Concert/Film/TV Reviews

Buried Alive Film Festival 2018, Day 2 Recap: A Silent Film Classic Gets a Modern Update, Hot Box Exploitation and More

More fun on Day 2 of The Buried Alive Film Festival.


Day two of  Buried Alive Film Festival is in the books. Grindhouse themes were prominent this evening thanks to the wild “women in prison” midnight showing of Amazon Hot Box and the long-awaited sequel FP2: Beats of Rage. But if exploitation flicks aren’t your thing, fans were able to have their high-brow tastes met by a special, live-band back screening of the 1920 German expressionist horror silent film The Golem, and a slew of specialized shorts.




Netflix and Chill (Michael Middelkoop, Netherlands)

Thinking with your dick can have dire consequences as the young guy in this film learns. Our first scene has him getting ready for a jerkoff session when he conveniently gets a booty call from a girl.

Most of the movie then takes place on the couch and the two actors do a good job in conveying the awkwardness of teenagers when trying to be seductive. Their advances are clumsy and endearing, with each seemingly hoping the other has the experience to pick up on their hints (arm over the shoulder, legs across the other’s lap etc.)

Turns out, the girl is more than experienced and looking to expand her “snuff film” online subscription. Bad news for the guy, but good news for the horror viewer.



Count Your Curses (Lorene Yavo, Belgium)

This one was difficult to follow as the entire animated film was in French. What I could decipher is that in this society ghosts and ghouls are considered normal and even taken as pets. From there, two roommates look to replace a pet spirit that was killed. In the process, they run into a monstrous, bloodthirsty wolf/tiger spirit.

The animation is vibrant, but the lack of subtitles hurts the film’s impact.



Lucy’s Tale (Chelsea Lupkin, USA)

Lucy’s Tale is really about  Lucy’s “tail.” The poor girl is already a social outcast and getting bullied, and now begins going through the surreal body transformation of growing an actual tail. With this change comes the psychic power to inflict bodily harm on her tormentors with falls, bloody noses and gagging.

What we do see of the “tail” is well-done and this film functions more as a commentary on the fear girls can experience from the sudden body changes of puberty and sexual desire/competition with peers.



Catcalls (Kate Dolan, Ireland)

Based on the location, it appears the issue of catcalling is not just an American problem. In this creative short, a pervert who gets off on flashing unsuspecting women gets his comeuppance after crossing two bloodthirsty shapeshifters.

The monster costume looks great in the brief shots we get and the kill is wholly satisfying considering the victim.



A/S/L (Benjamin Swicker, USA) 

For those unaware, the title is internet slang for “Age/Sex/Location.” You’re immediately reviled when we meet a middle-aged married man who begins flirting online with a girl who identifies herself as 13.  When she sends him a video chat confirming her age, he has no problem coming to her house when she mentions her parents are gone for the weekend.

What’s waiting for him at the house is a clan of demons with razor sharp teeth and claws. I’m sure I don’t have to explain further how things turned out.



Post-Mortem Mary (Joshua Long, Australia)

Taking place in the 1840s, Mary is a young girl learning her ailing mother’s post-mortem photography business. The purpose is to take pictures of the recently deceased in ways that make them look alive so the family members can have a fond picture memory.

In this case, the mother entrusts Mary to do the picture alone, and we start to get implications the deceased (another young girl), might not be completely dead. Long makes excellent use of Mary’s camera lense to show quick, disturbing shots of the dead girl reanimated. Very original premise and something I could see as a feature or full-length book.



Mannequins (David Malcolm, UK)

Ever see a horror film with a cast of mannequin characters and voice-overs? Neither have I. Surprisingly, the director is able to pull this off with good use of lighting in the abandoned hospital setting and utilizing an ending twist I didn’t see coming (the mannequins trap and possess live humans in their time loop).



Harvest (Mohammad Munir Malik, UK)

Three unsuspecting friends (Rob, Max, Tina) become the vessels on malevolent spirits after making a stop near haunted woods. Liked the setup and the Blair Witch inspired forest trinkets. Wished there were more shots of the spirits, especially how they went about capturing Rob and Max (which happened offscreen).



Claw (Christopher Litten, USA)

A Creepypasta-themed short film, Claw follows a sex worker who crosses the line into bestiality with a lobster for a high-paying client. This results in her getting pregnant with a crustacean/human hybrid and you can just imagine the wild scenes that result from that.

The change from color and black to white was an excellent choice in conveying a building sense of dread and also lending some credence to a theory of the latter scenes being some type of drug-induced nightmare. We get a truly horrific scene where the lobster baby makes its presence known during a cunnilingus scene (saying she has a “snapper” is an understatement).  Also, Natalia Selevanova deserves much praise for her work in conveying the sheer terror of the body invasion happening to her.


Body House (Colin S. Wheeler, USA)

This was originally submitted to the Atlanta Center for the Puppetry Arts. It centers on a dollhouse that begins to crumble from the expansion of some malignant force.

That malignant force turns out to be loaves of yeast/bread that this team shot in various states over 2 months. Very abstract and interpretative, but I could appreciate the work that went into it along with the detailed shooting that made the dollhouse seem life-size at times.



[Review] The FP2: Beats of Rage

Seven years after the original, The FP gang is back to settle unfinished business.

For the uninitiated, FP2: Beats of Rage takes place in a dystopian future where JTRO (Jason Trost, also writer and director), the leader of the 248 gang, protects Frazier Park by defeating all comers in Beat-Beat Revolution battles. And no, these aren’t just friendly video game battles — you literally can die from defeat by being electrocuted to death.

In the original, JTRO avenged the death of his older brother. In this sequel, JTRO discovers he has another brother, the murderous AK-47 (Mike O’Gorman), who looks to take over his brother’s turf.

The ridiculous premise aside, a lot of the comedy comes from the campy dialogue between the characters. Here is where JTRO’s best friend KCDC (Art Hsu) shines as his friend’s emotional hypeman. His overuse of the “dawg” and over the top facial expression elicited steady laughter from the audience.

It’s challenging to take a concept like this and push into a full-length movie, but Trost pulls it off by incorporating past characters like JTRO’s dead brother BTRO (Brandon Barrera) and former trainer BLT (Nick Principe). Also, he gets a femme fatale love interest in the sultry CHAI-T (Tallay Wickham) who ends up having the craziest baby bump you’ll ever see.

With JTRO being the stoic type, you needed an over the top villain to play off of. O’Gorman’s zany turn as AK-47 has that covered from his striking painted face to the Alladin-style battle shoes he wears.

Completely funded by Trost and fan support on Indiegogo, FP2 feels less like a movie seeking a new audience and more of one appreciating the cult following that got them back to the big screen. If true, those fans should be wholly satisfied with this sequel.




[Review] Special Screening: The Golem (CarlBoese) with soundtrack by Samadha

Returning again after a well-received screening last year, the psychedelic space jazz band Samadha took the challenge of creating backing arrangements for the 1920 German silent horror film The Golem.

Set in 16th century Prague, the story is about a rabbi who creates a giant creature made of clay called The Golem. The purpose was to protect the community of Jews, but soon the beast gets out of control and forces the rabbi and others to take extreme measures to stop him.

The band’s use of atmospheric samples and electronic keyboarding (Chris Case) combined with the urgent drumming of Greg Perry heightens the dream-like feel of the Expressionist work. And when adding in the modern basslines, the film ends up having a modern, uptempo feel.

Since the work is old enough to be public domain, I’m hoping the band considers filming their next performance or at the very least making their score available on Youtube.

You can catch an encore performance at the festival this Sunday (November 18) at 12pm.

For those interested in the original, see below.



[Review] Amazon Hot Box (James Bickert, Atlanta)

To preview last night’s screening, director James Bickert humorously acknowledged the lack of women’s prison films in recent years. His goal was to make a film the subverted the expectation many of us have for the genre.

Mission accomplished. Amazon Hot Box is definitely a full-on “women in prison” exploitation film, but Bickert gives you a range of characters and subplots that covers zombies, a CIA-backed government coup, and femme fetale secret agents.


With that said, Amazon Hot Box is completely self-aware that offbeat humor aside, hot women are the main appeal with these films. In that regard, we get a buffet from top to bottom. Veteran scream queen and pinup vixen Tristan Risk is our titular abusive inmate Val that hazes newcomers (although some might not view licking her rear end as abuse…). Penny, our doe-eyed, innocent red-head beauty, is played perfectly by Kelsey Carlisle. Samara Scott covers the role of the high-strung covert opps leader. And Ellie Church gives us a new version of Ilsa the She-Wolf with her turn as the sadistic warden Inga Von Krupp (keep an ear out for the humorous accent loss when she raises her voice…).


The rest of the supporting cast of women hold their own. We have two newcomers in beauties Kris Donta (Ebony) and Janine Cygan (Jade) who seek to protect Penny from Val. Ebony is smart-mouthed, street-wise and fearless. Jade is a sex worker with supreme confidence and knows her way around a gun.

Far as the men, Jett Bryant is the show-stealer as a smuggler caught up in intrigue. Although mostly a side character in terms of screen time, his scenes are a great change of comedic pace from the standard exploitation scenes we get in these type of films

For those who need their grindhouse fix of sexual slavery, bondage, sadism and other forms of eroticism, Amazon Hot Box has that spades. But there’s enough straight comedy and nods to other genres to get laughs from some casual viewers.


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