The Coroner’s Report

The Coroner's ReportThe Coroner’s Report slices through the chest of horror and spreads the rib cage of gore to reach inside and pull out the vital organs of scary movies, both past and present. Discarding the useless husks of ordinary reviews, the Coroner focuses on what horror fans really care about through the KILLeR Score Card: Kills, Ills, Lust, Learning, and Review. There’s no need to scan and skim to find out how many people die, what kills break the mold, or how many breasts get bared. Serving up only the rawest and most disgusting horror reviews on a bloody platter, The Coroner’s Report is your one chop stop for all things terrifying.

Updated Every: Thursday

The Coroner

Troma is many things to many people. Scratch that. Troma is either one of two things to some people. If you grew up watching classic Troma flicks like The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, or Tromeo & Juliet, you probably have a soft spot for the low budget film company headed by icon Lloyd Kaufman. If, however, you missed out on these classics and instead just picked up some of the more recent offerings, you probably think Troma is a pile of shit. I have a lot of respect for Troma. I’m a big fan of Lloyd Kaufman and I’ve read three of his “Damn Movie” books. History should remember him in the same vein as Roger Corman – a low budget businessman with a vision. Few people have had a bigger impact on the world of independent film. Even I must admit that in recent years, the offerings from Troma have not always been fantastic. Much like how Corman disappeared for years, Kaufman too shrank back from the public eye. Movies were made, but little attention was paid. With the recent success of his books though, Kaufman and Troma are coming back in a big way and leading that charge is Father’s Day.

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The Coroner

Ahh, zombies. In many ways, speaking of the entertainment world, the end has already arrived and we are overrun with zombies. Zombie comics, t-shirts, movies, toys, and television shows. I used to love zombie movies. Hell, I wrote a zombie screenplay in college. The zombie craze reignited in the early 2000s with 28 Days Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead. From then on, we’ve been fairly well saturated with the undead. Can you get too much of a good thing? Yes, yes of course you can. Too much of anything will eventually kill you or drive you insane. What a stupid question. Ignoring that momentary lapse of stupidity, when inundated with zombie flicks to the point of not caring, is it possible to find anything worthwhile, anything new? Enter The Dead. (That sounds pornographic!)

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We all know that the news channels prefer stories about death, destruction and bad things headed your way, but absent from much of the fear mongering are stories pinpointing legitimate sources of concern. I’m speaking of course, about slug-like aliens from outer space. Thankfully filmmakers have been far less afraid to expose the slimy and deadly threats from the stars. From Night of the Creeps to Slither, the movies are clearly the place to go if you want the truth about the dangers of intergalactic gastropods. 1983’s The Deadly Spawn exists on a far lower profile than those two, but it follows a similar pattern. Space slugs land on Earth and quickly begin offing humans in grotesque ways. The action here is centered almost exclusively in a single house as a trio of nerdy high-schoolers and a horror-loving pre-teen find themselves trapped with the mutating and multiplying monster. Cue the face munching.

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The horror genre gets a bad rap. Virtually all horror movies are dismissed out of hand when it comes to having something to say. Who can take a message out of all that blood and violence? Well when the world is bloody and violence, I say horror films are the perfect venue to tell some stories and in a graphic way. Undocumented, from first-timer Chris Peckover, uses the topical subject of illegal immigration in America as it’s setting. Don’t run away! While there is obviously some politics at play here, the film doesn’t delve too far into the seriousness of the politics, but it does perhaps give you pause to think about the situation, at least some aspects of it. The film follows a group of grad students making a film about illegal border crossings and those who take advantage of illegal labor. During a border crossing for their documentary, the group ends up getting kidnapped alongside the illegal immigrants by a violent border control group.

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Director Lucky McKee’s most recent film, The Woman, garnered a lot of critical praise at Sundance in 2011 but gained the most publicity when some old codger decided to have a freak out that was caught on tape where he said the film was degrading to women and demanded it be burned. Luckily for the sake of art and free speech, the negative was not burned and the film has indeed been released on DVD and Blu-ray. The film follows the Cleek family and their zany adventures trying to ‘civilize’ a wild woman the patriarch finds in the woods. I put civilize in quotes back there because that’s how the film is officially described, but in my book giving someone a bath and making them wear clothes doesn’t actually amount to trying to civilize them. No, for that, one must teach them proper dining etiquette. Obviously, as this is branded a horror film, the titular woman chained up in the basement must cause some havoc, though she’s not the true villain in this story.

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Opening in select theaters tomorrow and currently available on Video on Demand, Kill List is a clever little film from writer/director Ben Wheatley that’s been garnering a good bit of attention around the ol’ internet. It follows the journey of hitman Jay (Neil Maskell) and his buddy Gal (Michael Smiley) as they take on a contract to kill three men. As you might guess, things don’t go entirely smoothly. If you haven’t yet seen Kill List, you should probably stop reading, go see it, and then come back. You should watch it. It’s good. Don’t read anything else about it. Ignore everything you’ve heard, just walk into it blind and experience it. If you’ve already seen the movie, read on, or if you need extra convincing, read on, but for best results, see it with as little foreknowledge as possible.

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By now, you should probably have realized that we will never reach the final destination, since we’re already a destination past that with more on the way. Likewise, you should probably have a pretty good handle on how these things happen. A kid gets a vision of a totally awesome and very lethal disaster, which prompts him and several others to leave the danger zone, abandoning hundreds of others to die. Death, not liking the idea of being cheated, then kills all of the survivors through an elaborate series of accidents. And for the most part, it’s all good. So recognizing all that, for the fifth installment of the franchise you can just plug in all the new names and faces with the scenario suspension bridge collapse. While there isn’t much new, Final Destination 5 manages to be an entertaining entry in the series, providing plenty of gruesome kills – in three dimensions!! OOoOoOoOoOoooOOOooOoOOOo

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Genre buddy and fellow root canal survivor Rob Hunter came to my aid this week when it was time for title selection. I was stupidly about to put in The Wild Hunt, which has something to do with LARPing and virgins or something, when the Foreign Objects author suggested I try something a little more sub-titled. Dream Home is the story about the American dream taking place in Hong Kong. Young Cheng Lai-sheung (Josie Ho) is a phone representative for a bank in Hong Kong and all she wants out of life is a nice flat with a view of the ocean for her ailing grandfather to live in. She’ll stop at nothing to get that home, from scraping together every penny and working two extra jobs. After raising enough capital to buy into the flat, the sellers decide to ask for more money and Cheng reacts completely reasonably. For a psychopath.

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There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to take a risk. When looking for a title to review this week, I was faced with a dilemma. Namely, I was tired and stuck on my computer, which mean Blu-ray was out of the question. I could have spent ages pouring through the Netflix queue, or I could dive into “the pile.” Every critic has a pile – movies you’ve been sent to review that aren’t topical, timely, or generally wanted. Stuff you should review, but won’t feel bad if you never get to it. I went to the pile and pulled Psycho Sleepover, a low budget movie filmed in 2007 and released by Troma in 2010 and sent my way in 2011. Psycho Sleepover is a strange flick. It’s low budget to the point that it was pretty much literally all filmed in one location – the producer’s house. A lot of the people behind the camera end up in front of it. The quality isn’t so great. The plot is non-sense. Basically 30 psycho-slasher killers walk out of an unlocked Asylum and head to a sleepover to get their murder on while a couple of dudes make a ton of dick jokes and masturbate. In “The Making Of” extra, the co-director says of the film: it’s pretty retarded, but it’s awesome. He was 60% right.

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I’m not certain why, but when Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale played during the one Fantastic Fest I was present at, I missed it. I was probably drunk on Peanut Butter Milkshakes and also whiskey and Rob Hunter had yet to convince me to start watching movies with subtitles. Over the recent Christmas season (it’s over now, take down your decorations), I caught up with the film in the comfort of my own home all while being mostly sober. Rare Exports is a Finnish import about the havoc created when the truth about Santa Claus is quite literally unearthed. You think you know all about this jolly fat man, but brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If you watch this film though, you’ll see plenty of old man dicks, so there’s that, in addition to a pretty pleasing film.

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Horror-comedies are a mixed bag. Often they’re not scary or violent enough to satisfy your horror boner, nor are they funny enough to tickle your funny bone(r). When they work well, you get an Evil Dead II or a Dead and Breakfast. When they fail you get…I don’t know, who remembers shitty horror-comedies? Tucker & Dale vs. Evil follows two lovable, well meaning rednecks through a series of misunderstandings that result in a group of vacationing college kids being convinced the duo are out to murder them. Like any educated group, the kids decide the best thing to do is to take the war to the hillbillies and try to kill them and rescue their “kidnapped” friend. Things go comically and fatally awry to great effect.

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On the hunt for horror, I’ll throw just about anything on the list of things to watch. As a huge fan of Razorback, I must have, at the time, figured “sweet, a giant killer hog!” Makes sense, who doesn’t love a giant hog tearing up people and eating the remains? Late one night I saw a few minutes of this flick on IFC. It was especially bloody and violent, though I didn’t see any hogs to speak of, but not wanting to ruin the experience of watching the film from A to Z, I threw it in my Netflix queue. This flick, which carries the Frightfest banner, follows a group of friends who head out on a, you guessed it, pig hunt. Our crew, led by good guy John Hickman, formerly of the area, are soon joined by some of his old “friends,” a couple of ne-er-do-well hillbillies. The group clashes with each other, with small boars, hippies, rednecks, and eventually, a really big pig.

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Combining short films with titles like Wadzilla and The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, Chillerama is an anthology film stuffed to the brim with movie references from the collaborative minds of Adam Green (Hatchet), Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs), Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City), and Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom). Weaving the films together is the over-arching movie Zom-B-Film, a tale of a zombie pervert invasion at a drive-in movie theater. Chillerama features Joel David Moore, Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, Eric Roberts, and the man behind many masks, Kane Hodder, all of whom are intentionally hamming it up in roles ranging from cliched military generals to a Frankenjew to Adolf Hitler. Never taking itself too seriously, the film makes an inordinate amount of dick jokes, spills a lot of blood, makes two dozen poop jokes, and sprays all sorts of fluids across the screen. So if you’re into that…

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The first installment of the Wrong Turn franchise was a fun and surprising little tale of cannibals messing up young people in West Virginia after a few decades of inbreeding turned them into resilient monsters. The follow-up was a respectable attempt that took the series to it’s logical conclusion: Henry Rollins. As for the third entry, I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what the fuck happened, but I assume it involved cannibals trying to eat young people. Which brings us full circle to Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings, a movie that kind of almost sort of tells you how it all began. In case you were wondering, these in-bred meat eaters weren’t always wild – no, they spent a few weeks in an asylum before managing to escape, start a riot, and kill a good portion of the staff. Then the state of West Virginia apparently decided to pretend that never happened and just ignore that gigantic building, allowing the inbreeders to use it as their base of operations before they, I guess, move out into the woods by Wrong Turn. That may sound like this movie was bad, but that’s just my snarky way of writing, in fact, the movie is quite –

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If the people behind The Howling Reborn are to be believed, the reason why horror movies suck is because no one wants to see 40 year olds in the lead. Their solution was to hire a Harry Potter look alike and walk down the Twilight road instead of a Howling road. When someone thinks about The Howling, often fondly, placing it among the best werewolf movies (saying little, as most werewolf movies strangely blow), what comes to mind? A prolonged, awesome transformation scene a la An American Werewolf in London perhaps? Maybe 40 year old leads? Either way, you probably conjure up in your head, I don’t know, a giant werewolf? So if you were to make another installment in this franchise, you’d think at the very least there would be a cool transformation scene and a big, bad ass werewolf. I think I would have preferred that you made this film, as The Howling Reborn is satisfied with their dopey, emo werewolf narrating his sad story rather than turning into a werewolf. Rather than anyone turning into a werewolf. Okay, so that’s not entirely true. There are werewolves in this movie. For a few minutes anyways.

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It’s 1942, and a young boy sits on the floor of his bedroom innocently putting together a puzzle featuring a picture of a fully nude woman. He’s assembling it with the detached focus of someone whose sole interest is the challenge of the puzzle itself and not the naked woman smiling up at him. But does his mother see that? No. She comes in and instead of appreciating his handiwork she tears him a new ass for playing with filth… swats him around, tosses the puzzle pieces, and demands he go get a plastic bag so she can burn all his shit to prevent him from becoming like his deadbeat father. So the kid comes back with an ax and chops his mother into little pieces. What follows are eighty minutes of blood, gore, violence, nudity, and… hilarious dialogue, fun performances, and a ridiculously entertaining script. Is it intentionally one of the most absurdly funny slashers ever made? No clue. But does it matter?

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Mary Kee (Rachel Lefevre) is starting a new life. Well, trying to. She’s recently separated from her husband Steven (Ed Quinn) and has moved into a small, dimly lit apartment across town hoping to start an abuse-free existence. But then the phone rings… and she answers it. The woman on the other end of the line sounds like a desperate and angry Betty White, and she’s quite possibly calling from well outside Mary’s area code. Or any area code. Soon Mary and those around her, including a shifty neighbor (Luiz Guzman) and a too-helpful teacher (Stephen Moyer), are in danger as the woman on the phone begins to wreak vengeance from far away. How do you stop a mad woman intent on terrorizing you from across space and time? I mean aside from changing your goddamn number…

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The Quintanilla family has a house in Sitges that they haven’t visited in a decade, so all five of them pack into the car and head up for the summer. The two teens have vague memories of the home from when they were much younger, but it’s the local legend of a ghostly girl in the forest that catches their attention. They document their exploration of the house and the giant maze attached to their back yard on video, and soon they’re hearing strange noises at night and seeing mysterious figures in woods. When their younger brother goes missing the family rushes into the maze to find him, and, well, let’s just say the Quintanillas can get by with a smaller Christmas tree this year. Atrocious is the bastard Spanish love-child of Blair Witch Project and Insidious, and yes, in that scenario Insidious is the male who donated little more than a genre and a one word adjective for a name. It falls victim to some of the same problems that plague most found footage films… namely a meandering first half, segments consisting of little more than the camera being shaken repeatedly, and the nagging question as to why these people are still filming, but it also creates and builds enough solid tension and legitimately frightening scenes to mark it as one of the better examples of the genre.

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Good god do movies starting with the letter ‘S’ suck. Not all of them, clearly, but the last three Coroner’s Reports have all been ‘S’ movies and they have not been good. The bigger question here though is why the hell have I covered four of them in a row? Luck of the draw if you can believe it, but after this week’s cliched thriller failed to thrill yet again I’m declaring a ban on the letter for the next month. Or two. The new IFC release Spiderhole sees a quartet of homeless (by choice man) twenty-somethings who move into an abandoned home with the intention of claiming squatter’s rights on the domicile. The windows are all boarded up, but they’ll worry about that in the morning… for now they’re more focused on finishing off the bottle of vodka they found. Big mistake. They wake up late the next morning and quickly realize they’ve been drugged. The doors are bolted shut from the inside. The windows are covered in soundproofed shielding. And they’re pretty much fucked.

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Coroner

An attractive woman with large breastesses and a bewildered look on her face accepts a ride from a stranger, but when they pull over to a creepily unkempt reststop her attempt to urinate through her constant confusion is interrupted by the man’s desire for doggie style coupling. Why she would choose to pee through her confusion instead of her urethra is anyone’s guess. Come to find out they’re a couple just playing a game inspired by the opening of When A Man Loves A Woman starring Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan. It’s a solid romantic drama, you should check it out if you get the chance. Anyway, Ken and Rachel meet up with a third friend, the fur covered Marco, and they all head out for an afternoon of sailing and fornication. Well Marco will be missing out on the fornicating goodness, but he does get to steer the boat. Unfortunately he steers it right into the shallows when he spots an even furrier man dragging himself through the water, and soon the three friends are trapped with a broken boat, a dead stranger, and a mystery woman who sings a dangerous song drawing them all to their doom! And by ‘doom’ I of course mean hallucinations, acts of supreme idiocy, and a little skinny dipping. Oh, and murder.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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