Thursday, January 2, 2014

Horror's Best Of 2013

Written by Scott Ruth

The time to round out my worst, at least watchable and best horror films of the year retrospective has come. If you missed the worst and middle of the road lists, check them out by clicking the links below:

The Best, The Worst & The "At Least Watchable" Horror Movies of 2013 - Part 1

Part 2 - The Best, The Worst & The "At Least Watchable" Horror Movies of 2013

Once again I ask you to bear in mind that it's essentially impossible to watch each and every horror film to be released in any given year, within the confines of a year's time. I mention this as it's quite possible (perhaps even likely) that you may have seen a great film that doesn't appear on my list and this may be the reason why the title in question is missing from all 3 of my 2013 lists.

Now on to the best films that the genre had to offer for 2013 (in no specific order). . . 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Movies To Warm The Heart Of Every Horror Fan

Article by Scott Ruth

What's that you say? You and the family are looking for a few movies to watch on Christmas Eve, or even throughout the day on Christmas? Understandable, since not all of us are into football or Macy's parades, and let's be honest, after so many consecutive years, the never ending marathons of It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story become monotonous.

Let me ask you this.....are you a horror fan? Since you're here reading an article posted to Monsterama Go-Go, I'll go ahead and assume that your answer to this question is a resounding yes. Fair? 

Ok then. Let's take a look at some Christmas-based or inspired movies that were made with horror fans in mind...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Welcome to the Monsterific, Zombirific and Totally Insanorific World of Filmmaker Thomas Berdinski!

Written by Scott Ruth

Over the years there have been many filmmakers that I like to call Gonzo filmmakers. Sure, I stole the term gonzo from the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, but it really does apply to these folks. They are the men, and women, who are renegades. Their guerilla, whatever-it-takes, making due with whatever is at their disposal style of filmmaking not only shows their  inherint need to make movies, but it also shows how much love they have for both movie making, and for the cinema itself.

                      Meet Thomas Berdinski

Tom Berdinski is one of the finest such indie filmmakers working on the scene today. 

Tom serves as writer, director, producer, editor and composer for his company,  The Cult of Moi and Vous Film Producioni Company LLC, and works out of his hometown, Muskegon, Michigan.

Tom's movies may not have huge budgets, hell some have barely had a budget at all, but what they do have is something that many of today's multi-million dollar Hollywood studio films do not have. It is something needed when making a movie that people will actually enjoy, and one that they will remember, one that they will enjoy again and again, over the years, and that is HEART!

I consider myself fortunate to be able to call Tom a personal friend. He's a great guy and a very talented and devoted filmmaker. 

Tom Berdinski as Sascratch!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Meet Comic Artist (& Sci-Fi/Fantasy Kid) Benny Sierra Román!

Article by Scott Ruth

1980. The year that saw Ronald Reagan elected President of the United States of America. The year that we saw the last of former Beatle John Lennon. The year that the Voyager 1 probe sent back to Earth the first high resolution images of Saturn, confirming the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn. The year that Pac-Man was released, thus beginning a video game revolution. The year when CNN became the first 24hrs News Station. The year that saw 3M begin sales of it's latest product, Post-It Notes. 1980 was also the year that George Lucas' sequel to his 1977 blockbuster hit Star Wars, titled Star Wars : The Empire Strikes Back, was released.

1980 was also the year that Benny Sierra Román was brought into this world!

* Benny lives in Carolina, Puerto Rico and prides himself on being an amazing Dad to his equally amazing daughter, Crystal. 

* He is a Certified Massage Therapist. Although massage therapy is indeed an art form, it is not the form of art that Benny holds nearest & dearest to his heart...

* Benny is the innovator of his own, unique style of art that he calls "Noir Style".

* He is also a crime story writer, whose work has been influenced by many TV crime-related shows such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Castle, N.C.I.S., etc. He is also heavily influenced by the work of Brian Michael Bendis, the creator of the comic book Powers!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Legend Of Tattooed Steve And The Storage Unit Of Terror!

Written by Scott Ruth

Friends, allow to share with you a tale of the incredible. One that happened to me! A tale of true events that took place, not too long ago....

While taking a walk, just to sort things out inside my head, I found myself meandering without any sense of direction. I ultimately found myself behind an old building. As I looked up I noticed that I recognized this place. I was behind a place of legend. I could hardly believe it. I rubbed my eyes, expected to snap myself out of this dream, but a dream it was not. It was real. I was standing behind Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit of Terror! Many believe that this isn't a real place, that it's just something that parents make up to scare their kids into submission but alas I can attest to it's authenticity! Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit Of Terror is REAL! 

As the reality of the situation became more and more clear, I began to look around and that's when I noticed that there was a secret door in the back, and to my good fortune, it was ajar! I slowly peeked my head inside, not knowing what to expect. After all, since I wasn't even sure this place of legend existed, I had not a clue as to what may actually lie within the walls. It was too dark. I couldn't see a thing! That was when I noticed that I had a flashlight attached to my belt. How the hell did that get there? I didn't even know I was wearing a belt! I chalked it up to fate and decided to investigate! With my trusty battery operated torch in hand, and feeling like a modern day Indiana Jones, I peeked inside once again. As my eyes darted back and forth, I had great trouble trying to digest all that I was seeing. It was the most overwhelming experience that I have ever, well, experienced! There was so much to see, so many boxes, and crates, so many shelves and curios, and that's not including all of the eerie things that had either been stored outside of any container or had escaped their packaging, all under their own control! What WAS this place? I decided that I had to investigate this curiously creepy place further. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and entered the domicile to possible pending doom! 

I shined my flashlight all about. As it's light flickered and bounced from one wall to the next, my fear became more intensified. Was this all a mistake? Should I have simply walked away before even considering steeping inside this place of nightmares? Or was that it? Nightmares!?!?! Was I dreaming? Could it be possible? After all, I've dreamt of scary places before, so perhaps that's all this was....a nightmare!!! How could I be certain? "Pinch yourself, you jackass!" is what I thought to myself. Not one to argue with the voices inside my head, I went ahead and pinched my arm. After letting out a loud yelp, I realized two things. One being that I needed to trim my index finger's  nail because that sucker's sharp as hell, and two, this was no dream. This was REAL!

It was about that time when I heard the most unsettling, eerie, inhuman guttural sound! It was unlike anything that I had ever heard before. As a matter of fact, I could not even properly describe it as it sounded nothing like anything known to man! I took a few steps forward, shaking uncontrollably when I once again heard that unholy sound! "What the f*&% was that?" I asked myself. The fear that this sound instilled deep into the fiber of my being caused my shaking to worsen, which then caused me to drop my flashlight!

Again, that sound echoed inside this chamber of horrors, and this time I felt it echo inside of my body. It felt like a rumbling throughout my entire torso. "Oh shit,", I thought to myself, "That's just the Taco Bell I had for lunch kicking in!". Knowing the identity of this sound was a relief. But that sense of relief soon turned into primal fear since, as we all know, once Taco Bell kicks in, you had better be really close to a toilet!

I, very carefully, knelt down to pick up the flashlight, keeping my cheeks firmly clenched, when I suddenly got the feeling that I was not alone here. 

I noticed that there was a door toward the back end of the main room, or chamber, or whatever it was, and there was a bright light emanating from underneath the door! It was a room! I slowly made my way to the door. My hands were shaking, my knees were trembling. 

As I reached the door, it swung open, as if the full force of nature had kicked it open! Frightened, I closed my eyes, fearing what it might be that I see once they are opened! I heard what sounded like an eerie laugh, which made my the hairs on my arms stand up. As I opened my eyes I saw the figure of man, or something man-like, standing there. The light behind this figure was so bright that I could not make out even a single feature in his face. 

I attempted to block this light from my eyes by holding my forearm up, shielding my eyes as best as I could. Just then this figure turned around and lowered the light's brightness. Now I could finally make out who, or what, I was looking at!

I could not believe my eyes but there he was, the one and only Tattooed Steve Mezo! Although many claim that he is but a myth, an urban legend, I can tell you now my friends that Tattooed Steve does exist! 

I told him all about my journey here, how I didn't know how I ended up here while taking a short walk, about my knowledge of the tales about his legend. I told him everything. Well, expect for the Taco Bell part. I figured he didn't need to know every little detail. Besides, as scared as I was when I first saw his outline behind that door, chances are pretty damn good that he could smell the Taco Bell!

He told me about how he was a fan of horror movies, how he had even starred in some & worked making the special effects for others. He even gave me a ticket stub from a screening for a double feature of "Invasion for Flesh and Blood" and "Flesh Eaters From Outer Space", two of the films that Steve had starred in! He told me about his huge collection of movies and memorabilia. He then told me about something he had never told another living soul. It seems he had been working on a revolutionary device that takes the memories of movies, toys and other things from your youth, and if you hold them near and dear enough to your heart, the machine causes them to manifest into actual movies, toys and memorabilia. Steve had just completed work on the device when the door of the storage unit slammed shut, locking him inside with nothing other than video cassettes, posters, lobby cards, action figures (and other toys), his Stratosphramogram (that's the name of the aforementioned memory into reality device), a Pepsi machine, a popcorn machine and a lifetime of blissful movie and other childhood memories! Here he had been, all of this time, trapped inside of his storage unit, the only place where he could go to spend time alone with nothing but his movies and memories. Over the years, his disappearance led to stories of exactly "What happened to Steve Mezo?". As time passed, the stories not only grew in numbers but they also morphed into legend. Steve Mezo, the cool dude with tattoos and a love for all things horror (and toys) became "Tatttooed Steve", a monstrous man-beast who lived inside his now haunted storage unit where he had been known to supposedly snatch up any passers by, chaining them to the walls and forcing them to watch movies. Horror movies. But not the movies that he loves. No sir. The legend says that Tattooed Steve makes his victims watch bad movies, and I mean really bad, not "so bad that they're good" but really bad shit like Twilight, until they can no longer take it and commit suicide by swallowing their own tongues, choking to death. Well, really they'd do anything, whatever it takes, to put themselves out of their misery!

The one-and-only "Tattooed" Steve Mezo!

We talked and talked and talked some more. 

We laughed. We cried. We even danced like MC Hammer. Then we sat down and the kind soul, who was wrongfully dubbed a monster, treated me to a night of some of the best horror movies known to man....and even a few from the netherworld, not before witnessed by human eyes.

After the credits from the final movie finished, I turned to thank Steve for this wondrous time only to find myself sitting outside, in the woods, leaning up against a tree. The Storage Unit Or Terror was nowhere to be seen, nor was the man, Tattooed Steve, himself.

What the hell happened? Did I walk all night until I became so exhausted that I sat down, leaned against the tree and fell asleep? Perhaps all that I experienced was nothing more than a dream brought on by exhaustion and a belly full of Taco Bell! Could that be? It all looked and felt so real.

With nothing more to do, I got to my feet, and headed on the long walk home. Hell, I had no idea where the hell I even was, so it was sure to be a VERY long walk home. 

I took a moment to collect myself, then started on my trek. As I began to walk, I put my hands in my pockets and pulled out something that had not been there before....

A ticket stub from the screening for the "Invasion for Flesh and Blood" and "Flesh Eaters From Outer Space" double feature. The very same stub that Tattooed Steve had given to me during my adventure inside of Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit Of Terror!

So, the next time someone tells you that the urban legend or myth that you believe in is nothing but a bunch of bunk, you tell them that if Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit Of Terror is real, and it IS, then anything is possible in this wonderfully weird and magnificently mysterious world where we all live!

To learn more about the legend that is Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit Of Terror click the link below:

Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit Of Terror on Facebook

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chernobyl Diaries (2012) review

Review by Scott Ruth

Back in the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (formerly part of the Soviet Union) exploded, creating what has been described as the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. This sort of event would make for the perfect backdrop for a horror movie, in theory anyway. 

Oren Peli (of Paranormal Activity fame) and Brad Parker's 2012 film Chernobyl Diaries attempted to do just that, to use the disaster at Chernobyl, as the backdrop for a film that would follow a group of young people as they embark on an extreme sightseeing tour of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and it's surrounding region, 25 years after the disaster. 

Six young travelers, four Americans along with a pair of backpackers (from Norway and Australia) meet up with Uri, a former local soldier, who agrees to take them to Pripyat, the abandoned company town which sits in the shadow of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. After being turned away by the military at a checkpoint, Uri informs the group that there is more than one way to Pripyat, so they head down through backwoods trails, ultimately reaching their goal of the town of Pripyat!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Part 2 - The Best, The Worst & The "At Least Watchable" Horror Movies of 2013 (to date)

Written by Scott Ruth

Last time out I left you all with my list of 10 "middle of the road" horror films from 2013. These were the films that weren't awful but they also weren't the best that the genre had to offer over the past 10 months or so.

Click here to check out Part 1

Now we're moving on to the worst horror films of the year to this point. There are only 8 films on this list but most of these were complete abominations and a total waste of time and money. Sadly many, if not most, were quite successful at the box office which goes to show you just how soft the movie-going public has become. Cheesy, run-of-the-mill supernatural movies, made for those same unfulfilled horny housewives who can't get enough of TV shows like American Horror Story, Sleepy Hollow and the new Dracula series, have been dominant at the box office for a while now. Any chances of that changing any time soon? Not likely considering that every television season we are bombarded by more of these shows which are more like gothic versions of 50 Shades Of Grey than they are actual tales of horror. End of rant. 

Now on to my choices for the worst horror films of 2013, in no particular order..

The ABC's Of Death - It seems that anthology genre films are all the rage these days. As a matter of fact the only other sub-genre more popular with filmmakers is the aforementioned flimsy supernatural thriller. The ABC's Of Death takes the anthology idea to the extreme with 26 short films. Each segment is based on the alphabet, beginning with A and naturally ending with Z. Unfortunately for most of the segments the letter "Z" followed by a few more Zzzzzz's seems to fit best. There are a few standout segments which include "F is for Fart" which is more bizarre than it is scary, "J is for Jidai-geki", which takes the idea of Japanese sword fighting to a new level and "Q if for Quack", a short that is sure to overjoy those who oppose animal cruelty. There are a few other segments that are somewhat enjoyable but those are outweighed by the abundance of senseless and rather unoriginal. Perhaps The ABC's Of Death Part 2 will show us that the next group of filmmakers have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors. 


The Conjuring - Alright, alright. Stop throwing tomatoes! It's only hurting your computer screen! The Conjuring, like so many other supernatural "thrillers" is chock full of the usually cheap jump scares and the same old tired "haunting movie" tricks that uninspired filmmakers have been using since the beginning of cinema. The film was "inspired" by the "true to life" adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-professed psychics and paranormal investigators, as they are haunted and taunted by a dark entity in their rural farmhouse. The film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, is directed by James Wan and would have better served as a made-for-TV movie airing on Discovery Channel, Travel Channel or one of the countless cable networks that is forever running these "my house is haunted" and "I got gang-banged by a group of anorexic, dyslexic ghosts while filing my tax return in 1973" type of television shows. The Warrens have a less than credible track record having been involved in bogus "investigations" including the Amityville Horror and many scripted investigations for the horrible tv show "Paranormal State" which happens to be the most phony of all of today's paranormal/supernatural "reality" series. Even allowing for suspension of disbelief when it comes to my distaste for the Warrens, I still found The Conjuring to be a totally useless rehashing of a dozen other supernatural genre movies. This film is perhaps the most overrated movie of the past decade!

World War Z - What do you get when you take a zombie story based on an amazing piece of writing by Max Brooks, combine it with a stiff actor like Brad Pitt and make sure that it's appealing to audiences of just about any age? You get World War Z, a watered down zombie story featuring lightning fast zombies that move more like insects than they do the living dead and a story that may be relate-able in our age of fear of the "end times" if it weren't so poorly executed. In the end, it's nothing more than an average apocalypse scenario type film, no greater than other similar films such as The Day After Tomorrow and I Am Legend. With no real zombie-on-human nor human-on-zombie violence I honestly saw no purpose for this film at all. I believe that the studio took a book that they knew would automatically have a large, built-in audience and used to in a lame attempt to cash in on the success and popularity of AMC's hit series The Walking Dead. Nothing more. Skip it. Even if it's free, skip it. You'll never get the 2 hours of your life back once you've wasted them on this train wreck of a film.