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The Inherited 2009 Review

The Inherited 2009

Directed by: Patrick C. Clinton

Starring: Khory Pilley, Tyler Cross, Natalie Sieber

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Review by Luis Joaquín González

There are a number of stalk and slash sites on the web and the way I try to make a SLASH above stand out is by tracking down those complete obscurities that for whatever reason you may not have yet seen. 45456576879875434566With a track record that includes Cards of Death, Hard Rock Nightmare, Heavy Metal Massacre, Sawblade and Early Frost, you might well say that I’ve aced the target I set out to achieve. Well here we have one that tops all of them.434545657687879877676

Type ‘The Inherited slasher’ in Google and you’ll find absolutely nada. Much like 1987’s Legend of Moated Manor, this one has totally and completely disappeared. It does have a listing on the IMDB, but it’s got zero user reviews and only one critic rating from when it screened at a festival. I have no information as to its production notes and it was sent to me anonymously. The plot thickens….

A young man inherits a fortune from a relative that he never knew he had. Clearly surprised by his luck, he heads off to stay at the house he was given with a group of his closest friends. As soon as he arrives, he begins to feel uneasy on the premises and a hooded killer turns up and begins slicing his way 45768788644356787through the guests one by one…

We are back in the Bloodstream realms of having no idea why this entry remains shelved. That’s not to say that it’s an amazing piece of filmmaking, but when you think that something as ‘awkward’ as Carnage Road got a global release, you only have to wonder what went on behind the scenes to stop this one from being picked up. At just under two hours, The Inherited comes dangerously close to being a marathon instead of the usual brisk sprint that works fine for slasher movies. What impressed me most though was that there were very few times when the runtime became tedious or unwelcome with its storytelling. This is mainly due to some well-developed characters that all face personal issues that manage to keep interest levels raised when nothing else is happening. Although a few more killings wouldn’t have gone a miss, the mystery does manage to keep the momentum moving in the right direction and there’s a neat tone of 324345676788765impending doom that remains consistent.

It also helps that director Patrick Clinton pulls out all the stops to inject pizazz into the visuals. He shoots with an abundance of rapid cuts and inventive camera angles that are energetic to watch. Most of the action takes place in tight locations, but Clinton manages to film them with a perception of expansiveness. During the first thirty minutes or so, I was unsure what type of film I was watching, because it opens with a traditional slasher sequence but then throws some haunted house clichés in the mix. These are all superbly staged and include some striking Evil Dead-alike POV shots and a superb use of a creepy phantom clown. We later learn that these additions are only added as unsettling flair and the story soon finds its footing as a typical slasher/whodunit. More importantly, it’s one with a twist that’s unpredictable 454576786557678and actually quite shocking.

A clearly talented filmmaker, Clinton seems to be especially unfortunate with his output. Both this and his debut, Last Getaway (2007), remain unreleased, despite being surrounded by good word of mouth throughout post-production. I guess his style could be described as being similar to that of Tyler Tharpe from Freak fame, which is another title that I thoroughly enjoyed. He certainly invests in the depth of his players, but I felt that the kill scenes were too diluted to really make an impact. This was crying out for some gore to really become a missing gem, but instead it relies on plot delivery and a terrific score to generate the tension. This was a deliberate ploy from Clinton because he wanted to attempt the less is more approach that 456576768775456787John Carpenter delivered so purely. I totally agree with the idea of that philosophy, but perhaps because of the film’s budget look, I felt that it really needed an injection of goo to complete the exploitation package. 

The Inherited is a sharp blend of horror trademarks that plays like a mix of The Boogeyman and The Ghastly Ones. It’s a good movie that probably would have been well received by fans if given the chance. The fact it has disappeared is totally bemusing and it’s a shame that it remains elusive. After six-years of no news though, it’s unlikely to surface anytime soon. Whilst it may not boast extremely strong performances from the entire cast and the lack of gore is clearly quite disappointing, it does keep you interested and remains rather unique.

I only hope that one day you can check it out for yourself…

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√√

Gore √√√

Final Girl:√

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo-211

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The Pickaxe Murders III: The Final Chapter 2015 Review

The PickAxe Murders Part III: The Final Chapter 2015

aka Pickaxe

Directed by: Jeremy Sumrall

Starring: Nick W. Nicholson, Tiffany Shepis, A. Michael Baldwin

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Review by Luis Joaquín González

In the slasher cycle, it’s fair to say that a genre parody has become such a cliche that the next step 45656576878787767676would be for someone to make a parody of slasher parodies. For a style of film that’s not bustling with unique character traits, we certainly ran out of the need for satire long before filmmakers realised that was the case. Credit is due to director Jeremy Sumrall though, because he has found a novel way of poking his tongue at the genre that he’s obviously a big fan of.45456576878798989898

Franchises were as large a part of the early slasher phase as were masked killers and after the consistent success of the Friday the 13th continuations, every new movie was produced with the intention of starting a series. In most cases, the quality of films deteriorated on a chapter by chapter basis and that’s the genius behind the gimmick of The Pickaxe Murders III: The Final Chapter. Sumrall has introduced us to his boogeyman immediately from the third instalment and as we all know so well in horror legacies, part tres is generally the cheesiest. It’s one of those ideas that’s so good that I wished I’d thought of it myself and so I was indeed hopeful that the film would live up to its creative concept.

It opens with a text introduction that describes two previous massacres that were the work of a maniac that may well be the son of Satan and goes by the name of Alex Black. He was presumed dead, but 65w76272872982092090922two hikers discover an amulet that possesses a mystic power to bring him back from beyond. Before long, he’s up to his old tricks again and the residents of a small rural town have to fight to survive his Satanic wraith.

Jeremy Sumrall’s début film, Posum Walk remains unreleased and I’m the first to hope that his feature-length follow up doesn’t suffer the same unfortunate fate. The Pickaxe Murders is a bloody ride of no nonsense thrills that packs one hell of an exploitation punch. We don’t wait around long for our first slaughter and the victims carry on dropping at an impressive rate throughout. Alex Black looks tremendous in a guise that brings to mind the greatest backwoods burlap-sack sporting villains and he stalks and slashes with a similar imposing threat to Jason Voorhees’ finest moments. Whilst we can see that the production team were operating on a meagre budget, they hide the lack of funding expertly, and there are some impressive gore effects amongst the murders. A pickaxe is a superb tool for gooey mayhem, 4556576878798767676but Black also utilises his strength to crush throats, squeeze heads and rip off limbs.

The story takes place in 1988 and there’s a lot of effort put into visually bringing that era to life for us. Our main characters of the story are heading to a hair-metal concert and the director actually takes us inside the venue to witness the band in action. We don’t only get two rock groups that dress and act in a style that’s perfectly retro, but there’s also an audacious massacre sequence that is both hilarious and gruesome in equal measure. We’ve been transported to the eighties many times before of course, but Pickaxe actually ‘feels’ authentic. Sumrall is a director that pays the closest attention to detail and because of that, he has a huge career ahead of him. There are many occasions when we head into a deep dark forest setting and everything is so finely lighted and so 6526527628721981981091purely shot that I had to remind myself that this was only his second full film… and the first to be released (hope hope)

There’s an old saying where I come from in Andalucía that translates to something like, ‘an excellent artist can never overcome the canvass he paints upon’. Pickaxe Murders reminded me of that proverb, because I often felt that director Sumrall was by far the most talented person in this crew and the rest of them somewhat let him down. Watching the dialogue scenes and the actions of his characters made me visualise his standing there and showing them how they should perform. What he couldn’t do though is improve the levels of their dramatic ability and the net result is like Fernando Alonso giving his all in a Robin Reliant instead of the Mcclaren F1 that he deserves. I could mention the lack of an alluring central character or that the plot sometimes seems as if it loses track of where it’s supposed to go next, but all those minor moments where I was feeling critical are made up for by that amazing rock sequence and an overall tone of fun. Sorry to utilise a platitude, but this is most definitely a film made by a fan for fans. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but overall it works and that’s what matters most. Also, whilst I can’t be sure if it was intentional, I am thirty-four-year’s old and the fact that I look younger than these, ahem, ‘Hi-School kids’ was a real ego-booster. Well, one 6565768776656565of them was clearly getting silver fox sideburns, so was that part of the humour? During the eighties, the ‘teens’ in these movies were notorious for being closer to the big four-zero than their supposed age…?

The pre-screener I watched to write this review was only 80% finished and Sumrall told me that there’s still a bit that needs to be done before release. Still, I think The Pickaxe Murders III is a slick genre entry with lashings of potential and it will satisfy slasher hounds immensely. From a personal perspective, I thought there was a tad too much nudity (regular readers will know I’m surprisingly prude… unless it comes to undeniably HOT Chicas, which these aren’t)) but that’s part of the exploitation package and I accept that. We can only hope that Pickaxe gets the release and success it deserves, because I’m eagerly awaiting the prequels 🙂

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√√

Gore √√√

Final Girl:√

RATING:a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11a-slash-above-logo11

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Sawblade 2010 Review

Sawblade 2010

Directed by: Dennis Devine

Starring: Reggie Bannister, Mark Alan, Jed Rowen

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

Well dear readers, here I have a bit of an exclusive for you. Sawblade has yet to secure a release globally and seeing as it was completed in 2010, chances are now that it never will be sitting on your shelf on any purchasable format.

Another of the many David Sterling productions, it was directed by Dennis Devine. Now if you know your slasher movies, then that name should ring a bell. He was involved with the development of titles such as Fatal Images, Dead Girls, Club Dead and Bloodstream on the decent indie label Cinematrix along with Steve Jarvis and Mike Bowler. ‘Matrix is no longer releasing flicks, so in order to carry on working, Devine has linked up with Sterling and kept busy ever since. Something of a slasher movie heavyweight, he has been on the crew or in the chair on eight or so genre pieces. His career has been varied in terms of output quality. In 2007, his psychological thriller, Caregiver was one of the best B-movies of that year and the light hearted Dewitt and Maria from 2010 displayed a previously unseen ability for creating warmth and positivity in a screenplay. Whatever your opinion on his filmography, it must be said that he makes the most of the resources that are given to him. It’s always an argument that possibly even someone like David Lynch would struggle on a budget of $20,000.

Perhaps his most recognised piece is Dead Girls from 1989. Not only is it a noted stalk and slash flick, but it is also one of the few heavy metal horrors from the peak period. Sawblade also has a plot that incorporates a hard rock group in to its synopsis and therefore I was keen to see how well Devine would handle a return to the neighbourhood that brought him his biggest success.

Up and coming rockers Sawblade are offered the chance to shoot their début video in a recently opened studio. Their manager has the idea of locking them in overnight and having the press awaiting in the morning when the doors first open. Unbeknownst to them, they are recording on the site where vicious killer Elliot Benson was entombed some 25 years earlier. Without a key, the youngsters are left alone until the break of dawn with the menace who returns from the grave to cause havoc with a few trusty blades…

Chemistry is such a beautiful thing. You can’t touch it but you can feel it. You can’t see it, but it’s there and uncannily obvious. It’s absolutely unmistakeable. It exists in all walks of life, but is very rarely mentioned. Let me describe an example that most of you have most probably experienced if you’ve been fortunate enough. You go out on a date. After the initial getting to know you period and perhaps a few drinks you both feel this uncontrollable urge to begin cuddling and kissing. Your head will be reminding you of that unwritten rule that your folks told you about and those words echo in your head: ‘it’s too early’, ‘we hardly know each other’. You just can’t control yourself though and the magical feeling draws you closer as your heart says ‘ignore your head.‘ There are those (me included) that are spontaneous enough to pick future partners on the strength of such chemistry and it’s an occurrence that most definitely does not strike many times in one lifetime. Such nights usually don’t end up where you initially expected them to and are a big slap in the face of traditional values. But hey; you only live once, right? A wise man once said that you don’t remember when you grow older about the reports that you had to get done before eight on Monday morning, which you spent hours working on. You never forget or regret those times of amazing passion like I have described.

Chemistry can be discovered in cinema too if you look hard enough. Take for example that wonderful scene from Tony Scott’s True Romance. Heavyweights Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken sit opposite each other to deliver a master class in acting during the Sicilian history lesson sequence. The way that they both bounce off of each other with such a natural connection is flawless and it must have been partly due to the vibe in the air that day between them. Sawblade also has a kind of chemistry, but unfortunately it’s on completely the opposite side of the scale. There is no worse sight in cinema than a few appalling actors on screen at the same time and here it feels as if they are trying to out perform each other with the levels of their ineptitude.

Calling them ‘actors’ is in itself a fallacy. I mean, surely if you logically planned for a career in the movies, you would have at some point at least been to an audition or a rehearsal where it would have been proven early on what we, the viewer, have to discover during this exercise in restraint? I work in sales. Now sales is a tough racket, which not everyone can succeed in. Many firms will hire graduates fresh from Uni with the idea of seeing if they can cut it or not. Most of them don’t. At least on the sales-floor, people try a bit. There’s a scene in Sawblade that’s supposed to be quite aggressive. It’s like a typical confrontation that looks set to go to fisticuffs, but the four players speak like a group of elderly buddies that are about to have a muffin and a cup of tea. Any suspense or atmosphere is totally destroyed by the obvious lack of effort from the performers and the film becomes almost comedic very quickly.

The characters are also laughably developed to the point of being infuriating. Each one is conceited, shallow and it doesn’t help that they are given dialogue that seems to have been written by a rebellious fourteen year-old. There’s a lot of vulgar swear words and talk about ‘ass kicking’ and gags that only the aforementioned teenager would find amusing. The killer reminds me of the nut job from Honeymoon Horror in terms of his appearance, but even that forgettable entry from the early eighties would wipe the floor in terms of entertainment levels with this half-hearted throwaway. As fans of slasher cinema, we are used to experiencing poor continuity and silly plot devices, because let’s be honest, usually that’s the most fun that there is to be had. One thing that is totally unforgivable however is that Sawblade feels like its been pushed together and rushed out the door with minimal effort from those involved and it doesn’t even make an attempt to cover up the fact. Towards the end of the runtime there’s not just one, but two silly twists and although the first is totally predictable, the second is mind boggling and laughable. The killer works his was through a large number of victims, but the obvious lack of budget means that the effects are expectedly cruddy. On the plus side, things move along quite quickly and you’ll never get bored. I am just not sure whether you will have the paciencia to sit through the inane scripting and annoying personas that adorn the screen from start to finish.

I don’t blame Dennis Devine, as he was most likely given a 7 day shoot time and $15k to make a slasher flick. Some of his photography is quite audacious (watch out for a couple of Argento-esque shock attempts) and the movie certainly doesn’t look too bad. From what I have heard, he’s a really nice guy and passionate about the genre, so it’d be nice to see him get back to working with Jarvis and putting out some more of the type of titles that he unleashed during the nineties. You know, I would like nothing better than to sing the praises of a film that has not yet been released and start a campaign to get it out on the shelves. I am a fan of the little guys and always defend my favourite horror genre. There’s just no way that I can do that with Sawblade though as it is a feature devoid of quality. I’m glad that I watched it, but I wouldn’t want to have to sit through it again.

If you really want to see an unreleased flick that deserves a stab at recognition, try and check out Bloodstream from the same director, but Sawblade should be left in the vaults of Allied Entertainment.

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise:

Gore:

Final Girl: √

RATING:

93893763