J.T. Petty

Hellbenders

When it comes to horror, it feels like no subgenre is replicated most than the exorcism. And why shouldn’t it? Watching possession play out on film is a great and gruesome way to make make your audience cringe. After the fiftieth or so time you sit down to watch a nice normal girl’s life get ruined by Satan, though, it starts to get a little stale. But the sinning and swearing members of the Order of the Hellbound Saints from J.T. Petty‘s Hellbenders have arrived to spin that premise on its head (sorry). The blasphemous men (and woman) of God are a special force that, rather than waiting for exorcism cases to appear, live as sinfully as possible to bring the demons to them first so that they can battle it out and send them back to hell. It’s dealing with the problem directly at its source. True, this team that consists of cult hero Clancy Brown, Clifton Collins Jr., Samantha Buck, and Dan Fogler is hunting demons and doing good, but Ghostbusters this is not. Hellspawn are a bit bigger of a problem to deal with than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and just because these characters are ministers doesn’t mean they’re ones you want to introduce your children to at the movie theater. As Collins’ character puts it in the trailer, he’s your Father, but he ain’t your fuckin’ dad. Check out the very NSFW trailer for yourself here:

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The bad thing about The Exorcist is that it has been so influential that we’re coming up on 40 years since its release and still we’re getting a handful of cheap knockoffs released in theaters every year. From The Devil Inside, to The Rite, to The Last Exorcism, to The Exorcism of Emily Rose, demonic possession movie after demonic possession movie is made with the same plot, the same characters, and the same tone. And every time you watch the whole thing play out, it manages to hit with slightly less impact than it did the time before. It was with great enthusiasm, then, that I watched J.T. Petty’s (The Burrowers) latest film, Hellbenders, which is finally, finally an exorcism movie that’s nothing like all of the other exorcism movies that have come before. There are no creepy little girls and wise but weary priests here. Instead, Hellbenders populates itself with foul-mouthed, hard-partying priests who seem to be more comfortable sinning than they do going to Sunday mass. You see, the conceit is this: in order for a priest who deals in exorcism to be ready to take a demon into his body and escort it to hell — by offing himself — he must always have enough sin wracked up to actually be worthy of going to the place. So, the merry band of miscreants that this film follows have checklists to make sure that they’re on top of their sinning. They curse, they steal, they blaspheme, they engage in […]

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By now you’ve already heard about The ABCs of Death – the anthology project being put together by Drafthouse Films, Timpson Films and Magnet. 26 directors, 26 letters of the alphabet, and 26 tales of horror and gore. The complete list of directors includes: Kaare Andrews, Angela Bettis, Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Jason Eisener, Bruno Forzani and Helene, Adrian Garcia Bogliao, Xavier Gens, Noburo Iguchi, Thomas Malling, Yoshihiro Nishimura, J.T. Petty, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Simon Rumley, Marcel Sarmiento, Chris Smith, Srdjan Spasojevic, Timo Tjahjanto, Andrew Traucki, Nacho Vigalondo, Jake West, Ti West, Ben Wheatley, Adam Wingard, Anders Wulffmorgenthaler, and Yudai Yamaguchi. You no doubt counted that list and saw 26 filmmakers. You also noticed that two of them are a filmmaking pair, which means they still need one more to complete the series. That’s where you come in. This is your chance to have your name next to the guy that made A Serbian Film on a film’s credit sequence. Drafthouse Films is hosting an open short film competition to choose the last director where contestants will choose their own word (starting with the Letter T (my money’s on “Trebuchet”)) and craft a short based on it. Entries will be whittled down to a final 10 by a public voting system, and the winner will be chosen by the directors listed above. There’s no entry fee, and it’s open from now until October 1st at midnight PST. Grab your camera. Get started.

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The Burrowers

Before you get too disturbed (or excited) by the prospect of Mary Norton’s beloved Clock family returning from the dead and tearing into the flesh of normal-sized humans one tiny bite at a time… this isn’t The Borrowers Attack.

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