in order to survive in this inhospitable environment. But survival might not be possible. The air they breathe is toxic, there is no shelter from the elements, and the only food they have to consume is the squid-shaped tumors that grow from a mentally disturbed woman’s body.
From the crazy imagination of bizarro fiction master Carlton Mellick III comes Tumor Fruit–an intense survival story full of eccentric characters, nail-biting suspense, and unpredictable twists.
Like LOST on steroids, for the bizarro generation.
Available at amazon.com
This is what Hell looks like for Charlie Rose.
by Jeff Burk
Troma Studios is the oldest independent film studio in the world – celebrating almost forty years of independent art. Founded in 1974 by Llody Kaufman and Michael Herz, the studio specializes in producing and distributing trashy gore and exploitation flicks that no other studio would dare touch. The best Troma films will gross you out, make you laugh, touch your heart, and turn you on.
If you’re somehow tragically unfamiliar with Troma, take two minutes to watch the soul of Troma:
With a catalog of hundreds of films, getting into Troma can be a bit daunting. Not all Troma movies are of equal quality and the studio has a reputation of taking shit films and giving them awesome titles – I’m looking at you Surf Nazis Must Die.
Here are my personal top ten Troma films. If you’re just looking to get into Troma, this is a great starting point. If you’ve been a long-time fan, then remember the blood, boobs, and beasts with me.
10. Troma’s War – 1988, Lloyd Kaufman
A satire of the action/war movie genre featuring the passengers and crew of a hijacked airplane battling a terrorist organization known as the AIDS Brigade. Director Lloyd Kaufman claims that the film has more squibs than any other film ever made. But who knows, Troma lies all the time.
9. Bloodsucking Freaks – 1976, Joel M. Reed
The first film picked up by Troma for distribution is still one of their sleaziest. Equally influenced by hardcore BDSM and the Grand Guignol, the story follows a magician whose act involves mutilating women onstage. The twist, it’s all real! Featuring an ass dart-board, brain-sucking via straw, and a penis sandwich, this one’s for the splatter fans with a good sense of humor.
8. The Toxic Avenger – 1984, Lloyd Kaufman
The first “real” Troma film. Before this Kaufman and company had been making mostly teen sex comedies. But with this mash-up of horror, comedy, and super-hero tropes, Troma was reborn and independent filmmaking would never be the same. The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie to his fans, would spawn three sequels, a cartoon show, video games, toys, and the love of thousands.
7. Redneck Zombies – 1987, Pericles Lewnes
Shot entirely on VHS, the nonstop splatterthon is everything the title promises it to be. After a clan of hillbillies mistake chemical waste for moonshine, they turn into undead flesh eaters. Known for its ridiculous dialogue and crazy over-the-top gore, this cheesy labor of love is a pure punk rock filmmaking.
6. Terror Firmer – 1999, Lloyd Kaufman
A Troma movie about the making of a Troma movie. The story follows a serial killer who is stalking the cast and crew of a fictitious Toxic Avenger sequel. The cast is amongst Troma’s best but Lloyd Kaufman steals the show as a blind parody of himself. In the best Troma fashion, the movie is half trashy horror, half rallying cry for independent art.
5. Class of Nuke ‘Em High – 1986, Lloyd Kaufman
Welcome to Troma High, where the local honors club turned punk gang sells radioactive weed. After smoking a joint and having sex, a wholesome couple unleashes a vicious monster that stalks the halls. A pure kinetic experience that is best enjoyed with a few beers.
4. Tromeo and Juliet – 1996, Lloyd Kaufman
Written by James Gunn (Slither, Super), this tribute to Shakespeare’s classic remain fairly faithful to the original but with large dose of lesbian sex and hyper violence. It’s worth it just to see Lemmy from Motorhead reciting actual dialogue from the play. I’m sure the bard would approve.
3. Father’s Day – 2012, Astron 6
The latest release from Troma is one of the best films they’ve ever distributed. A truly twisted and funny story of three men hunting for a supernatural entity that rapes and kills fathers. And then it gets weird. The movie twists and turns and it’s impossible to predict what deviant image will assault you next. You have to see this at least for the amazing practical monster effects and one of the funniest, darkest endings in recent memory.
2. Cannibal! the Musical – 1996, Trey Parker
The first film by Matt Stone and Trey Parker who would later go on to create a little show by the name of South Park. Taking the real life story of Alfred Packer, Stone and Parker create an outrageously funny, and surprisingly historically accurate, comedy/horror/musical. Make sure to buy the DVD to experience the greatest, drunkest, commentary ever recorded.
1: Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead – 2006, Lloyd Kaufman
Troma and Lloyd Kaufman’s ultimate masterpiece is a musical, gore flick about a fast food restaurant that is built on an Indian burial ground. After the food becomes possessed by the chicken/Indian spirit, and the customers become flesh eating chicken zombies, the staff must fight to make it out of American Chicken Bunker alive. Chicken zombie monsters, talking fast food made from people, and, of course, needless nudity make this the definitive Troma experience.
Jeremy Robert Johnson already has his tickets.
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy . . .