Troll 2 (1990) Much has been said about this poorly acted, poorly written non-sequel. Happily, there’s just never enough to say because there are so many standout moments. From the goofy troll heads that look nothing like the creatures at the left to whenever grandpa Seth’s apparition appears, Troll 2 is a curiosity from start to finish. As a result, this genuinely naive effort earns its recognition as one of the best worst movies in history.
What would have drastically improved Troll 2 is if the creatures–who live in the town of Nilbog which is Goblin backwards–were shown transforming from human and back again. Half the time they are shown as human but usually when doing their “bidding” or eating they are trolls or goblins or whatever. At least Troll 2 could afford to include a girl melting into green goo which is then eaten by the…troblins? golls? See, they make the humans eat green hamburgers or funky cakes with green frosting. This changes the victim into a green vegetable mass which the trobs can now eat. This is because the environmentally conscious troblins are VEGETARIANS. [rating: $9] –Kenyon
Scalps(1983) Despite the shoddy editing, novice acting and the murky video, Scalps actually has a few things going for it. Mainly it’s the eerie music/score. Somewhere in the California desert, spirits of Native Americans haunt an area that’s targeted by a group of young archeologists. You know they haunt the place because we see a zombie-like Indian face flash sporadically. After the spirit possesses one of them, it’s bye bye archeologye. The possessed starts acting strange, but his friends don’t realize his obvious behavior change before it’s too late. You want to know what happened when his friends didn’t recognize the symptoms? They were SCALPED. [rating: $4]
Humongous (1982) Primitive maniac kills a bunch of people who are stranded on a backwoods island. Comparisions to Friday the 13th part 2 surface, but even in part 2 we saw Jason’s face at the end. Humongous never bothers and even if it did (other then when he was already burnt to a crisp), the gloomy picture quality wouldn’t allow for much. [rating: $3] –Kenyon
Campy, fun gore via giant mosquitos. Cast includes Gunnar Hansen (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) who pays homage to himself by picking up a chainsaw. Fun times, unless you have a serious phobia of mosquitos. [rating: $6] Going by this still from the movie, and judging by the shadows and the speed of the car, that mosquito is roughly five feet across. FIVE FEET! –Kenyon
Open Water 2: Adrift (2006) The original Open Water had no cause for a sequel, even one that gets no theatrical release. Of course, Adrift isn’t a sequel at all, but it’s more closely related to its predecessor than Halloween 3 is to Halloween 2. Obviously there was something to cash in on, given the moderate sucess of Open Water, which was a minimal story of a couple stranded in the sea after they were dumb enough to get left behind by a tourist boat. That couple is actually now looking like mathematicians compared to the six morons in this “based on true events” drama in the ocean, where the interest depends on how resourceful they can be to survive. There are damn good reasons to call them morons. And i’m not talking about any horror movie cliche like, “you stay here, i’ll check out that strange sound alone.” This is more like, “we are going on a yacht in the open sea, i have an issue with drowning, and i’m bringing our infant.” i can’t say i felt sorry for the mother when the “captain” of the yacht jumps in the ocean with her while forgetting to lower the ladder. Now, they and four friends are up shit’s creek bigtime. At first they worry about sharks and someone thinks they felt something tugging on them. Strangely enough, trouble with marine life never progresses. At the climax–while the baby is still “onboard”–the jerk that didn’t lower a ladder attempts something physically impossible: swimming down into the dark water looking for a knife they lost in the water. At nite, during a storm. There’s one more absolutely retarded action at the very end, taken on by the mother of the baby. Let’s just say that being adrift too long causes delirium. [rating: $2] –Kenyon
Interview with director Edward Payson. by Kenyon Hopkin.
Following his award-winning music documentary Unsigned (2011), director Edward Payson’s latest film The Cohasset Snuff Film is a “found footage” story regarding a teenager who murdered three classmates in a quiet town. The title alone suggests something shocking, as Payson strives to show the dark side of life. He has already accomplished this with works such as the gory-dramedy The Itch. On the horizon is the action-comic revenge film Fury: The Tales of Ronan Pierce, co-directed with Kevin McCarthy and featuring Kane Hodder, known for his role as Jason Vorhees. Payson, a native of New Hampshire, discusses his work, Hodder and why he chooses his own film content to be free of boundaries.
=============================== MLFD: Are you psyched to be working with Kane Hodder? How’d that happen? Payson: Working with Kane on Fury was great. This is a person I had looked up to for a very long time. It was very surreal. A year ago I was having Kane sign my Jason Goes to Hell poster and this year I was able to have him act in our film. It was an incredible feeling. He was a true professional, easy going and had a great sense of humor.
Are some people automatically ignoring The Cohasset Snuff Film because they are afraid of the word “snuff”? Judging by the trailer and what I’ve read, is it more on the sensitive and serious side? We really haven’t begun the actual marketing on The Cohasset Snuff Film but I think so far people are generally excited. There are fake downloads for the film on Youtube already that random people posted. We are being called by Cohasset officials talking about how people are in a panic in the small town. I don’t really think the word “snuff” caused us a problem. I think the true horror fans are who we are going for with this and a simple word won’t keep them away unless that word is “Twilight.”
“I love the Evil Dead. Do I want a remake, NO”
What did you think of the original snuff film from the 1970s? I love 70’s snuff movies. I don’t think the original Snuff film was that great. Some films I look at from that era that really were perceived as “snuff” were Cannibal Holocaust and Faces of Death. These films changed the game. They made people sick. People didn’t know how to deal with what they were seeing. It was pure shock factor. This is what I am going for.
Your favorite/most influential horror films ever? I have a rather long list of favorite or influential horror films but I will keep it to a few. I really the work of George Romero. The Dead Series is my favorite classic trilogy. I remember sitting in my dad’s basement workshop watching Night of the Living Dead on a small 2″ by 5″ black and white television with my brother at 10 years old. My father was a huge horror fan and really introduced me to the genre. I was seeing R-rated horror films in theaters more than I would see Disney Films. As far as modern horror films with the exception of “The Splat Pack” namely Eli Roth, Adam Green, James Wan and Rob Zombie, I really haven’t been into mainstream horror of the last 10 years besides films coming from Korea. I Saw the Devil was one of the best films I have ever seen. It was masterful in story, acting and execution. These amazing films are coming from Korea and all we get in America are horrible remakes.
What do you think about the Evil Dead getting remade? I love the Evil Dead. Do I want a remake, NO. I think it all has to do with money. These movies are not made to be good. They are made to bank off the name recognition from the first film. I am totally against remakes and re-imagining classic films. It is getting out of control. Soon I think every ten years a film will get rebooted if it makes money. It is sad original ideas are looked down upon and go unmade.
“I don’t cut away when I think the audience will be squeamish”
What are the projected dates for your two upcoming films? As of now we are releasing The Cohasset Snuff Film on Halloween 2012 and Fury we don’t have a specific release date because the film is still in post [production] and we have animation and effects which are going to take a very long time, but you will see it in 2013.
Is this your full time job? Are you able to make a living off this? What else do you spend time on? Right now this is all I do. I had a full time job before editing and making how-to videos. Unfortunately the company downsized and I ended up getting laid off. Now I am just like any other independent artist trying to get by on side gigs and small videos here and there between features.
What’s it like in Los Angeles, as far as the indie horror film industry goes? Los Angeles is the place to be for Independent Film. Places like Cinefamily in Hollywood will show independent films all the time, sometimes for free. There are always special screenings in and around L.A. and plenty of people to talk film with. I love it.
As a director, what makes your vision unique? I believe in not compromising your vision no matter what. Most of my films are not just about the characters. They are also about the cruel world in which they live. I want people to experience the ugliness in the world so I don’t cut away when I think the audience will be squeamish. I let them experience every agonizing second. The world is not pretty and that is the picture I like to paint.