Together: Arthouse Cinema has found its Prince

In life, it pays to be true to yourself. Especially in relationships, where honesty is the best policy. Such is the tale of together, the new film from the prince of arthouse, Cody McLain.

In my review of his last endeavor H E A D, I stated that McLain seeks to carry on the tradition of the arthouse film genre. But with together, he seeks to become the true heir apparent.

Simply described as “a couple falls in love“, together details the laughing man falling in love with the laughing unicorn, and his transformation to be the perfect “man” for her.

Essentially, the laughing unicorn is a cuddly stuffed animal. But the laughing man remains unperturbed, as he’s already made his choice, even if the reality of the situation is nonexistent.

He goes full on into this relationship, changing everything about himself, because he is simply in love. But, does it pay off for him in the end?

This may be without a doubt McLain’s most potent work yet. He infuses the proceedings with a beautifully surreal aesthetic that would make the likes of Bergman, Buñuel and Lynch proud. His B&W cinematography is absolutely serene, and his editing (with aid from his co-editor Angel Renee, aka Mrs. Cody Mclain) is pitch perfect.

Simply put, this is a fantastic piece of art, and if arthouse is your thing, I highly recommend you take this in. The work that McLain is putting out is truly compelling stuff, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone with more potential for great art than the prince of arthouse.

Full Movie Here:

Legend of the Muse: A Bloody Fairytale of Love, Death & Art

Life can be hard for an artist. Trying to make ends meet while getting your work seen and appreciated can be quite the struggle. So it helps if you have a good support system. Just hopefully not one of the killer entity variety. Unfortunately, that’s what happens to Adam in the new film Legend of the Muse.

A painter’s life is changed forever when a mythical and deadly spirit from Celtic lore becomes his muse and lover.

Legend of the Muse stars Riley Egan as Adam, an introverted painter who begins having visions of an angelic beauty, played by Elle Evans, who gives him the inspiration he needs to become the caliber of artist he’s always dreamed of becoming, but with a deadly price.

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to view this film from the good folks over at Dark Coast, and I could not be more thankful, because this was a supremely excellent film. A darkly amorous tale of love, passion and death put together rather terrifically by writer/director John Burr in his first full length feature. I have seen many a horror film, but few that carry such a romantic feel throughout the proceedings, so special kudos to him.

He is aided wonderfully by his cast, specifically Egan as Adam, who perfectly conveys the awkward loneliness of the introverted artist, as well as the growing confidence that comes with success and protection, and Evans as the titular character, who without speaking a word, delivers a incredible blend of beautiful elegance and absolute terror whenever she is onscreen. Bravo.

The rest of the cast perform commendably. Kate Mansi as Maria, Lou Ferrigno Jr. as Jason, Max Decker as Hector, Phil Abrams as Lance, and Jennie Fahn as Valerie all commit well to their roles and make for a very impressive cast.

But I know what you’re all thinking: does it deliver as a horror film? The answer is yes, ladies and gentlemen. Very much so. The slow burn of the story leads to insuperable tension and dread later on in the film, but in the meantime, we get some excellent blood splatter along the way. And when I say blood splatter, I mean blood SPLATTER.

Multiple times we get aerial sprays of blood, severed limbs, opened up stomachs, slit throats. Wonderful gory goods. So if you’re into that sort of thing, this one will make your day.

All in all, I really enjoyed this dark fairytale romance story. I really appreciated level of quality filmmaking, storytelling, and acting, and I think you will too. So, if you ever get the chance to check it out, please do. I thoroughly recommend it.

H E A D (2020): The Art of the Climax

I am in love with the art form that is cinema. All facets of it. Especially the subtle cerebral nature of the surreal. The works of Luis Buñuel, David Lynch and fairly recently Richard Kelly, just to name a couple, have given us some of the finest examples within that subgenre of cinematic art. Now, a young filmmaker by the name of Cody McLain seeks to continue on in that subgenre with his latest short film H E A D.

Described simply as “A woman’s facial expressions” H E A D tells the story of said woman’s ultimate journey to pure nirvana through the act of receiving oral pleasure, and through that, is a highly involving tale told with effective simplicity, which unfortunately might leave some viewers put off.

Aside from a few almost subliminal shots during the main title reveal, H E A D is a story told entirely in one static close up of The Subject (Angel Renee), the female at the center of it all. The film is essentially, to the naked eye, about a head… getting head. Just to put it straightforwardly. And that could lead to immediate dismissal. I’ve already seen a couple of people call the film “straight up porn.” And they couldn’t be more wrong.

Riveting in its supreme starkness, this film manages to enrapture, enthrall, fascinate, and spellbind all within the space of under 5 minutes. And in one static b&w shot, no less.

There is definitely more to H E A D underneath its surface than some will give it credit for. I for one relish these types of endeavors, and it’s nice to know that filmmakers like Cody McLain are out there still making them. Salute.

You can watch the film in its entirety here:

The Cinema Drunkie + The House That Screams – A Horror Podcast = AWESOMENESS!!!

Hey guys, just wanted to give you the heads up on this awesome new podcast I’ve had the great pleasure of being a part of!

It’s a horror podcast called The House That Screams, and it’s been an absolute blast! Special thanks to Candy Allison over at Candy Coated Horror for letting me take part on her show, and shout out to my fellow guests: Candy’s husband Shawn, Cam Sully, and Daniel “The Nightmare Nerd“.Click the link below to listen to the all the fun we’ve had! You won’t regret it!

‘The Invisible Man’ Review: John Cena has Nothing on This Guy in this Outsanding Horror Thriller.

I suppose you all know about how back in 2017, Universal tried to reboot its iconic shared monster universe with The Mummy, and how that was was a massive critical and commercial failure that ended the budding Dark Universe, and blah blah blah. Screw all that. I don’t wanna talk about that.

I wanna talk about the greatness that is Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man.

When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

Boy, oh boy! This was a treat! The first great horror thriller of the new decade. An incredibly well acted, written, directed, shot, and edited piece of moviemaking. This is why we go to the movies, people!

Let’s talk about the shining star of this movie. No, I don’t mean Elizabeth Moss, although I will definitely get to her in a sec. I’m talking about writer/director Leigh Whannell. Whannell has grown as a filmmaker before our very eyes and that’s no more than in The Invisible Man. The story he has crafted here, about a woman being slowly driven mad due to the lingering effects of a toxic relationship, feels very fresh and realistic, making the events all the more terrifying.

From his directorial debut with the effective Insidious: Chapter 3, then following that up with the incredible cult favorite Upgrade, not to mention his writing on the first Saw as well as the entire Insidious franchise, Whannell has proven he is truly one of our generation’s best horror visionaries.

He is of course aided by the exceptional crew he has put together. From the flawless cinematography by Stefan Duscio and the fantastic editing by Andy Canny (who were also the director of photography and editor on Upgrade), The Invisible Man really sets itself apart from the rest as one of the finest looking horror movies in recent memory.

Now, onto the film’s second greatest attribute, Ms. Elizabeth Moss. Moss gives a masterful tour de force of a performance as Cecilia, the victimized heroine of the story. No lie, she is absolutely phenomenal in the role. I was spellbound. Over the past few years, we’ve had many great performances in horror movies. Toni Collette in Hereditary. Lupita Nyong’o in Us. It is my belief that you can add Elizabeth Moss to those names now. So remarkable.

Hey, just a heads up. If you’re bothered by uncomfortable silences, stay far away from this movie! Silence hasn’t been this scary since A Quiet Place. The amount of terror and dread that Whannell generates with mere quiet and empty frames was almost unbearable! My heart would start pounding almost immediately the second the camera would linger on Moss all alone in a room. Not knowing if you’re being watched or if someone is behind you or in your room and you can’t see them is a truly terrifying thing, and Whannell takes advantage of that perfectly.

But don’t worry, folks. It’s not all silent suspense, as we do get some red gooey goodness thrown in as well. We get some slit throats, bullet wounds, mouthfuls of blood spit out. It does get a little nasty at times. Especially during the climax, where Whannell takes every technique he used during Upgrade‘s fight scenes and turns them up to 11. No joke. The climactic battle is a glorious bit of mayhem. I know for certain that when this hits Blu Ray, I’ll be watching that part over and over and over again.

Any issues? There are times where the movie comes off a bit slow. I know Whannell was going for a more deliberate pace with this, but there’s a couple of moments where I felt like “Ok, you can kinda move this along now.”

But that’s a minor issue, because this movie ruled so hard that something like that is easily overlooked. Seriously, this flick grabbed me by the heart from the very beginning and squeezed it tight till the credits started rolling. An amazing horror flick that I can’t recommend enough. So if you have the chance, check it out. It’s definitely worth it.

The Fanatic: Heeeere’s MOOSEY!

The Fanatic is a 2019 thriller starring John Travolta, Devon Sawa, and directed by Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. It tells the story of Moose, an obsessive fan on the autistic spectrum who takes his love for his favorite actor, action star Hunter Dunbar, a couple of steps too far. The film was met with almost immediate critical scorn, and was a massive box office failure. But, being me, the man who doesn’t give a shit what anybody else thinks when it comes to movies, I decided to give it a look myself. And what was the outcome??

I liked it. I really liked it. Like legitimately. Not in a so bad, it’s good way.

First, let’s get to the pros: The main one being the central performance of Travolta as Moose. A lot of the criticism of this movie was aimed directly at Travolta’s performance, calling it over the top, ridiculous, tone deaf and whatnot. But I thought his performance was fantastic. He really pulled out all the stops and just went for broke. He makes Moose loveable, sympathetic, infuriating, and heartbreaking. A great performance indeed.

Ana Goljia is also excellent in the film as Leah, a paparazzi who is also Moose’s best friend, and unintentional enabler to Moose’s stalking.

Fred Durst brings his A-game as well, crafting a fast moving but highly involving thriller. And a good looking one too. The film features some downright superb cinematography from Conrad W. Hall, the director of photography behind such genre favorites as Panic Room, The Punisher, & Olympus has Fallen.

One thing I really liked about this is the question it asks of you with the presentation of the characters and the situation at hand. Like whose side can you really be on? While Moose is loveable, his actions are 100% condemnable. And even though Dunbar comes off as an supreme asshole to Moose in their initial interactions, and he kind of goes a bit too far in places in his “treatment” of Moose, you do understand why he goes as far as he does. Look at everything Moose does. Can you really blame Dunbar?

But now, onto the cons: There’s a few moments where it seems that scenes were rearranged to appear in different spots than initially intended, and it’s noticeable. Also, the ending is somewhat abrupt. There’s a final image that implies what the resolution of Moose will be, but I would’ve like to have seen a bit more than that.

But my biggest pet peeve with the film is the casting of Devon Sawa as Hunter Dunbar. Now, this is not a strike against his performance. Sawa is very good in the film. But… I just don’t buy him in the role. The film portrays the character of Hunter Dunbar as some sort of Stallone or Schwarzenegger style action star, and Sawa is completely wrong for that kind of part. While he is physically commanding (dude looks shredded), he is entirely too young to pull that off.

They needed someone older, and with more action movie appeal. Someone like Dolph Lundgren, or Michael Dudikoff, or hell, even Nicolas Cage, and do a FACE/OFF reunion. As is, I don’t buy this middle aged stalker being obsessed with a star who looks like he just left his 30s. And another thing, the titles of the movies Hunter Dunbar “stars” in sound like the most generic, low budget shit ever. Space Vampires?? Vampire Killers?? Who was he making movies for, A-Pix Entertainment??

But all in all, I found The Fanatic to be quite the entertaining film. The acting was great, the filmmaking/storytelling was fine, and the problems were minor. So I don’t understand what the problem was with the critics. But hey, as long as I enjoyed it, that’s all that matters.