Chas. Balun (1948-2009)

Sad news via Fangoria.com

FANGORIA is heartbroken to report that former Fango/GOREZONE contributor Charlie (Chas.) Balun died on Friday, December 18, after a prolonged and courageous battle with cancer. He was 61. Beginning with his first self-published book, 1983’s THE CONNOISSEUR’S GUIDE TO THE CONTEMPORARY HORROR FILM, Balun was instrumental in popularizing splatter films (especially Italian gore flicks) and independent horror cinema to millions of budding horror fans during the 1980s and ’90s. He became a FANGORIA writer in 1987 with issue #62 (“Jason: The Sultan of Slaughter”) and was one of GOREZONE’s original columnists, penning Piece o’ Mind from 1988 to 1991.

Netflix Insto-View: Surveillance

Note: I’ve noticed that Netflix has a really shitty way of showing new movies that pop up on their instant viewing service. So I’ve decided to do a new segment that will spotlight and bring awareness to the horror movies that I find. People love this Netflix service so there’s no reason people shouldn’t know about cool films that are featured on it.

As we were running through some Top 10 lists from various websites on the latest Splattercast, one movie that popped up on a few was Surveillance, the new film by Jennifer Lynch. I just happened to notice that it is available on Netflix Instant and I checked it out last night.

I really liked it. The story centers around a couple of FBI agents that come to a small town to figure out the mystery of a bunch of deaths on a local highway. The movie interweaves stories from three different characters (a little girl, a drug addict, and a local police officer) as they replay the events that led up to some brutal murders. Bill Pullman plays this really out there authority figure. It’s a kooky performance but a memorable one. The movie is very Lynchian (as you’d expect) with weird characters that perform strange actions. The casting adds to the weird surreal quality of the film (Cheri Oteri and French Stewart?!). I was fully engaged in the weird shit this movie was throwing at me and really loved the bizarre freakshow of an ending. It’s like Jennifer Lynch took her daddy’s weirdness and streamlined it into an actual story that you could follow (well, fairly well, anyway). Good stuff all around and if I had seen it before yesterday, it definitely would have made my top 10 list.

Check it out on Netflix Instant today.

The Official Splattercast snippets archive

I have bravely/regrettably/stupidly volunteered to do the audio legwork, following this suggestion:

I recently watched High Plains Drifter (and loved it btw) on a Splattercast recommendation from the Horror Westerns episode. As it’s been over a year since I heard the show, I want to revisit it to listen to your review having actually seen the movie now. But I don’t necessarily want to listen to the whole episode.

So it’d be good to have maybe an alphabetised archive of clips that relate to reviews of specific movies. Doesn’t have to be every movie you’ve ever reviewed, could start with requests like this, or you could do your favourites.

So if there are any favourite reviews from the last 3+ years you’d like me to fish out, please reply to my forum thread, or PM me on the forum, and I’ll see what I can do. It would be preferable if you could let me know which episode the review is from! But I can do some detective work if you can’t remember. And let me know if you can think of a better title!

Here goes nothin’

Zombie Girl

Below is a link to an interview with Aaron Marshall, co-director of Zombie Girl, a documentary about a 12-year-old girl who makes a feature length zombie movie. I can’t wait to see both the documentary and the girl’s movie itself.

You may have heard of the documentary Zombie Girl. It’s the Austin-based film about a 13 year old girl who set out to make not only a full-length feature film, but a zombie movie she wrote called, Pathogen. It’s gaining notoriety in the public eye after winning a handful of awards and making a memorable appearance at Comic-Con this July. (The Zombie Girl screening was completely full.)

The plot may sound quirky, but Zombie Girl has more to offer than an interesting premise. Sure it’s fascinating that this young teenage girl made a horror movie. But after that initial impression fades and you are drawn into the world of Emily and her parents, a sense of awe develops for their real world approach to an almost impossible task. Someone who knew nothing technical about filmmaking got the job done, despite the multiple roadblocks that developed. Out of all the people in the world that want to make films, thirteen-year-old Emily Hagins made one. Thirteen. Was it innocence or bravery that lead her to undertake such a daunting task, and what can we take away from the viewing experience?

Read the full article HERE or find more info HERE

The Best Horror Films of 2009 (MaT’s picks)

2009 was a pretty ho-hum year for the horror genre, in my opinion. A couple really good things stood out in a sea of mediocrity. Not that mediocrity can’t be entertaining (listen to the Splattercast on a weekly basis and you’ll learn that quickly). To be fair, I still haven’t seen everything I want to, so this Top 10 list isn’t really a definitive “best of” so much as it is a list of the films I enjoyed the most of those that I’ve seen. “Definitive” lists of films are best done a few years after the fact, once time, thought, and perspective have set in. It’s quite possible that in a few years I’ll forget some, if not most, of the films on this list and once I’ve actually seen a good 5-10 other well received flicks that I haven’t gotten around to yet, this might not even accurately reflect how I feel about this year’s genre offerings. Nevertheless, people love lists, so here’s mine in all of its glory. Only a few of these movies I’d watch again, but isn’t there an unwritten rule somewhere that you have to have a “top 10”?

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