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The Gruesome Twosome - Singa Home Entertainment

Oct. 22nd, 2008 | 03:51 pm
mood: nervousnervous

In 1963 Herschell Gordon Lewis, an underground filmmaker best known for making midnite movie “nudie-cutie” films, changed the face of American cinema forever when he released “Blood Feast.” Blood Feast is still considered the first ever gore film and while low budget was a tremendous success. Drive-ins were booked out with patrons waiting around the block and the critics reached with disgust- the splatter film was born!

Lewis continued with such other cult classics as ‘2000 Maniacs” and “The Wizard of Gore”, both of which have been recently remade. He also made the controversial film “The Gore Gore Girls”, a film which is still banned in Australia and was recently once again refused classification for release.

The Gruesome Twosome is one of the less successful of Lewis’ gore films but still strange and unusual enough to be of interest.

It seems Mrs. Pringle, her mentally defective son Rodney and her stuffed cat Napoleon run a business selling wings out of an old dilapidated house. The problem is that their business is going rather well and they are running out of product. Mrs. Pringle hits on a way to solve her dilemma, since there are lots of university students in the area so she runs an advert for a room to rent. But she does not aim to give her guests accommodation for long.

When they arrive they do not even get time to settle in before they are locked in a room where her disturbed son disposes of them with some brutality using everything he can find including an electric carving knife.

Of course, one too many students go missing and an investigation begins. Kathy works at the local university and is determined to figure out why her classmates are missing, much to boyfriend Dave’s irritation. When her friend Dawn disappears, Kathy gets close to the truth as she begins investigating “The Gruesome Twosome”.

The Gruesome Twosome is an entertaining cult and gore classic which while clearly a product of its time, it was made in 1967, still packs a punch. It has some quite astounding gore “set pieces” and a rather over the top story lines. Yes, the acting is pretty average and the film seems a bit padded here and there – the opening sequence is a tad ridiculous.

However, as a work of horror cult history is well worth seeing.

By Synergy Magazine

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Oct. 17th, 2008 | 12:51 pm
mood: hyperhyper

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Hells Gate. Written and Directed by John Cecil. By Brian Kirst

Oct. 15th, 2008 | 04:30 pm
mood: quixoticquixotic

Not so much a horror film as Quentin Tarantino inspired noir, Hells Gate satisfies with competent performances and some surprise twists.

Down on his luck Kevin (a superior Brian Faherty) is convinced by the slimy coke snorting Ben (an amazing Jeremy Cohen) to assist him in kidnapping the activist daughter of a public figure. Arranged by a slick contact, known only as Mr. Nobody, Kevin and Ben soon find themselves pawns in a dangerous scheme with their lives on the line.

Writer-Director John Cecil provides atmosphere that could work almost as well as a stage play. In fact many of character’s monologues, detailing their experiences degrading women, remind one of the writing of famed playwright/filmmaker Neil LaBute. Sometimes Cecil’s influences do show themselves too brightly, though. For instance, the manic Ben’s attachment to pop singers Jewel and Alanis Morrisette, strays too closely to the Reservoir Dogs’ obsession with Madonna. But those looking mainly for a pleasant viewing experience can possibly overlook such comparisons – particularly as this is essentially a solid and enjoyable feature film.

In fact, viewers in mood to take a break from the horrific antics of Jason and Jigsaw might ultimately find much to enjoy in Cecil’s hardboiled, heart filled world of Hells Gate.

By Brian Kirst, Horror Society

on Singahe.com


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Five Moments of Infidelity - A Film That's Faithful to the Aches of the Human Heart

Oct. 14th, 2008 | 11:25 am
mood: moodymoody

Stories abou­t infidelity come with a certain amount of risk. It’s easy to get caught up in the melodrama of a p­erson cheating on another, to dwell on the sexual and/or emotional betrayal in a way that renders the characters as caricatures drawn in black and white. Hard is resisting the impulse to moralize. Harder is presenting a nuanced psychology. Harder still is examining infidelity as it occurs in multiple sets of interconnected characters.

Yet, writer/director Kate Gorman pulls it off. “Five Moments of Infidelity” is the “Crash” of frail human relationships, although where “Crash” gets it wrong and ends up a blunt, brutish thing that leaves one sullied and bruised, “Five Moments” is perceptive, humane, and fully capable of handling the synchronicity of its ensemble cast. It is remarkably organic, a quality manifested as much in script’s meticulous construction as in the liquid, almost dance-like camerawork that elevates “Five Moments” above similarly-budgeted indie films – although flat, characterless cinematography does the film no favours.

Of course there’s the vanilla straight couple coming to grips with the death of love in their relationship, and the impressionable young woman strummed by a lothario – and stung. But there’s also the gay couple with an open relationship, the family with overworked and sexually stalled parents, and a massively dysfunctional family running on alcohol fumes and despair. For all the universality of most of the scenarios she presents, the one involving the severely dysfunctional family shows that infidelity can often be harder to pin down than expected.

The focus on the rich variety of motivations and vulnerabilities, instead of the coincidental connections between characters, keeps “Five Moments” from self-consciously exposing its structure. And Gorman wisely avoids going for pat answers and white-glove tidiness. As with the situations the various characters find themselves in, convincingly presented by a uniformly superlative cast, the fall-out from those five moment span a spectrum; forgiveness, failure, hope, tragedy, stagnation, renewal. There may not necessarily be great insight, and, inevitably, some of the film’s scenarios hit harder than others, but there is considerable honesty in how it all plays out. The characters, faults and all, are sympathetic in their humanity. To go back to that impulse to moralize; “Five Moments” isn’t interested in preaching about the evils of adultery – nor, conversely, does it glorify a rebellion against social strictures. “Five Moments” is an earnest, lovely film about the human, fracture-prone heart.

Entertainment Value: ** (out of two)
Technical Quality: ** (out of two)

Five Moments of Infidelity.Written and directed by Kate Gorman. 90 minutes. Visit www.echelonstudios.us for distribution and screening information.

By Frederik Sisa, The Front Page Online and Ink & Ashes

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Hell's Gate DVD Review

Oct. 13th, 2008 | 02:51 pm
mood: soresore

This low budget, high quality psychological crime thriller displays a back-to-basics emphasis on engaging storytelling, as opposed to the elaborate special effects hollow shell of most attention deficit disorder blockbuster moviemaking today. First time director John Cecil has crafted a tale of mainly realistically and freshly conceived flawed characters rather than human plot devices, caught up in life circumstances which they are challenged to prevail over and resist in unusual ways.

Kevin Kinney is Brian, an ex-con in deep financial debt to the mob, and in desperate need of raising cash and settling his outstanding bill with them sooner than later, or else. So Brian is easily lured against his better instincts, into a kidnapping scheme involving a young party animal heiress (Chelsea Miller), proposed by his old penitentiary chum, Ben (Jeremy Cohen), a wild card potential madman with misogyny issues.

The convoluted plot mastermind, the weakest link in this mostly compelling story, is Mr. Nobody (Teddy Alexandro-Evans) - though he oddly seems to be the character most likely to be a somebody here - an Afro-Brit, more brains than brawn dandy sorta guy. The mysterious gent mostly stays behind the scenes, except to order around the pair like low IQ pawns. He instructs them to lure the swinger socialist away from a club and sequester her in an abandoned warehouse, while he will pester her millionaire dad for the ransom. The seedy locale is over near the title's metaphorical Hell's Gate in Queens, described as a bend in the surrounding river once treacherous to pirates on the loose long ago.

Despite needlessly drawn out stretches of randomly mixed past, present and future time where the two bicker with the captor and each other - digressions which tends to defuse any accumulating tension - there's a finely honed twist at the end. And which makes the wait worthwhile, despite Mr. Nobody's lack of dramatic credibility through no fault of his own. What Hell's Gate does confirm, is that you don't need flashy production values and raucous violence, to concoct a provocative, gritty gangster thriller.

Echelon Studios
3 stars

By Prairie Miller, News Blaze

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Oct. 10th, 2008 | 03:00 pm
mood: restlessrestless

Reviewed by Jerry Saravia
RATING: Three stars and a half

It is always gratifying to know that all major cities, countries and continents around the world share the same problems with relationships, including the city of Melbourne in Australia. The means by which someone cheats is hinted at in "Five Moments of Infidelity," though the film aims to be more than a parable of infidelity.

In the opening scene, we see Narelle (Sally McDonald) in bed with another man, Billy (Kirk Westwood). Nothing too shocking about that yet our initial impression is that these two are lovebirds, signalling the beginning of a new relationship. We find out that Narelle, a secretary, is indeed in love with the new man in her life, though he
turns out to be a womanizer and "loves" her but is not in love, despite allowing her access to his apartment.

Then there is the gay couple, Danny (Jason Chong) and Mitchel (Joshua Cameron), who love to party and have seemingly agreed to having an "open" relationship. Danny, however, is not keen on it - maybe he loves the idea of pursuing another man but not necessarily to have sex with and destroy what he has (presumably, fidelity also springs from having to live in the same roof).

Jacinta (Holly Sinclair) is the innocent teenager who hates her alcoholic mother (Annie Jones). This conflicted, dysfunctional family unit is something out of an episode of "East Enders," and perhaps the harshest in this string of infidelity episodes. The father (Brett Swain) has the toughest time putting up with a series of shouting matches between mother and daughter so, yes, a psychiatrist is needed
for this family. Paging Dr. Phil!

Hard-working Anthony (Alex Papps) and his long-suffering wife, Vicki (Amanda Douge), have a tougher time making love - he is so stressed and blames work. Vicki has had enough of masturbating in the shower - she pursues a man and actively seeks some human contact. Who can blame her for being simply horny.

Last but not least is the strange dynamic between another hard-working man, Hayden (John Sheedy), and his terminally annoying and annoyed and downright fed-up American girlfriend, Brittney (Charmaine Gorman). She hates when he goes to parties by himself, hates it when he doesn't call or show up at a more convenient time, yet sometimes she doesn't mind and loves him. It is not unreasonable to expect Hayden to seek interests elsewhere since this woman is always having a crying fit and can drive someone quite mad.

First-time writer-director Kate Gorman weaves these infidelity tales with ease. There is almost never a wasted moment - every scene feels true to the characters' dilemnas. Some characters, such as Vicki and Hayden, feel more realistically portrayed than others but generally Gorman does an admirable job of handling this Altmanesque narrative.
In fact, some of the characters' denouements are left open-ended, making one wonder what will happen next in their lives. Though these episodes often smacks of British melodrama, on the order of East Enders, it is at times quite sharply written and directed. And the dysfunctional family unit has its own issues of faith and fidelity to family - it is the most emotionally wrenching tale of them all with the tragic, memorable beauty of the lost soul, Jacinta.

My feeling on "Five Moments of Infidelity" is that it has a groove, and either you are in harmony with it or you are not. The characters have a measure of depth to their personalities and they do grow on you, even the gay couple who are given less screen time than anyone else. Sometimes working hard at your job and bringing flowers for your loved ones or significant others is not enough to repair the emotional work one must put out. "Five Moments of Infidelity" shows how hard it
is have a relationship that works.


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"Hell's Gate' by Darren Provine

Oct. 10th, 2008 | 11:29 am
mood: guiltyguilty

The old "Twilight Zone" series has always been notable to me for two things in particular: giving a real sense of the characters in brief introductions, and often telling a good story with only 3 or 4 speaking parts. I've seen movies which have two hours, and yet I don't feel I know the characters very well. I've seen movies with a dozen major roles and yet only half a story.

So I was very pleased to see "Hell's Gate", which had only four significant speaking roles, and which starts out as one guy's troubles pushing him into doing something bad -- only to turn into a puzzle. Something is obviously not right. But what? And how do they protect themselves from whatever their employer is hiding, without knowing what it is?

The kidnappers have obviously never committed this sort of crime before, which makes sense. But it would also appear that they've not really thought it out very carefully, or ever seen a crime movie once in their entire lives, which makes less sense.

One of the two main criminals seems like a stereotype from a dozen other movies, but the other looks believably like someone who's out of his element. He's not particularly tough, he just did a bad thing and went to jail for it. He survived prison, but doesn't seem to want to be the guy his life as an ex-con calls for. He goes along reluctantly; this is not who he wants to be. He wants to be a nice guy, but he can't. They could have filled that in a bit more, but I saw it just fine the way it was.

The guy who hired them -- and whose name is never revealed -- also seems a bit out of his element. He knows he's smart, because he tells himself that every day, and he tells lies about how tough he is to impress the others, but his planning for the crime is superficial, and his botches betray to his employees that at least some of what he's told them isn't true.

Their realisation that they've been lied to, and ours, is what makes the puzzle. The ending wraps up the details -- though I think Mr Nobody gives up his information too easily, it does finish off the events in this story without telling us what's going to happen next. Though there is one unaddressed point I'll mention in the spoiler section.

The movie is a little slow getting started, and it hops around in time too much for no obvious purpose. But those are quibbles; this was an interesting story with some interesting characters. At the end, I was thinking that it reminded me of a stage play -- which, as it turns out, it originally was.

The movie is not rated. Were it rated, it would almost certainly be "R", for language and violence.

One of the characters has left his fingerprints all over a crime scene, having been in and out for more than a week, and yet leaves without so much as taking anything with him or wiping anything down. Isn't he going to be connected to the crime in relatively short order?
Shouldn't he be worried about that?

By Darren Provine


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‘Hell’s Gate’ is More Like Heck’s Gate

Oct. 9th, 2008 | 05:05 pm
mood: okayokay

The railroad bridge in New York called Hell’s Gate got its name, we’re told, on account of lurking above the shipwrecking intersection of two waterways. It’s an ideal place to dispose of inconvenient corpses – divers never find anything dumped there – and a good title for the familiar morality play of a down-on-his-luck felon forced to make difficult choices in a situation that spirals far outside his control.

Familiarity works against the film despite writer/director John Cecil’s strategy to liven things up: fracturing the chronology of events that make up the story of a kidnapping gone awry. Cecil’s gambit works – in conjunction with his stimulating camera work – to the extent it manufactures a structural kind of suspense. Unfortunately, what you see is what you get, even if it’s out of order, and what you get are familiar crime drama genre tropes – the desperate debt-ridden protagonist, the secret-bearing mastermind, the wild card, the damsel in distress – in a plot that gives a workout to the suspension of disbelief. The lack of genuine surprises, of reevaluated first impressions, even carries on to the final revelation of what’s really going on – a humdrum explanation that could have easily been swapped for another humdrum explanation without performing reconstructive surgery on the rest of the film.

Digging Through the Texti-ness

But “Hell’s Gate” is more of a character study than a potboiler, more interested in picking at the characters than thrilling with the plot. Although there’s a spark, here, too, in setting up moral quandaries and character-extracting drama, the results are mixed — fundamentally interesting, but bogged down in that ol’ devil called the details. Talking Heads Syndrome, in which characters blab, without much subtlety, through the plot rather than actually doing anything – puts a huge and unnecessary burden on dialogue to carry the film. Result: Conversations don’t quite ring true, or even plausible, and the film feels more like a radio play than a movie with a full, rich arsenal of non-verbal cues.

It’s a little frustrating, then, to be teased with genuine drama only to see all that intensity dissipate. When the film finally achieves a good momentum – at the point when the kidnapping inevitably begins to unravel – we get some good-to-terrific performances – particularly by Jeremy Cohen, who terrifies with a near-psychotic detonation. The cast can’t fully overcome the texti-ness of the script, but packs enough of a punch to make a few scenes stand well on their own even when they don’t gel as part of a bigger picture. And so there it is, Heck’s Gate rather than Hell’s Gate.

Entertainment Value: * (out of two)
Technical Quality: * (out of two)

Hell's Gate. Echelon Studios presents a film written and directed by John Cecil. Starring Brian Faherty, Ben Dearborn, Teddy Alexandro-Evans and Chelsea Miller. 84 minutes. Visit www.echelonstudios.us for more information.

By Frederik Sisa, The Front Page Online

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Oct. 9th, 2008 | 11:26 am
mood: calmcalm

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Sep. 30th, 2008 | 10:51 am
mood: intimidatedintimidated

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