Saturday, October 31, 2020

[Frightening Ass Film Fest Review] “Spare Parts” by The Great Muji.

[Frightening Ass Film Fest Review] “Spare Parts” is a punk survival tale that never reaches the heights it aspires to but is still plenty of fun.


By The Great Muji

The Frightening Ass Film Fest has provided me with an opportunity that I haven’t had in a long time, to go into a movie knowing absolutely nothing about it. This takes me back to the glory days of my childhood when I would go to the video store and choose a couple of rentals based simply off the box art. Of course, this would always lead to mixed results. Sometimes I would stumble across something great that would last as a favorite for the rest of my life, but often times it would lead to a disastrous viewing of a terrible film whose box art was a complete misrepresentation of the movie inside. Either way, the process of picking the movie and going in only knowing what the VHS cover told me was always an exhilarating feeling, even when it brought such mixed results. Watching director Andrew Thomas Hunt’s “Spare Parts” gave me a similar feeling, “Spare Parts” is a movie that is sometimes exhilarating but ended up leaving me with very mixed feelings.

“Spare Parts” starts out with a bang. We meet a punk band led by sisters Amy(Michelle Argyris) and Emma(Emily Alatalo). After a dude gets on stage and attempts to interrupt their performance at a bar, the sisters and their bandmates kick the asses of the dude and his friends. Then Amy disappears to hook up with fan as Emma is left to talk to a creep by herself. This early scene does a great job of setting up the dynamic between the sisters. The band then has some car trouble and is tricked by the local police(classic) into being abducted by a crazy cult that lives in an old junkyard. They are all put to sleep and wake up with amputated arms that have been replaced with various weapons. The band is then forced into a makeshift arena to fight for their lives Roman gladiator style against some other abducted people. It’s a really great set up.

Once we settle into the movie is where it becomes a bit uneven. Throughout the movie different cult members attempt to pit the sisters against each other. Its easy to understand that both sisters are jealous of one another for different reasons, but not enough character work happens to really make you care about either. Even in the movies final minutes I really didn’t care who (if anyone) was going to survive. Another issue was the action scenes. Some of them were great! There was a lot of good gore in this movie. There was also some gore that wasn’t so awesome and few brutal kills that were completely cut way from. 

Ultimately the movie falls into a repetitive routine where the girls argue, and train then fight. In between different cult members, led by their leader The Emperor (Julian Richings in a very good, memorable performance), attempt to indoctrinate the sisters with the cult’s ideals. The reasons why the cult members decide to stay loyal after being abducted really don’t add up. This is the part where I believe the movie aspires to have a little more depth than it ultimately does, but that’s ok. 

Despite it’s flaws, “Spare Parts” is still a fun a pretty fun movie overall. Having women with weapons screwed onto their arms and fighting in a gladiator arena can make up for a lot of a movie’s flaws. What the movie does get right makes it worth a watch.


FAFF 2020 Review: "Hail To The Deadites!"

By: The Rev Dan Wilson

Director Steve Villenueve (Under The Scares, Stories Of A Gravedigger, The Mask Of James Henry) is a lifelong Evil Dead fan who was able to take that fandom and give it a thorough examination in the 2020 documentary “Hail To The Deadites” which premiered earlier this year at Fantasia Fest (and that I saw as part of Chattanooga Film Fest's annual Halloween party, Frightening Ass Film Fest. Frightening Ass Film Fest - Get your badge here!)


There have been several great “behind the scenes” pieces released for the various “Evil Dead” installments and subsequent TV series, generally located as part of the special features on your media format of choice. And while there are several great fan communities in the horror world, (ie: Halloween, Nightmare, Friday The 13th, Scream, etc), it is true there is a unique sense of community in the Evil Dead fandom.  This documentary is actually not about the films themselves, but the fandom and culture that surrounds them. 


Any time I wear an Evil Dead shirt or hat and go in public, it is guaranteed to be a conversation starter. Speaking from experience at my former job, pro wrestlers love Evil Dead. (Former UFC and current WWE star Matt Riddle is one of them.) Hell people love Evil Dead. Sometimes people who aren’t even otherwise horror fans. There is just something about it that draws people in. More specifically, people love Ash. He has to be the most popular “good guy” character in horror by a milestone.  He is tough, resourceful, a complete smartass, and he never gives up and can take a legendary ass kicking while talking shit the whole time. Given his importance to the community it was great to see Bruce Campbell heavily involved in this documentary and showing a real genuine appreciation for the fans of Evil Dead. 


We also heard from most of the living cast and crew of both Evil Dead and Evil Dead II in the film, (RIP Danny Hicks, who we lost earlier this year) with the Evil Dead II stars being particularly appreciative of the love the films have garnered over the years. The only noticeable absences were of course Sam Raimi (though his brother Ted certainly had plenty of facetime) and Rob Tapert. 


In this film we meet Deadites of all varieties from all over the place. We met an Ash cosplayer named Adam who really does strongly resemble a young Bruce, a couple who got married at an Evil Dead convention where they got FX maestro Tom Sullivan to help with their proposal, AC and her baby Ash, who was born with a heart defect but refuses to give up (hence the name), and a who’s who of Evil Dead collectors, obsessives and megafans. 


As a nerd for useless junk, I also appreciated the level of detail we got covering the various Evil Dead merch and toys that have been released over the years starting all the way back to the McFarlane Movie Maniacs figures from the 90s. It was a real treat to see some of these collections and I almost feel like there could be an entire documentary just dedicated to that side of Evil Dead fandom. 


Another unique piece of this presentation was that Villenueve elected not to use any footage from the films and instead collected a trove of fan film footage, art, animations and original music for the documentary cut scenes where film footage would normally be found and the results really made the whole thing come together as this ultimate love letter to the Evil Dead fan community. 


I assume this was shot a few years ago, as the only real bummer about the whole thing is that at the end of the documentary they’re all talking about Ash vs Evil Dead as if it was the finish line for the story of Ash and we know of course that it got cut short when the show was cancelled by Starz prior to the 4th and final season, and then Bruce Campbell announced his subsequent retirement from the Ash character. We have gotten a bit of good news on that front recently though as rumblings of “EVIL DEAD RISE”, a new sequel created by the original team, is on the slate soon and we’re told it will be “Evil Dead comes to the city.” Campbell has denied any sort of return of Ash, though is actively involved on the project as as a producer and it is rumored the film will have a female lead. Plenty of plot threads were certainly left open between the Evil Dead “remake/requel” from 2013 and the Ash vs Evil Dead TV series. There was Mia, there was Kelly and there was Ash’s daughter. Our new heroine could also just be a brand new character and of course we all hope that Bruce is bluffing and that Ash will return at least one final time to officially pass the torch. But...that’s just the Evil Dead fan in me rambling at this point. I could talk about my love of this franchise for hours, therefore this documentary hit all of the sweet spots for me. 


Hail to the Deadites, Baby! 

Monday, October 26, 2020

SHV - S08E07 - The Simpsons: Treehouse Of Horror VII (1996)

 On this week we bring you our final Treehouse Commentary before Halloween 2020, but not the final episode of the season! (These continue into November with 10 episodes total, which isn't unfamiliar to Simpsons fans due to baseball pre-emptions of the actual special.) This one is a doozie and may be Anni's favorite Treehouse episode including the segments "The Thing & I", "The Genesis Tub" and the all too timely "Citizen Kang". 

Available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio & other major podcast providers. 


Sunday, October 18, 2020

SHV - S08E06 - The Simpsons: Treehouse Of Horror VI (1995)

We're back for part 6 of our Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror Commentary Season as part of the Seeking Human Victims Halloween 2020 celebration. This episode includes the kaiju inspired demolition derby "Attack Of The 50 Foot Eyesores" , the surprisingly faithful Wes Craven adaptation "Nightmare On Evergreen Terrace" , and the at the time groundbreaking Homer3. Plus The Great Muji shares his top 5 Halloween movies that get him in the mood for the season. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

SHV - S08E05 - The Simpsons: Treehouse Of Horror V

 The SHV crew has returned for yet another Simpsons "Treehouse Of Commentary" as we celebrate Halloween Simpsons Style with Treehouse Of Horror 5! This episode was called by creator David Mirkin "the most distrubing Halloween special ever made" which was in direct backlash to Congress taking the show to task for the violence in the previous season's episode. It also contains another full movie parody in another one of the show's "shining" moments with "The Shinning", plus the incredible segments Time & Punishment, and Nightmare Cafeteria. 

Available on all major podcast providers! http://linktr.ee/OGScare

Sunday, October 4, 2020

SHV - S08E04 - The Simpsons: Treehouse Of Horror IV

 The hits keep on coming with another Simpsons: Treehouse Of Commentary, this time looking at the 4th "Simpsons Halloween Special", also arguably one of the best ones ever made as it includes "The Devil & Homer Simpson", "Terror At 5 & 1/2 Feet" and "Bart Simpson's Dracula". We'll look at what Merry Melodies cartoon inspired the "Homer in Hell" scene and how it was Matt Groening's favorite piece of animation, what Disney villain made a brief appearance, and ask the burning question...who the hell is James Coco? That's just in the first segment! Plus special musical guest, former With Faith Or Flames guitarist Eric Weatherford's brand new Synth-wave project SHREDDERFORD helps us get spooky with the Halloween jam "Ghoul School". Check him out at https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/shredderford/ghoul-school


 Subscribe to Seeking Human Victims today!!


SHV - S09E03 - Hellraiser (1987)

By far the most anticipated episode of Season 9 has arrived, and it is time to open the lament configuration as Seeking Human Victims puts H...