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Movie Review: Agramon’s Gate (2019)



Richie (Kris Reilly) and Cassidy’s (Kaiti Wallen) are having a lil’ shindig, and they’ve had the seemingly shit-hot idea of hiring a psychic named Vesna (Aphrodite Nikolovski) to tickle the ol’ preternatural pickle and hopefully conjure up some grins.

Well ol’ V-dawg suggests the group have themselves a lil’ seance action, which leaves Rich a tad lukewarm, seeing as how he’s a skeptical bastard at heart. Well, as fate, and horror movie goings-on would have it, his instincts are right, as during that spirit chat sesh, some eerie entity or another decides our world is looks waaay better than nay demonic digs it now inhabits and decides to cross the veil right quick… and bad news, said presence may actually be the spirit of richie’s long-dead Pappy, which would really place the terror turd well and truly in the ol’ punch bowl!

Now just why wouldn’t that be a welcome family reunion, well… said father, Carter (Yan Birch fromThe People Under The Stairs) by name, was a bit of an asshole in the world of the living, and tried to kill his wife before being offed by junior.

Soon the putrid presence begins a stalk n’ slay affair with the party guests, and it’s up to Rich, Vesna, and a demon hunter named Zeb (Harley Wallen) to try and put the kibosh on the evil shennanigans hopefully before the jalapeno poppers and frozen crab rangoons come out of the oven!

Now as you can surmise, Agramon’s Gate plays with some tried and true tropes of our beloved horror biz, and I’m happy to report, it does this well. You get seances, demons, dark family secrets… all paraded out to great effect by a cast that is well and truly up to the task of carrying us through this joltin’ journey.

Also of note are some moments of grizzly gore, in particular a sinister sequence involving a heart getting torn out that is aces, as well as some fun world building and mythology that makes the narrative seemingly that more expansive.

On the downside, the ending of this picture is mega-abrupt, and seems to function as a set-up to a sequel we may never get. This feels a tad like a cheat after following the story for two hours, and I wonder just what the filmmakers were thinking with that one boils n’ ghouls.

That being said, Agramon’s Gate is a solid supernatural romp with a few twists and turns along the way, and I’d tell ya to give it a wicked whirl!

by DanXIII on July 30, 2019 on Horror Fuel



Realtor Terror

Review by Bob Greene

Horror House is another in a new line of buy this house at your own risk [what can be called] Real estate Horror Films. The movie is worth the price of admission just for Lloyd Kaufman as the real estate agent telling you of the reasons (multiple terror tales) why you should (or should not) buy this house. Funny, ethnic, total non-horror host-like, Kaufman’s flip one-liners and slapstick countenance make you laugh until you realize its a horror movie and then they make you more scared that if he played it straight.

The tales of terror he shares are
Never Let Go – a psychological tackle of twins … at least we think so … one who passed away … at least we think so … and their pregnant mother … at least we … well… you get the point;
Be Careful What You Wish For, a predicable black magic romp that is alluring thanks to clever cinematography and classic style acting;
Lifelike, an imaginative tale involving demon dolls;
and the star piece, Hot Stuff. This Tales from the Crypt style tale is both funny and frightening with a moral that – OK – is predicable but oh, so, enjoyable.
And ending the quad of O’Henry or more likely Serling-esque tomes, is a well-made parable called the Leapling involving a demonic book and the demon that lives in it.

Horror anthologies are an enjoyable feast to the aficionado as they give you an a smorgasbord of terror tales. If you don’t like one, there are plenty more to excite you. Happily Horror House’s entries are all clever, well-made and acted, and supply a pungent twist.

Bob Greene, a former writer at Newsday, retired to a life of reviewing Off & Off-Off Broadway, but until they return he is feeding a secret passion for genre films.

Does Whatever a Spider Can

Review by Jay Michaels

Spider Baby shouldn’t be good. It’s filmed like a early TV series in bland-style clack and white; the script is weird and sometimes makes no sense; the special effects are like you might find in a college thesis project – a bad one; and the best parts of it are overtly predictable.

So why is it a classic?

First, Lon Chaney Jr.

One of his final roles, Mr. Chaney plays the caretaker to a family that is comically murderous. In another actor’s hands, this role would have little impact, but watching Chaney – even at this latter time in his career – is like a master class of macabre characterization. Smiling but eyes darting with distrust or disbelief; man-with-the-plan calm marinated in what-if anxiety, Chaney commands every scene he inhabits. Beverly Washburn and Jill Banner play two psychotic girls under Chaney’s care. Somehow, the young actresses innately knew how in fuse humor with an almost overwhelming creep-factor with a bit of sexuality to make improbably murderous children into enjoyable characters. Their brother, an animalistic creature, could – again – be invisible like the appearance of two more monsters at the end of the film – but in the hands of the underappreciated actor Sid Haig, we can’t help but follow this dialogue-less character throughout the film. Haig didn’t get the recognition he richly deserved until toward the end of this life, but if you watch this film with a knowing eye you understand the brilliance.

The supporting characters – members of the “family” come to steal the inheritance  (there’s always an inheritance when you have a creepy mansion) are terrible. Overplayed, overdressed, overdone. BUT … taking their over-the-top portrayals as a form of parable, then you are forced to ask “who really are the murders” the savage children and Chaney or the greedy disinterested-till-$$ relatives. One might pen an entire report about how insanity when in the accepted majority is consider accepted and even popular and the ostracized normal can easily be altered by scorn, derision, and general polarization.

Spider Baby bears all the earmarks of a laughable monster film done on the cheap, but when you dig just a bit under the surface you see a deep character study and the forerunner of countless classic genre films especially Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Something Wicked This Way Filmed

Review by Bob Greene

Shakespeare has been modernized time and time again. The trick is to find a place where the Bard’s tales can fit. Edward Gusts found just the place for the savage Macbeth – where savagery is still allowed. That’s right, the boardroom. STAINED takes us into the offices of John Macbeth.

Simple and realistic, STAINED tells the story of underappreciated executive John Macbeth and his wife, Jane, who hides the actual extent to which she is grieving over the loss of her child. The first fright is how easily the Sahkespeaqren tale of the soldier who gets help from hell to be king can fit in the modern corporate american world. The next is how logical writer Gusts and director Joston Theney translate demon-driven cravings into business ambition. The rest belongs to clever performances.

Writer Gusts takes on the lead role as a brilliant but timid businessman pushed aside for promotion after promotion only to [accidentally?] terminate his boss, Greg Duncan, played with ultra-vigor by director Theney. Their eventual powerful and truly frightening confrontation almost comes out of nowhere but leads to a series of events that are as unnerviong as they are realistic.

Interesting touches like instead of killing MacDuff’s child, the Macbeths take him for their own and lady Jane M’s madness seems to be a bi-polar condition thats ends her into fits of murder and erotism. Gaunbt and bug-eyed, fellow writer, Ariel Braxhefield, plays the Mrs. with so much realistic agony that one might feel sorry for her – even when a killing spree (usually leading to sex) gets the better of her.

While one might smirk and see this as a “family affair” with the writers and directors handling the leads, one cannot help but feel how this internal touch allows the plot and characters to be crystal clear and the deep understanding of the source material was – like any board mkeeting discussion – a majority vote.

Keeping the original names of the characters (Mr & Mrs. Macbeth; boss Duncan; Detective MacDuff; business colleague Maggie Banquo; and that lovely couple, the Seytons) allows Sahskepare aficionados to chuckle lightly and get into the piece quickly while those unaware just think the script writers were imaginative.

If you’re looking for a good slasher film, go watch one of the Friday, the 13ths. If you’re looking for a psychological thriller that goes the extra mile, get STAINED.

Bob Greene, a former writer at Newsday, retired to a life of reviewing Off & Off-Off Broadway, but until they return he is feeding a secret passion for genre films.

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Joel Eisenberg & Lorie Girsh: Filming after the Apocalypse

Power couple, Joel Eisenberg & Lorie Girsh present great films and TV. Some recent successes remember the past (Then Again, Terror Talk). They cited examples of how we coped in the past that might help us in the future. Even looking to make-up with our BIG BROTHER.

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