ATL_HorroFilmFestival

This weekend is all about horror as BeatsBoxingMayhem is covering the annual Atlanta Horror Film Festival. The event prides itself on showcasing the best in independent horror from around the country. Day one featured three blocks of 10-shorts under different themes (“Never Sleep Again,” “Kid Fears,” and “Hazardous Duties”) and two full-length features (The Glass Coffin, Replace).

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NEVER SLEEP AGAIN

Running a little over an hour, the shorts in this block ranged from two minutes to 25. Some directors tackled the sleep motif from a humorous angle (Kyle Dlay and Taylor Martin’s “Nightlight” had a young child befriending his under the bed monster with comic books) to unsettling demonic disturbances (Evan Cooper’s “The Armoire” had a creeping demon that resembled the first alien glimpse we see in Signs).

The biggest standouts were the longer features, which allowed for some character development and building dread: Ross Morin’s “A Peculiar Thud” and Andrea Niada’s “Home Education.” Morin’s piece told the story of a man awakened in the night by a thud downstairs. He finds an intruder at his door asking to innocently to come in. What would be creepy in the daytime is downright terrifying at 3am. Add to the fact that the protagonist’s safeguards (alarm system, locked doors, calling 911) failed to discourage the intruder (later a knife-wielding attacker), and the viewer is faced with a realistic nightmare.

“Home Education” is a UK feature that asks the question of what happens with the terror comes from your own family? A young girl is being home-schooled by her controlling and detached from reality mother. The father has died recently and is slowly rotting upstairs. The mother refuses to believe her husband is dead, framing it as a “test” they need to pass for him to “come back.” This toxic philosophy twists the girl in unimaginable ways.

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KID FEARS

There used to be a time in horror when kids were relatively safe from death. Sure, they might be terrorized, but rarely are they butchered. Not the case here. The monsters get their pound of flesh and then some. In “Father,” (Chris Keller) a promiscuous and neglectful mother has a one-night stand while a demon attacks her son. In “Goodnight Gracie” (Stellan Kendrick), a young girl who hopes her Bible and faith in Jesus will save her is rewarded with death from an ax-murderer.

An underlining theme is most of these shorts is the adults failing to protect the children. A more unsettling take in a few is the adults deliberately putting them in danger. Take “Agatha,” (Timothy Vandenberg) where a matriarch recruits orphans to feed her demonic daughter.  You find out how horrific the practice is when you see a pile of shoes from the previous orphan victims.

The standout in this block for me was “When Demons Die” (Daniel Ruebesam), which tells the story of a child confined to his home due to the father being fearful of “fog demons.” We get a reminder of how much a child’s worldview is shaped by adults and the terror that can come from it.

 

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HAZARDOUS DUTIES

This block had by far the most humorous films of the night. From Men in Black style exterminators (Aaron Grimes’ “Agent of the Month”) to a redneck who falls in love with a “hot zombie” (Drew Giles'”Redneck Zombie”), there was constant laughter from the audience.

The most experimental was “Myopia,” where creators Roger Okamoto and Alex Zhuravel tell the story of a guilt-ridden cop who returns to the crime scene where he was forced to take a life. The ghost aspect centers the horror theme, put the story was more a reflection on making peace with your past.

The two standouts here were “The Night Delivery” (Scott O’Hara) and “Avulsion” (Steven Boyle). “Night Delivery” finds three grocery store workers turned thieves who are stalked by a demonic creature on their last heist. Simply known as Akoman, the demon goes after those who sin. Faced with priceless diamonds in their midst, all three have to decide quickly if their lives are worth more than what they came for. This is one of the few films presented that had a built-in lore that could translate well over a full-length feature.

“Avulsion” showcases another demon, but one intent on providing a blue-collar service. How, you ask? She lets serial killers murder and dismember her corpse. Think of it as “death prostitution.” As she reattaches her limbs, she reminds us that this service satisfies those we would least expect (priests, coworkers, politicians etc.). A creative take that gives indirect commentary to the debate of legalizing societal “ills” like prostitution and narcotics.

FILMS

Full reviews will be posted in a few days.

The Glass Coffin: The premise of this Spanish horror/thriller is a film star named Amanda becomes trapped in a luxury limousine by a maniac. We soon find out that said maniac is someone from her past bent on revenge. As the antagonist humiliates Amanda psychologically and physically, we start to wonder who exactly is the true villain. All this leads to a face to face showdown where only one can survive.

Although the dialogue gets a bit ponderous midway, I was fully invested in the final confrontation. Considering the film is essentially just two people, it’s an impressive feat. Track this one down if you can.

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Replace: This was the last film of the night and I’m glad I stuck around for it. There is A LOT to unpack with this story. The power of memory, fear of aging, loving a destructive person and dealing with a debilitating illness are all concepts you can write a full review on with this film. We met the young and beautiful Kira who is afflicted with a disease that causes her skin to age rapidly. However, she finds out one way to stop this — stripping the flesh from live victims and adding it to her own.

As her horrifying deeds mount, you find yourself still sympathetic with Kira. Who hasn’t looked in the mirror before dismayed by the effects of aging, let alone someone in the prime of their life being robbed of it? Add on her next-door neighbor lover who has her own internal struggles and a shady medical facility, and you have a well-made, layered film with a gut-wrenching finale.

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That’s it for day one. Check back daily for recaps on all four days. If you’re in town and want to attend, get all the details at http://www.atlantahorrorfilmfest.com/home-1.html.

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Ransom – “Contempt”

Posted: October 20, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
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Enjoy this quick loosie equipped with effortless bars from Ransom. The soul-sample production and Ran’s flow (which has a classic Jay Z feel) is a potent combination. And that ending leaves you wanting more:

You ain’t gotta try and hear it/ They streamed all of your dreams/ And monetized your spirit.

Considering the video for “J.A.M.A.L.” dropped less than a week ago, Ransom may be gearing up for new a project.

[Video] Mya Returns with the Sensual “Ready for Whatever”

Posted: October 20, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
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We missed you, Mya. The veteran singer is jumping back in the spotlight with her new sultry visuals for “Ready for Whatever.” The song is in the vein of what you’re hearing on the radio these days, but it’s executed well. If you listened to this blindly, you’d assume you’re hearing a new or younger artist (I’ll concede that may be a bad thing depending on your musical tastes).

Mya is just one year removed from her Sweet Jones EP. Do we have another project on the way?

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Photo Credit: Derrick Hogan/ Hogan’s Photos

LAS VEGAS — In a clash of battle-weary veterans desperate for a career-reviving win, Gabriel Rosado made good on his vow to display his skills in dominating Glen Tapia with superb counter-punching in route to a sixth-round TKO at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.

A pattern emerged quickly over the first three rounds. Tapia would start the round strong by scoring with the right hand and getting inside with hooks to the body. Rosado would weather the storm and hurt The Jersey Boy with counter rights over the jab and mix in sneaky left hooks. Rosado implemented this strategy off the backfoot but would come forward with combinations anytime Tapia was stunned or backpedaled (which was often).

By the fourth round, Rosado knew he had a lesser fighter in his domain and unleashed every right hand with bad intentions. Tapia’s attempts to hold were pushed off. In the fifth, he was trapped on the ropes and had his head repeatedly snapped back by vicious overhand rights. Going inside for Tapia now proved equally dangerous with Rosado mixing in uppercuts.

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The beating was written all over Tapia’s face — a growing hematoma on the left side of his forehead, bloody nose, and swollen lips. Referee Robert Byrd warned Tapia to “show him something” before the sixth.

The only thing Tapia could show was a fighter in need of being saved from himself. Rosado started the end with a lead left hook that exploited Tapia’s low guard. The latter staggered backward to the ropes and avoided a few follow-up rights before being sent to the canvas by another left hook. Tapia rose and tried to right back, but was rocked by several more rights before the bout was mercifully called.

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Tapia would be wise to officially retire. Now at 23-5, he’s lost four straight (two by stoppage). Should he continue fighting, it likely won’t be under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions. In a truly macabre irony, Rosado’s win gives him the mantle of Golden Boy’s goto veteran for the meat-grinder, meaning the name opponent for its fledgling prospects, and potentially a stay-busy future opponent for its big-punching stars in Canelo or David Lemieux (who stopped Rosado in 2014).

Last night’s win snaps Rosado’s two-fight losing streak (Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray) and improves his record to 24-11.

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Jermell Charlo told Erickson Lubin that he wasn’t ready. It would take the WBC super welterweight title-holder less than three minutes to make those words true as he scored a shocking one-punch KO.

What looked to be a feel-out round with each fighter probing jabs evaporated when the southpaw Lubin ducked a jab and ran blindly into a right uppercut. The shot crumpled Lubin sideways on the canvas, where the former Prospect of the Year convulsed rigidly in an unsettling, arms-outstretched pose. The referee killed the count midway to give Charlo the second successful defense of his title.

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There was a little drama afterward with Jermell claiming someone ringside threw a chair at his twin brother Jermall. In an emotionally-charged scene that resembled the aftermath of Jermall’s KO win over Julian Williams, Jermell yelled into the mic about taking on all comers and how Lubin was not in his league.

There are those who will be turned off by the Charlo’s “sore winner” antics. I’m not because it’s clear they take the prefight hype personally to fuel their fire inside the ring. You can’t argue with the results — both brothers are knocking out all comers, including wiping out fellow young guns that most observers predicted would give them tough fights (J-Rock, Lubin).

Like it or not, the Charlos are legit and a danger to any fighter competing from 154-160. You’ve been warned.

As for Lubin, this crushing defeat will start raising more questions about how the PBC has moved their prospects. For all his natural talent, Lubin didn’t have any competition to prepare him for a champion like Charlo. Not even a decent gatekeeper on the level of a Gabe Rosado or Vanes Martirosyan. He’s still young and probably more embarrassed than sustaining any significant physical damage, but you never know the psychological effects of that first defeat on a fighter.

 

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There’s a lot to unpack from the just-released official trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

We start with Luke Skywalker beginning his training of Rey and being horrified of the natural ability she possesses. Why? Because it reminds him of the power that was unleashed during the destruction of the last Jedi Academy (committed by Kylo Ren and the First Order). We see images of the temple burning and will likely get flashbacks of the whole incident.

We also see Rey seeming to confront the mysterious General Snoke, and getting the worst of it. Snoke’s voiceover has him marveling over someone’s power, but is it Rey or Kylo’s?

Speaking of Kylo, he has a lot of making up to do after getting bested last movie by a light saber rookie. He looks to be doing that in spades with a space battle sequence that mirrors Luke’s destruction of the first Death Star. However, this time the target appears to be Princess Leia. Will Kylo’s promise to “bury the past” mean killing both his parents?

Finn is well-recovered from his injuries and locked in a duel with General Phasma. This is an intriguing battle for several reasons. One, Finn appears to have progressed from comedic and skittish sidekick to a capable fighter and leader. Second, we get to see how deadly Phasma is in hand to hand combat, which she has to be considering her place in Snoke’s army.

Finally, we have what I believe is misdirection in Kylo appearing to offer his hand to Rey for an alliance. I can’t see them giving that away in a trailer, meaning this is possibly two separate scenes (Kylo in the burning temple and Rey training with Luke or facing Snoke).

All questions get answered on December 15.

[Video] Princess Nokia – “Bart Simpson x Green Line”

Posted: October 9, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News

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A day in the life of Princess Nokia can be quite eventful. She navigates school, love and the streets in her double feature visuals for “Bart Simpson” and “Greenline.” You get a strong feel for the innocence and problems of teen life as the eclectic princess endures being a school social outcast and a young woman experimenting sexually. There’s a nice nod to Larry Clark’s Kids movie with Nokia and her fellow young women discussing their sexual history. The second half of the video takes you back in time via Nokia’s fashion and accessory choices (peep the camera they’re using).

These tracks can be found on Nokia’s 1992 Deluxe reissue.